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The O’Neill Cold Water Classis Series 2011 opened on Tuesday (22nd March) with a passion filled powhiri at the Maori Battalion Marae located at Manutuke, just south of Gisborne. The Kaumatua (elders) of the local Iwi (tribe) Rongowhakata welcomed Manuhiri (guests) to their land and ocean blessing the event and wishing all the entrants well with their efforts.
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series 2011 was greeted head-on with the first big southerly storm of the year to hit Gisborne. Despite conditions being less than desirable with 30 knot onshore winds, cold temperatures and a messy 2.0m swell, the event kicked off with a full day of explosive surfing.
After an absence of thirteen years for top level Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Men’s events in New Zealand, it was still Maz Quinn (Gisborne, New Zealand) who impressed for the Kiwi’s on day one. Fourteen years ago Quinn shocked the surfing world by placing second in a New Zealand ASP event before going on to qualify for the ASP World Championship in 2002, the only Kiwi to ever do so! Now retired from international competition, an event at his home break was too hard to refuse entry.
The event will be the richest to ever frequent the shores of New Zealand with a massive $145,000 (USD) up for grabs!!