Welcome to the Westside.
Santa Cruz and the surf brand O’Neill go together like Gisele Bündchen and Kelly Slater. A seamless fit. Founded by the pirate-looking Jack O’Neill in San Francisco in the early 1950s but quickly moved to Santa Cruz, the outfit has been making very fine wetsuits since and has also been hosting “Coldwater Classics” for decades in waters that demand the aforementioned fine wetsuits.
Happy marketing though quite surprising that hometown Santa Cruz has not hosted for more than ten years. Well, all that is set to change in a matter of weeks as the World Qualifying Series 1000 event plunges in to the historically significant Steamer Lane.
“It’s pretty epic to have the Cold Water Classic back after all these years,” local Nat Young told Lookout Santa Cruz. “It’s been such a big part of the surf culture up here in Santa Cruz. The Lane is just such an amphitheater of a wave. You look back and the whole cliff is just lined with people, and you can hear all of them out there while you’re in the water.”
Young counts himself a past winner alongside Tom Curren, Martin Potter and Peter “The Condor” Mel.
A WQS 1000 is the bottom of the World Surf League barrel and it is lightly strange that the event is not rated higher. Does Santa Monica hate cold water?
It would seem such with the only truly chilly waves on tour being Bells and J-Bay and maybe the Lemoore if the tule fog drops in.
But will you head to the Lane to watch in person or will the 1000 rating put you off?