The Relatively Coldwater Classic

Photos: Jimmicane


In 2006, Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach went toe to toe in a court of law. The judicial branch of the USA had to decipher which town rightfully deserved the title “Surf City, USA.” And after a gritty battle, they awarded HB with the kooky moniker. It was fitting. And as I stood on the cliff at Steamer Lane on the morning of the first day, I saw weak lines crawling in through a gray sea. I saw cutbacks. And floaters and check-turns. And cutbacks. I thought, well, this might as well be Huntington Beach.

Then the contest was put on a high tide hold for a few hours. And when heats resumed, I didn’t think this might as well be Huntington Beach. I still saw cutbacks. But I also saw airs and lips blasted to gray Pacific graves. Surfing was alive again. And while the opening day of the Coldwater Classic was mostly lukewarm, there were moments of rolling boils minced throughout. Nat Young beat Kelly Slater. Gabriel Medina went left. And at the end of the day, I stood and watched the sunset. And I was glad that there was no Ruby’s Diner at the tip of the point at Steamer Lane.