Burrow quietly advanced through the opening rounds of competition, building momentum throughout the latter rounds while punctuating his efforts on the final day with an amazing variety of forehand maneuvers. Burrow toppled young Brazilian Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, and goofy-footer Travis Logie (ZAF), 33, en route to the Final against compatriot Wilkinson.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, winner of the 2012 O’Neill Coldwater Classic. Photo by ASP
Both Burrow and Wilkinson opened up strongly, but struggled to secure a solid backup score. Wilkinson had an opportunity in the dying moments, but couldn’t hold on during a third critical maneuver and came up just short.
“This win feels incredible,” Burrow said. “It happens sometimes where you never feel like you have the best heats. I was kind of in the zone. I never really had a good heat the whole event, but I still felt good. It’s such a tricky wave and I guess the only thing that helped was my wave count. That Final was the battle of the back-ups. We both stacked it on a couple and we were in a fluster. Wilko (Matt Wilkinson) fell on that last one and he would have got the score, but I’ll take it.”
Taj Burrow celebrating the first place in Santa Cruz - Photo by www.oneill.com
Burrow’s win marks his second of the season after snatching the opening event on the Gold Coast of Australia. Western Australia’s favorite son now sits at No. 6 on the 2012 ASP WCT rankings.
Taj Burrow - Photo by www.oneill.com
Wilkinson, a former winner at the venue in 2010, continued his lethal backhand assault at Steamer Lane, belting the day’s highest heat total of 17.73 while defeating Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, and Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, to attain his first ASP WCT Final appearance.
Wilkinson was in desperate need of a result entering the O’Neill Coldwater Classic ranked 30th on the ASP WCT rankings.
Kelly Slater in his Round 4 - Photo by www.oneill.com
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, current ASP WCT No. 2, struggled to find a rhythm in his Round 4 bout against Adriano de Souza, finishing equal 9th overall. Despite Slater’s early exit from the event, a 9th place finish replaces his last-place injury points from Brazil, exponentially narrowing the ratings’ gap with current frontrunner, Parkinson.
“I haven’t looked at the numbers, but it’s funny enough, I gained a couple thousand points,” Slater said. “Joel (Parkinson) dropped a 9th and gained a 5th and I dropped a 500 and gained about 3,000 points. It’s a huge opportunity lost for Joel (Parkinson).”
Joel Parkinson - Photo by www.oneill.com
Heading into the final event of the year, three surfers remain mathematically in contention for the 2012 ASP World Title: Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, Kelly Slater (AUS), 40, and Mick Fanning (AUS), 31.
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.10
2 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.70
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.57 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.40
SF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.73 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.10
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.83 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.60
QF 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.83 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.00
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.16 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 6.70
Heat 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.50 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.90
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.00 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.00
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.40
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (After O’Neill Coldwater Classic):
1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 53,900 pts
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 50,700 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 47,000 pts
4. John John Florence (HAW) 44,350 pts
5. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,350 pts