And it was English surfer Micah Lester who made the most of the conditions scoring a perfect 10 in the final heat of the day with a huge barrel and massive cutback – that one wave taking him through the heat. “It was an amazing day of surfing out there,” said Micah. “I have never surfed Thurso East like that before. And I was so stoked from that 10 point wave.”
“It’s so good out there,” said Charlie Martin who was impressive in the head high clean conditions, advancing top of his heat in the first round with a score of 11 out of 20. “I got a few barrels and enjoyed it even though it’s hard in all this wetsuit,” he said. “I came to this contest two years ago and it was a completely different wave – windy and messy,” said Charlie. “I’m not the biggest fan of surfing in cold water but this wave is so good right now that it’s worth it for sure!”
Another standout from 10 hours of competition was Spanish surfer Indar Unanue who pulled out the best backhand barrels of the competition so far. “The first wave I got was so good. I was so happy,” said Indar. “This year we have perfect offshore conditions. Perfect waves. I don’t need hot water with waves like this. I am cold. But I am happy!”
And conditions did not relent. Australian surfer Dion Atkinson started off the day with a high heat score of 15.33 in Heat 1 of Round 1. And in Heat 16 of the day New Zealand surfer Richard Christie came up with a score of 17.50.
But there was no forgetting that this is the North coast of Scotland, and whilst the waves were drawing cheers from the crowds gathered on the shore, the weather was not. Cold temperatures both in an out of the water, coupled with rain and hail, ensured this was classic Cold Water Classic conditions.
But nothing was going to take away from the quality of surf today as contest organisers got through 20 heats in the first round of this 6 Star ASP competition. “These big west swells here at Thurso East are it,” said Local surfer and event ambassador Andy Bain: It’s a nice head high, double overhead on the sets, and with the west swell you usually get a predominant offshore wind as well.”
Watching the wave from the shore he Andy said: “This season we’ve had these swells every week from January through to March. I’ve been scoring this ever since January but it still sure would be nice to get out there but it’s good to give these guys who have travelled all this way for the competition a chance to experience it.”
With this swell looking to hold for a few more days, the competition looks set to push on, picking up with Heat 21 in Round 1 tomorrow morning.
The O'Neill Coldwater Classic Scotland is proudly supported by Event Scotland.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said, “We are delighted to welcome the O’Neill Cold Water Classic back to Scotland where the surfers will compete on some of the best waves in the world, with some of the most stunning coastlines as their backdrop. The global media coverage the series continues to receive helps position Scotland as the perfect stage for events. It showcases our waters amongst the best in the world where the top surfers look to return year after year to take on the challenge that the water and the weather present.”