Opening day of the World Surf League (WSL) O’Neill Cold Water Classic, a North America Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, unfolded in three-to-four foot, occasional plus size sets at the iconic venue of Steamer Lane to provide moments of big opportunity and competitors who were in rhythm capitalized.
Both men’s and women’s trials heats determined who made their way into the main event before men’s Round of 96 and Round of 64, Heats 1 – 8, were finished in their entirety.Jake Davis (USA) took flight for an excellent 8.83 (out of a possible 10) in his Round of 96, Heat 9 debut amid the tough, morning conditions.
The San Clemente, California, competitor is on a mission to showcase his potential when the opportunity arises and notched an impressive 13.66 (out of a possible 20) heat total, Round of 96 best, to make his presence known at Steamer Lane.
Pictured: Jake Davis (USA) stole the show with his jaw-dropping aerial antics in the Round of 96. Credit: © WSL / Duckart
“It’s really hard on those sections, you just want to do a floater and end the wave, but I love trying airs on big sections and it’s so hard not for me not to just go for it,” said Davis. “I just want to thank everyone that supports me and put my best surfing forward. I just want to impress myself.”Tao Rodriguez (PAN) took control of his Round of 64, Heat 3 debut with an excellent 8.67 over an in-form Alan Cleland (MEX), who also posted an excellent 8.00. This marks Rodriguez’s first time to Steamer Lane and found his rhythm despite the tricky lineup it entails. Now, the Panamanian looks for more and build his 2023/2024 season.
“It felt good and I didn’t know I dropped an eight until I got here,” said Rodriguez. “It’s fun. It’s hard to find the good ones and I started with a slip, but then I turned it around. This is my third session at this wave and I spent the whole morning trying to identify [good waves], and as the time came down I knew there was potential so I was seeking it.”
Upsets Unravel on Opening Day at the Coldwater Classic
Conditions provided challenging heats and upsets unraveled throughout the day. 2022 event Semifinalist, Ian Crane (USA), wasted no time delivering his signature backhand flair to start his run at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic. But, a hefty Round of 64 lined up featuring Crane, Santa Cruz’s own Shaun Burns (USA), 2023 standout Dimitri Poulos (USA), and Barbados’ Jacob Burke. Burke’s buzzer-beater in the Round of 96 earned him a spot into this heat and he did not squander the opportunity, posting a 7.00 right away and eventually besting Burns, eliminating Crane and Poulos.
"It definitely cleaned up in the last hour or so, my morning heat was a lot trickier and a lot harder to find waves," said Burke. "But the waves were super fun in that last one. My seven was super similar to Soup Bowl back home just with a bowl on the first section and then a closeout section which is similar to our north section on certain days."
Burke is joined by his older brother, Josh Burke (BRB), into the Round of 32 after claiming a debut heat win in the Round of 64.Jose Lopez (VEN) also delivered a stunning, Round of 64 performance to help eliminate Santa Cruz’s own, current North America No. 1, John Mel (USA) and higher-seeded competitor Kai Kushner (USA) in a stout battle. Fellow South American standout, Manuel Selman (CHL), also earned a big win to close out the Round of 64, eliminating former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Nat Young (USA) with wildcard threat Timmy Reyes (USA) finding his way into the Round of 32 alongside Selman.
"Making it through that heat means a lot and proved to myself I can make it all the way," said Selman. "Yesterday I woke up in Dominican Republic, got a text from Brian Robbins on the way here that I got in the event and I couldn't believe it. I have nothing to lose now and I feel like a wildcard so that's my mindset right now and just try to get points for the second half of the year."
Also notching clutch Round of 64 victories, current North America No. 5 Levi Slawson (USA), Santa Cruz's own Adam Bartlett delivered an upset of his own and fellow Santa Cruz competitor Sam Coffey earned a debut heat win to find their way into the Round of 32.
Event organizers will convene at 7:00 a.m. PST to determine a possible 7:30 a.m. HST start.
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic will be streamed live November 15 - 19 at WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL App, and WSL Youtube channel.
O'Neill Cold Water Classic Men's Round of 64, Heats 1 - 8 Results:
HEAT 1: Jacob Burke (BRB) 11.83 DEF. Shaun Burns (USA) 10.50, Ian Crane (USA) 9.90, Dimitri Poulos (USA) 3.80
HEAT 2: Adam Bartlett (USA) 11.40 DEF. Dylan Hord (USA) 10.66, Wesley Santos (BRA) 9.13, Tyler Gunter (USA) 7.84
HEAT 3: Tao Rodriguez (PAN) 13.84 DEF. Alan Cleland (MEX) 12.30, Bryse Celaya (USA) 8.50, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 6.80
HEAT 4: Josh Burke (BRB) 10.27 DEF. Hagan Johnson (USA) 9.07, Titus Kaimana Santucci (USA) 7.76, Jacob Szekely (USA) 7.00
HEAT 5: Jose Lopez (VEN) 11.00 DEF. Davi Toledo (BRA) 8.94, Kai Kushner (USA) 8.07, John Mel (USA) 2.84
HEAT 6: Levi Slawson (USA) 12.83 DEF. Luke Guinaldo (USA) 10.50, Brayden Burch (USA) 10.30, Reed Platenius (CAN) 4.73
HEAT 7: Sam Coffey (USA) 10.33 DEF. Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) 9.43, Parker Cohn (USA) 9.27, Remy Juboori (USA) 2.93
HEAT 8: Manuel Selman (CHL) 13.67 DEF. Tim Reyes (USA) 9.43, Nat Young (USA) 8.53, Elijah Fox (HAW) 8.53
O'Neill Cold Water Classic Men's Round of 96 Results:
HEAT 1: Ian Crane (USA) 12.33 DEF. Adam Bartlett (USA) 10.17, Jak Ziets (USA) 9.24, Cole McCaffray (USA) 8.50
HEAT 2: Dylan Hord (USA) 7.80 DEF. Jacob Burke (BRB) 7.60, Austin Laurance (USA) 7.13, Hudson Saunders (USA) 4.60
HEAT 3: Bryse Celaya (USA) 8.03 DEF. Jacob Szekely (USA) 7.50, Sam Reidy (CRC) 3.46, Ross Adams (USA) 3.13
HEAT 4: Titus Kaimana Santucci (USA) 9.17 DEF. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 7.93, Rex Hennings (USA) 7.26, Sterling Foster (USA) 4.67
HEAT 5: Davi Toledo (BRA) 9.00 DEF. Brayden Burch (USA) 8.17, Kai Gale Grani (PAN) 4.93, Charlie Denham (USA) 2.60
HEAT 6: Luke Guinaldo (USA) 11.70 DEF. Jose Lopez (VEN) 7.20, Makai Bray (USA) 5.53, Beckham McCart (USA) 2.90
HEAT 7: Parker Cohn (USA) 10.17 DEF. Manuel Selman (CHL) 9.50, Ben Coffey (USA) 6.13, Araon Alvarez Moreno (CRC) 6.10
HEAT 8: Elijah Fox (HAW) 6.56 DEF. Remy Juboori (USA) 6.03, Braeden Kopec (USA) 5.17, Cory La Roe (USA) 0.27
HEAT 9: Jake Davis (USA) 13.66 DEF. Tucker Collins (USA) 6.73, Remy Armstrong (USA) 6.23, Dillon McGlue (USA) 1.97
HEAT 10: Giorgio Gomez (COL) 11.83 DEF. Lucas Pazolini (BRA) 7.50, Raiki Nishida (USA) 6.37, Tab Textor (USA) 2.97
HEAT 11: Bud Freitas (USA) 9.66 DEF. Quaid Fahrion (USA) 8.90, Petey Romaniuk (USA) 4.76, Hayden Rodgers (USA) 4.33
HEAT 12: Luke Wyler (USA) 13.50 DEF. Makaiah Spiess (USA) 5.44, Juliano Uzuelli (BRA) 3.66, Wyatt Jeffers (USA) 0.30
HEAT 13: Kepa Mendia (USA) 9.37 DEF. Sebastian Mendes (USA) 8.73, Erik Done Ii (USA) 7.76, Alex Lima (BRA) 6.43
HEAT 14: Timothy Fandey (USA) 10.47 DEF. Keanu Igarashi (USA) 9.97, Yago Ramos (BRA) 9.50, Henry Rothey (USA) 8.44
HEAT 15: Ty Burgess (USA) 13.00 DEF. Max Beach (USA) 9.17, Kai Barton (USA) 5.66, Brett Oliverio (USA) 3.23
HEAT 16: Sage Guinaldo (USA) 9.07 DEF. Tony Nunez (HAW) 9.06, Blaze Roche (USA) 6.86, Teddy Wittemann (USA) 4.37About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the undisputed World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
In 1952, Jack O'Neill began designing and producing the world's first neoprene wetsuits out of the world's first surf shop, and helped to develop the wetsuit that allowed surfers to hit the water all year-round. This year marks 71 years since O’Neill became known as the first name in the water, bringing decades upon decades of innovation and performance, with no sign of slowing down. Since 1987, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic has been Northern California’s premier professional surfing event held at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz with world class waves and atmosphere. The event's illustrious history is rooted deep in surf culture.