SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Matt Wilkinson has won the O'Neill Cold Water Classic California ahead of Tonino Benson in an action packed day, which saw Australian Shaun Cansdell take the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series title for 2010 -- as well as the $50,000 that comes with it.
"I am pretty happy," said the Australian winner Matt Wilkinson. "I have never won a QS event," he said. "Well, I won a One Star event when I was 16 or 17. It was the first QS I ever did. Ever since then I've been getting seconds and thirds and stuff, so to get that monkey off my back, I'm frothing. I am just stoked with this week."
In a closely fought final in 4-foot waves in the pouring rain at Steamer Lane, Tonino and Matt traded the lead throughout the heat at this ASP Prime event.
"I was just stoked to be in the final," said Tonino. "There are so many good surfers here. I am just happy to be here."
Matt Wilkinson had earlier disappointed local crowds who were braving the afternoon rain to support their local hero, Nat Young, by defeating him in the semi finals.
Nat Young has three titles in a row here at this event: once CWC winner, and twice junior winner. But this year it was not to be: "I am really disappointed not to have made it to the finals," said Nat as the local crowds consoled him.
In an emotional morning, Shaun Cansdell came down to watch the heat of Dion Atkinson -- the one man standing in the way of him and the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series victory and the $50,000 that comes with it.
"To tell you the truth I actually didn't want him to do well," said Shaun. "I just really wanted the $50,000. I would have loved him to get into the semis but I would probably have gone grey by then."
Surrounded by friends Shaun watched anxiously as Dion Atkinson was beaten by eventual winner Matt Wilkinson.
"I was really nervous," said Shaun. "I was spinning out. I had to go get water. I thought I was going to pass out. It changes my life for sure," he said. "Last year I didn't really compete. I stayed at home and just had a few casual jobs and stuff to earn money," he said. "This will make a big change. I have a little bit of a plan for the money. I want to make sure I am smart with it."
O'NEILL COLD WATER CLASSIC SERIES RATINGS 2010
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FACTS AND FIGURES:
FIVE events exploring the edges of the world over four continents.
FIVE challenging, quality waves all in extreme and not to mention cold conditions.
FIVE ASP events in rugged and unique locations in the depths of nature.
DATES AND RATINGS
March 23 – 28, 2010
April 13 – 19, 2010
July 26 – 30, 2010
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
October 9 - 15, 2010
October 18 - 24, 2010
SANTA CRUZ, USA
2009 Cold Water Classic Series Winner ($50,000): Blake Thornton
SOURCE O’Neill Cold Water Classic