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Whitaker, who fell outside of the top 32 surfers half way through 2010, has found himself back contesting the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) Prime and Star Series events early in 2011. Despite hating the hassling that is associated with four man heats he has been enjoying his time in New Zealand at the O'Neill Cold Water Classic. "Yeah you know conditions aren't totally favorable today - but one minute prior to a restart in our heat that absolute bomb came in and I had the position on it and got an 8.0 point ride." "I hate hassling in the four man heats so I was lucky at the start of the event when it was big, I could go and surf by myself and now it is small it is man on man and you just have to sit and wait for the good ones, so far so good." Whitaker defeated Marc Lacomare (FRA) who came back half way through the heat with a 6.5 point ride putting a bit of pressure on Whitaker. "Marc is always going to do that in these little waves, he has the cool aerial manouvres and he got a couple of inside waves. I wobbled on my second wave and if I had have finished the wave it would have been an easier win" said Whitaker. Like most surfers left in the event Whitaker was happy to see the days competition finish after the Round of 16 surfers had been completed. "Yeah I think they are saying a bit more swell tomorrow" said Whitaker adding "This comp has been a total WQS comp - every condition from 6-8ft wild stuff down to little grovelly stuff you seem to see on WQS. It is good. I am getting practice in every condition, four man heats, the lot… I feel like a grommet again."© 2014 O'Neill
Adam Melling posted a 14.00 point heat total to defeat fellow Australian Nic Muschcroft (10.90) in the first heat of the round which he was happy to see the back of. "It is good to be down this end of the event, good points and cash up for grabs so I am stoked to make it through the last heat." "It is small but I am happy though, it is rippable out there today, it gets like this at my home break, it is still pretty fun out there." The Brazilian surfers exploded in the small beach break conditions using their natural flare, Thiago Camarao posting the highest heat score of the day - a near perfect 17.17 out of a possible 20 points to progress along with fellow countrymen Willian Cardoso and Miguel Pupo. Camarao was the star of the day busting several huge airs in a 'highlights reel' 30 minute heat as he went toe to toe with fellow Brazilian surfer Thomas Hermes who also surfed brilliantly scoring 14.20.© 2014 O'Neill
Spanish surfer Gony Zubizarreta found himself on the lucky side of the conditions finding a bomb at the start of the heat and surfing to an 8.0 point ride in his heat. "I was just in the right spot and got a really long wave, an 8.0 I think, then I just had to focus on a back up and I had priority and got a 7.0, it is small but fun." "I changed my board to a 5'11 that is shaped for little waves and it worked perfectly out there." Zubizarreta chimed in with Whitaker on holding off on the quarterfinals after what he described as a draining performance the day prior. Late in the day Stuart Kennedy (AUS) defeated Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 15.66 to 12.84 to complete the Round of 16 surfers.© 2014 O'Neill
Two separate systems gift glorious barrels to surfers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Jamie O'Brien takes Poopies and Kalani Chapman to Jaws, but this is not your ordinary Jaws mission. JOB and the boys rent Catch Surf soft-top boards and this happens...
Gabriel Medina won, Stephanie Gilmore won. They both won on the same day.
Entry to The Winter Session has closed for this season. The task remains of picking a pair of winners for February, then sorting through all the edits in search of an overall victor.