The 2022 O’Neill Kaikoura Coldwater Classic taps into some fun waves as the first bite of winter chews it’s way through the field. Local lad Levi O’Connor and young rising star Poppy Entwisle ride to the top in the Open Men’s and Women’s fields.
Kaikoura has a way of charming surfers. In winter that charm comes in the form of snow-capped peaks and bristling conversation while standing in a dripping wet wetsuit and feeling the warming licks of a smoky campfire. And that is exactly where this event exudes character and creates legends. It’s why it has corralled some of Kaikoura’s biggest businesses in to support it. Along with the support of title sponsor O’Neill, this event is among the richest in New Zealand with $6000 in prizemoney and at least the same in prizes.
Standouts included 14-year-old Poppy Entwisle, who won the Open Women’s and Under 18s after receiving a nasty knock to the head during an earlier heat on Day 2. She battled on and produced some more superb waves to further her rise to the top of the sport.
Alexis Owen did a similar thing in the Open Men’s and Under 16 Boys, winning the latter and putting the Open Men’s field on notice with a valiant charge in his semi that saw him just fall short of a final’s berth.
George Roberts also continued his run of form, nearly making the final in the Open Men’s and then taking command of the final in the Under 18 Boys.
Taking a leaf out of her sister’s book, Amanda Gouldsbury surged to a win in the Under 16 girls. Possibly inspired by her sister Natasha’s ISA World Juniors campaign that ran at the same time.
Estella Hungerford looked on point all through the comp but fell short in her Open Women’s semi. She made up for that with a win in the Women’s Longboard.
Another character to grab our attention is 17-year-old Charlie Wise. Fresh off a win in the Open Men’s Longboard from the South Island Champs this year, the charismatic surfer backed it up with some full-length board walks and antics in a jumbled lineup for his final. He’s one to watch.
The Open Men’s final was a supreme showdown that saw Levi O’Connor and Myka Black chasing some seriously big turns in a soupy lineup at Meatworks. Jack Wilson and Damian Phillips weren’t laying down either. In the end Levi got the better of Myka to take home the lion’s share of cash.