O’Neill Cold Water Classic Begins Tuesday October 21

WaveWatch.com Forecasts Progressive Series of Gales Building in the Gulf of Alaska to Generate Swell for the Contest Window

Santa Cruz, Calif., October 15, 2008 – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) will wrap up the final event held in the continental 48 states this year with the ASP WQS 4-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic at Santa Cruz’s prized Steamer Lane from October 21-26. This year’s event will see the crowning of a new O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion since last year’s winner Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), 20, will be preparing for an ASP World Tour event in Brazil. All surfers competing in the event are vying for the precious points available towards qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour.

The O’Neill Cold Water Classic also marks the final event of the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series. The ASP Specialty series offers an additional prize purse to the specialty series leader at year’s end. This year’s Trifecta title is also up for grabs, with last year’s champion Adam Virs (Ventura, CA), 29, out of the running for a possible repeat victory.

Kieran Horn (Santa Cruz, CA), 34, finished second behind Smith last year and is a favorite going into this year’s contest. Horn claimed a victory at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic back in 2003 and will look to use the familiarity of his home break in an attempt to take the title back home to Santa Cruz.

“I grew up surfing the reef and point breaks of Santa Cruz, so the Lane is a wave I am comfortable surfing,” Horn said. “It suits me much more than most waves I compete in.”

Horn is currently sitting in third on the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series behind the series leader Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 28, who will not be attending the Santa Cruz event, and Asher Nolan (Atlantic Beach, FL), 30, and could potentially take home this year’s title with a strong result. Horn expressed his satisfaction regarding the added prize purse due to the involvement of the ASP specialty series.

“It is great to see a company like Macy’s embrace surfing and core brands like O’Neill,” Horn said. “Usually surfers on the Qualifying Series have to spend a lot of time and money traveling to make decent money. So anytime American surfers don’t have to leave the States to make some money, it is an added bonus.”

Since Yeomans will not be attending the O’Neill Cold Water Classic, Nolan, who is second on the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series, will be out to claim the 2008 Trifecta title. Nolan knows that it will be a difficult task to hold off the Santa Cruz standouts following closely behind him on the ASP Specialty series ratings.

“I’m stoked that Nate (Yeomans) isn’t doing the comp,” Nolan said. “It gives me a little more of a chance to take the Trifecta. I know it’s going to be really hard because the guys behind me always do really well at The Lane and I haven’t done that well in the past. I think the best result I’ve had has been a quarters and that was a while ago. But, I’m definitely excited about doing my best this year. It should get interesting!”

Nolan is looking forward to the event and feels that a solid swell will increase his chances for a good result at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

“I love coming to Santa Cruz, I think its such a cool place and there are amazing waves,” Nolan said. “I’d have to say though that The Lane isn’t my kind of wave. I think I do better when it’s bigger because when it’s smaller it breaks right off the cliff and there is tons of hassling going on, which isn’t my thing.”

Live streaming video and scoring will broadcast the event to the world at www.oneill.com <http://www.oneill.com>  or www.coldwaterclassic.net <http://www.coldwaterclassic.net>  for all six days of competition.

Special thanks to the O’Neill Cold Water Classic, Oakley Pro Junior and Macy’s CA Trifecta supporting sponsors: O’Neill, Oakley, Macy’s, Red Bull, Coors, Fosters, Palm, SURFER Magazine, SURFING Magazine, WaveWatch.com and FUEL TV. For more information on the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series visit www.catrifecta.com <http://www.catrifecta.com> .

WaveWatch.com Forecast for Contest Window (Oct. 21-26)*
A progressive series of gales are forecast to start building in the Gulf of Alaska, generating
swell for the contest window.

First up is a gale scheduled for the Northeastern Gulf Fri/Sat (10/18) expected to produce 35-40 kt west winds and 20-23 ft seas aimed mainly east towards Canada.  But it should be enough to provide sideband swell pushing into the contest area by Tues (10/21) with swell expected at 5.5 ft @ 11 secs and from a northerly direction (305-310 degrees) good enough to provide surf in the chest to shoulder high range, and maybe a little more, then fading through Wednesday.

Next up is another gale, this time forming more in the Western Gulf on Sun/Mon (10/20) with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas in 20-22 ft range, pushing east but sending decent sideband energy southeast towards Santa Cruz with swell arrival expected near Thursday AM (10/23) holding on into Friday. This swell should be a little bigger. And yet one more is forecast for the western Gulf on Tues/Wed (10/22) generating 30-35 kt northwest winds and 22+ ft seas positioned further west and south still, offering better odds for more swell pushing into the contest site from a better angle, at 295 degrees.  Swell arrival possibly Saturday AM (10/25).

*As always, any forecast made this far in advance is subject to change and the potential for errors are large, but at this time it looks like a nice pattern might develop to provide fun surf for the contest.

About O’Neill
O’Neill, the original Californian surf, snow and lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O’Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to beat Mother Nature at her own game. Pioneering the world’s first neoprene wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop in Santa Cruz soon after.
While many things have changed since those humble beginnings, Jack’s initial vision of producing functional and innovative boardriding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. O’Neill’s set of core values – innovation in style and technology – has seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of action sports. From the first ever neoprene wetsuit and surf leash, to the world’s first stitchless boardshorts and range of groundbreaking wearable electronics, O’Neill’s spirit of innovation will always drive the company forwards.

Today, O’Neill can be found the world over. In touch with its rich heritage and the universal stoke of boardriding culture, O’Neill will always be committed to progressing that evolution and growing its reputation as one of the world’s leading youth lifestyle brands.