April 14, 2010 – Thurso, Scotland – Scottish surfer Chris Noble today made history as the first local competitor to ever come through this first round of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland in the freezing waters of the most northerly event in professional surfing.
Finishing top of his heat ahead of Brazilian surfer Ricardo Dos Santos, Chris was celebrating on the beach with a host of fans… and his Scottish flag. “It’s only the first round,” he said. “But it feels like I won the event or something!” said Chris. “I think the difference this year was that there was no pressure on me,” he said. “I have a kid now, and we are expecting a second kid, so whereas surfing used to be the be-all-and-end-all for me, I now have different priorities so there is less pressure. I just get to go out there and have fun.”
And that he looked like he was doing, making the most of the 4-foot offshore clean conditions at Brims Ness. “I’ve surfed out here for about 10 years,” said Chris. “And even though I am used to the cold, I still have my earplugs in against the cold water and the wind.”
After a sunny warm start to the 6 Star ASP event yesterday, the 6.30am call for a 7.30am start this morning was a little bit more crisp as the skies clouded over and the temperature significantly dropped.
Among those feeling the cold up here is the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Tasmania winner Stuart Kennedy: “I didn’t mind the cold in Tassie,” said the Australian from Lennox Head. “Temperature-wise it’s paradise over there compared to here. This is freezing. I have a 5/4/3 wetsuit and two 4/3’s so I came prepared. In the water my body is ok, but my toes still get frozen even in my boots,” he said.
However having seen the surf up in these parts, he is willing to brave the cold. “I’ve seen footage of Thurso East and hopefully we will get that working while we are out here. It looks like home on a fun day.”
Despite his victory in Tasmania a few weeks ago Stuart has not been amped off his win. “It didn’t really feel like I won an event,” he said. “Straight from my win I got in the car, drove to Launceston airport in Tasmania, and got on the plane for Melbourne to go straight into Bells!”
The second day of competition here in Thurso, Scotland, saw the event finish the round of 128 in smaller but clean conditions at Brims Ness. “The swell dropped today – but it was luckily enough to finish off this round,” said contest director Matt Wilson.
“The forecast looks like it’s going to pick up tomorrow so we will probably be starting here at Brims again in the morning,” said Matt. “But if it holds good we should hopefully be surfing Thurso East in the afternoon.”
The next call will be at 7am tomorrow morning April 15th.