Lennox Head’s Adam Melling at Gisborne, NZ yesterday.
Lennox Head’s Adam Melling at Gisborne, NZ yesterday. CORY SCOTT

Melling claims Gisborne

LENNOX Heads’ Adam Melling took away the first event of the 2011 O’Neill Cold Water Classic at Gisborne, New Zealand yesterday.

The Aussie claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) six-star event in the last 30 seconds over Brazilian surfer Willian Cardoso.

Melling posted 15.20 out of a possible 20 points for the win, made even more special given he was celebrating his 26th birthday.

“I am 26 today and I won the final … I am stoked” Melling said.

“Pretty fun out there, it turned on for the final.

“Even though the tide came up there were still sets.”

The final took place at The Pines on Wainui Beach in clean 1.5m waves with offshore winds.

“It was a little slow at the start but came on in the end, last 90 seconds anyway.

“At the start of the heat there, I was looking back in at the beach and I was thinking wow I don’t have any waves.

“I missed one at the start and I was freaking out a bit and Willian was down the beach but I knew I was in a good spot and if a ‘sucky’ one came in I knew I could bang out the turns and get the score.”

After an exciting haka performed by an inspired local Maori, Melling was awarded with a traditional Maori weapon called a tewhatewha, in the tradition of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series where the winners receive meaningful awards from the host country.

Melling received $20, 000 USD for the win and moves up one place on the ASP One World Rankings to 23rd.

Melling will now be to be able to attend more O’Neill Cold Water Classic events in a bid to win the Series and claim the $50,000 USD prize money.

After the win Melling was full of praise for the Gisborne region.

“It is a perfect spot for the comp – not too cold but some freezing mornings still,” Melling said.

“So many different waves on offer and you can hide from the weather.”

Despite placing second scoring 13.67 points after holding the lead for more than 29 minutes, Cardoso was still happy with his result.

“I am so stoked, it was a really fun day,” Cardoso said.

“I did my best in the final and I take an 8.5 on my first wave and only need a back up and I got 5.0 on my second wave.

“Adam is a great surfer and on the world tour.

“The last second he changed the result but I am stoked to get a great start to the year.”

Placing third today were Australians Tom Whitaker and Stu Kennedy.

Whitaker jumped one place on the ratings to 32nd pushing Bobby Martinez (USA) to 33rd.

However this was the last thing on Whitaker’s mind after losing to his good mate Adam Melling.

“It is his birthday, we sat 200m apart, we didn’t want a piece of each other in that heat and he got the waves, I didn’t,” Whitaker said.

“It is the only way you want to lose to a good buddy.

“To watch him go on and win it is epic; we are going to have a good time tonight.”

The O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series will travel to its northernmost destination Thurso, Scotland, for the 6 Star ASP World Tour event from April 13 until April 19.

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