Cold Water Classic joins World Tour

Miguel Pupo wins the Cold Water today Classic in October. ASP/Shadley

The O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz has been upgraded to an Association of Surfing Professionals World Title event for 2012, the ASP and O'Neill announced today.

"We're very happy to confirm the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz as an ASP World Title event in 2012," said Renato Hickel, ASP World Tour manager. "Santa Cruz offers a variety of world-class waves for our surfers to perform on, and we're hopeful that conditions will deliver for the world's best to do battle in."

The world's top 34 competitive surfers will assemble in the Northern California surf city from Nov. 2 - 12, 2012. The competition will be the tenth of 11 stops on next season's World Title Series, opening the opportunity for surfing's world champion to be crowned in California for two consecutive years.

"With a World Tour event in 2012 and the possibility of the World Champion being crowned, we expect to see an exciting chapter in surfing history written right in our front yard," said Pat O'Neill, president and CEO, O'Neill Wetsuits.

The Santa Cruz event's promotion comes one week after the ASP announced that Quiksilver had cancelled its World Tour event in New York for 2012, presumably due to budget cuts. As it now stands, the 2012 World Tour has two mainland United States events, the Hurley Pro Trestles being the other, down from three in 2011.

Famed for its historic break Steamer Lane, the O'Neill CWC has a long history in competitive surfing, previously as an ASP World Title event and then as an ASP Star and ASP Prime event. In the past, the CWC Santa Cruz served as the final stop of O'Neill's Cold Water Classic surf series, which put some of the world's best surfers in some of the world's coldest waves, including Scotland, Canada and South Africa.

Santa Cruz's return to most elite ASP event status coincides with O'Neill's 60th anniversary.

"We are excited to see a World Tour level event return to Santa Cruz as part of O'Neill's 60-year anniversary," Pat O'Neill said. "Santa Cruz, with its rich surf history and tradition, is the perfect venue for this pivotal event. Mainland surfing started in Santa Cruz, Jack O'Neill developed many pioneering surf inventions here and it's been home to the O'Neill brand for over half a century."

"Joining the other great events on the ASP World Tour makes celebrating O'Neill's 60th anniversary in 2012 even more exciting," said Toby Bost, CEO, O'Neill Clothing USA. "With such a prestigious event, coupled with the amazing group of past winners and new crop of incredible talent on the Tour, there will definitely be a lot of anticipation and energy heading into Santa Cruz next year."

Past O'Neill CWC Santa Cruz champions include three-time world champion Tom Curren, 1989 world champ Martin Potter, local young gun Nat Young, World Tour surfers Joel Parkinson, Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson, Miguel Pupo, and controversial 2006 World Tour Rookie of the Year Bobby Martinez.