The event remained at ‘The Pipe’ on Midway Beach for the second consecutive day with a slight drop in swell but a cleaner line up with excellent peeling left and rights running in all directions along the beach.
Melling scorched several right-handers opting to keep away from his opponents who were predominantly surfing the lefts. He scored a 13.43 point heat total to win the heat and eliminate the last standing Kiwi, Maz Quinn.
“Mate, it is always hard coming up against the local guys, they always know where to sit and they usually get the bombs so I just sat beside Maz and picked a couple off” said Melling.
“I love going right so I stayed away from the other guys towards the end. The lefts were good but they were sorta running down the beach away from the judges and the rights were fun so I stayed on them” added Melling.
With the southerly swell that everyone has enjoyed over the past few days dropping, a third location change could be on the cards as a new easterly swell develops – a change that Melling would be happy with.
“I wouldn’t mind going back to the other place, it is a little more flat here and we are staying out at Wainui Beach where I think it is more peaky and fun.”
Melling along with Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) eliminated local hope Maz Quinn who was philosophical about exiting the event.
“Yeah I am pretty gutted, I had a chance on my last one but slipped on my second turn and got the wobbles and wrecked the rest of the wave. I am pretty happy with where I got but it sucks to lose at home.”
Despite being the highest placed Kiwi at the event, the result gives Quinn no desire to chase the ASP World Tour.
“No, it is too easy to go out and compete at your home break but this result doesn’t persuade me into going back on the WQS.”
Spanish surfer Gony Zubizarreta also moved through to the Round of 12 surfers late in the day.
“Yeah the waves are getting smaller but they are real fun rights and lefts” said Zubizarreta of the conditions. “I was just trying to surf fast and I got a 6.17 early then it took me ages to get another and I went to third place and then got one at the end to push me back into first so I am really happy. Nic Muscroft (AUS) and Roy Powers (USA) – that’s a hard heat and I am really happy to get through”
Earlier in the day Miguel Pupo (BRA) was a stand out surfer in the Round of 48 powering through some massive turns throwing spray skyward despite being on borrowed equipment.
“I didn’t have a plan, I just wanted to go out and get waves. I broke two boards in the last two days so I borrowed this board off Gabriel (Medina) and it goes really good.”
Stu Kennedy was another to shine in the round of 48 and is looking confident moving into the final stages of the event.
“Yeah I am feeling really good at the moment but I couldn’t find any waves at the start of the heat. I kinda built momentum through it and finally put one wave together at the end there so I hope I can keep it going for the rest of the event.”
Kennedy is the defending event champion having won the Tasmania leg of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series in 2010 which was moved to Gisborne for 2011. He is keen to defend his title at this year’s event.
“I am jus t trying to get that feeling back, it seems to be working at the moment and I am just trying to get that momentum, possibly I can do it” said Kennedy in reference to the chances of a title defence.
Following the launch in New Zealand, 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, before culminating once again at the 6 Star Prime ASP World Tour event, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series, California, in Santa Cruz, October 24-30, 2011.