Taj Burrow Takes Out Coldwater Classic

In an all-Australian final, Taj Burrow has claimed his second tour event of the year, defeating Matt Wilkinson in the final of the O’Niell Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz. The result sets up a tantalising last round at the Billabong Pipleline Masters where current tour leader Joel Parkinson will duke it out against Kelly Slater for the 2012 ASP World Championship.

In clean six foot swell, both surfers posted big scores with their early rides but struggled to post anything of value with their back-up waves. It was Wilkinson, who had dominated through much of the competition with his strong backhand maneuvers, who had the best chance of snatching victory in the dying moments but came unstuck on his last turn. “I was stoked when I made it through the third round,” Wilkinson said. “Every heat after that, I just kept building. I felt amazing. I was getting 9s and backing them up. All year I’ve been dropping one big score. Out here, I felt like I was getting better every heat. I had that one that would have been a 9 if I made it out of that last turn.”

For Wilkinson the second place provided enough of ratings boost the ensure qualification in next years tour. For Burrow, currently sitting at sixth overall, the win helped ease the disappointment of being out of the title race. “I really wanted to win another event this year, especially since I’m out of the race for the title,” Burrow said. “That’s pretty depressing, but I’m really happy that it just fell in to place here in Santa Cruz. To get two wins in a year, I’ve only done that once before so I’m really happy with that.”

Now, all the attention turns to Pipeline, the most famous break in the world. Mathematically, it’s a race of three with Mick Fanning theoretically still in the hunt but will be relying on poor results from Parkinson and Slater. Should the wily old sea-dog prevail, it will be a record 12th title for Slater while Parkinson is looking for his maiden championship after finish second three times. Competition is due to kick of on the 8th of December.

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