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|Besting a very capable Julian Wilson, local star and former Cold Water champ Nat Young has to be considered a favorite heading into the final day.|
On a pleasant Indian summer Saturday in Northern California, on one end of Monterey Bay the O'Neill Cold Water Classic was getting underway. Nat Young was thumping on Julian Wilson and Dusty Payne was sticking it to Evan Geiselman. On the other side of the bay, 27-year-old Eric Tarantino was battling to extricate himself from the jaws of what's been estimated to be a 12-foot great white shark.
Paddling out at Marina State Beach at daybreak, a popular surf spot just a click out of the town of Monterey and not far from Moss Landing, Tarantino was reportedly attacked by the shark, which bit the front of his board, his neck and forearm. Tarantino was able to make it back to the beach under his own power where he was assisted by lifeguard personel and other witnesses.
"Authorities say the Monterey man was taken to a local airport by paramedics and flown to a San Jose hospital," reports the Associated Press. "His condition wasn't known, but a state parks official said Tarantino's injuries didn't appear to be life-threatening."
|Calif. State Park Lifeguard Kevin Brady with Tarantino's board.|
The last shark attack at Marina Sate Beach was in August 2007. Trantino's attack stands as the eleventh reported shark attack in Monterey County since 1952.
Meanwhile, as the tide crested and Steamer Lane all but stopped breaking, organizers of the Cold Water Classic opted to move the contest north to Waddell Creek. It turned out to be the right call, as the playful three-foot beachbreak allowed the surfers to finally cut loose and punt a few airs.
"It's alright to come to Waddell Creek," said Young, who clearly has his eyes set on a finals berth. "The Lane would have been tough with three people out there and not many waves. It's almost better that they came up here to run this round and hopefully they can finish it off at The Lane."
"It has been a really hard contest," agreed Brazil's Willian Cardoso, who like Young earned himself a spot in the quarterfinals today. "We've been moving to different spots, at Steamer Lane, and then here where we're getting left and right."
The heat of the day came in the form of an all-star battle between Josh Kerr, Jordy Smith and Tom Whitaker. Yesterday it was Kerr that ran away with the top score of the day, and he maintained his furious pace today.
"I was thinking that, all three of us guys are World Tour guys and I'm into the quarters now, and I think the way it works is that I'll have Jordy in my next heat," explained Kerr. "That's going to be tough. I'm going to get a good night sleep and try and get psyched up for that."
More details about Tarantino and the shark attack at Marina as they become available, and stay tuned tomorrow for the final play-by-play from the O'Neill Cold Water Classic.
O'NEILL COLD WATER CLASSIC NON-ELIMINATION ROUND OF 12:
Heat 1: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.90, Nathan Yeomans (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.70, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.37, Dusty Payne (HAW) 5.90
Heat 3: Nic Muscroft (AUS) 13.10, Adam Melling (AUS) 13.07, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 5.17
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.77, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.33, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 5.17
O'NEILL COLD WATER CLASSIC ROUND OF 24 RESULTS:
Heat 5: Dusty Payne (HAW) 14.04 def. Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.34
Heat 6: Nat Young (USA) 13.67 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.66
Heat 7: Nic Muscroft (AUS) 13.20 def. Charles Martin (GLP) 6.03
Heat 8: Adam Melling (AUS) 8.87 def. John John Florence (HAW) 4.67
Heat 9: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.80 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.93 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.17
Heat 11: Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.33 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.23
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.20 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.97