For decades now, one staple of late fall in Santa Cruz is the O’Neill Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane. Last year ushered in a new format unlike the various incarnations the event has seen previously. That same format returns in 2014 with the second annual O’Neill Coldwater Classic Invitational.
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Specialty Event, which will take place on two days of optimal conditions during a window of Oct. 28th to Nov. 1st, will give 16 unsponsored professional surfers the chance of a lifetime, an O’Neill Wetsuits contract worth $50,000 in travel incentives and contest fees to chase their World Championship Tour (WCT) dreams.
“The 2013 O’Neill Coldwater Classic was a complete success! O’Neill could not be more happy with the outcome, said O’Neill Wetsuits Marketing and Team Manager Shane Skelton. “We not only got great waves during the event, we also picked up an amazing surfer for Team O’Neill in Torrey Meister. We look forward to discovering another untapped talent at the 2014 event.”
The 16-man field of competitors will include 15 invited unsponsored surfers and one wildcard determined by the public via an online vote. Wildcard video submissions will be accepted Sept. 1-19 at O’Neill.com/CWC. The public will be able to vote on finalists Sept. 30 through Oct. 6.
What sets this event apart is what is on the line. Sponsorships are critical in a surfer’s mission to make the WCT. Last year, Torrey Meister earned the title and complete year of O’Neill sponsor support.
“I’ve seen my dreams come to life since winning the O’Neill Coldwater Classic last year,” said Meister who is currently sitting 32nd on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) rankings. “I’ve gotten to pay off debt from last year and focus on surfing and making heats. I don’t know what I’d be doing this year if it weren’t for winning the event. Having O’Neill’s support has been tremendous. Not just the financial backing, but having people stoked to watch you, to help you dig deeper when you need a score. It doesn’t feel like a sponsorship, it’s more personal than that. I call them really good friends now.”
Like Meister, one surfer will not only earn the 2014 title, but a yearlong sponsorship from the first American surf brand, O’Neill. With an estimated value of $50,000 USD, the grand prize winner will receive a travel, event and expense budget to compete in at least seven of the ASP World Qualifying Series events in pursuit of qualifying for the World Championship Tour and a personal videographer, at specific events and locations, to document the thrill of victory (or agony of defeat) with a minimum of six video segments during the 2014 competition year. O’Neill, the originator of the wetsuit, will also throw in a hefty arsenal of the best wetsuits through an O’Neill Wetsuits sponsorship, as well as, boardshorts and apparel.
Since 1987, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic has been Northern California’s premier professional surfing event held at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. “The Lane,” with its natural ancient Roman stadium like setting with steep, vertical cliffs overlooking the fabled right point break, is perhaps the best spectator venue for a surf contest to be found anywhere in the world.
Learn more and follow all of the action at www.oneill.com/cwc/ and tag #oneillcwc
Special thanks to sponsors and event partners Nexen Tire, Futures Fins, Watermans Sunscreen, Flips Audio, Banzai Bowls, On a Mission, Hotel Paradox, Cruzio Internet, East Side Eatery and Mulcoy Travel for supporting the 2014 O’Neill Coldwater Classic Invitational.