NewsO'Neill Coldwater ClassicJordy Smith

O'Neill Cold Water Classic Returns to Qualifying Series

Switching up the format once again, this year the O'Neill Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane returns as stop #30 on the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualifying Series (QS). A three-decade long annual Santa Cruz tradition, this year's event boasts a $50,000 prize purse and 1,500 points up for grabs among 96 surfers hoping to qualify for the 2016 World Tour.

"O'Neill is very excited to elevate the Coldwater Classic back to a WSL QS event," said O'Neill Wetsuits Marketing and Team Manager Shane Skelton. "We really enjoy seeing the world's best surfers competing in our back yard here in Santa Cruz."

Since its inception in 1987, the O'Neill Coldwater Classic has been center stage for some of the world's best surfing talent. The cold, rugged conditions, arena-like setting and local pride surrounding the famed Steamer Lane break has become legendary. Previous winners include Santa Cruz locals Kieran Horn, Adam Replogle, Peter Mel and Nat Young, legends like Martin Potter and Tom Curren, and current World Tour standouts Joel Parkinson, Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson and Miguel Pupo.

For the past two years, the event format has been a unique winner-take-all invitational for unsponsored surfers with Nate Yeomans claiming the title in 2014 and Torrey Meister in 2013. Yeomans also took the Cold Water title in 2009 when the event was an ASP 6-Star Prime.

"Last year was pretty special. If I hadn't won, I probably would have had to retire from surfing, so it was one of the radder wins of my life," said 2014 reigning champion Nate Yeomans. "I've just been trying to re-qualify for the World Tour this year, doing pretty well, and pretty excited to get back up to Santa Cruz for the event this year."

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