SANTA CRUZ -- A group of world-class surfers that could include 11-time champion Kelly Slater will return to the Bay Area for the second consecutive year when the O'Neill Coldwater Classic is held Nov. 1-11 at famed Santa Cruz break Steamer Lane.
The annual Coldwater meet has been elevated to an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world championship tour competition this year as 34 of the top pros chase a $425,000 purse.
It is the penultimate stop on the ASP tour, which held an event at San Francisco's Ocean Beach in 2011.
Besides Slater, other top 10 surfers expected to compete include Australians Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning and Owen Wright, Brazilians Adriano de Souza and Gabriel Medina and France's Jeremy Flores.
Parkinson currently leads Slater for the overall title with Fanning third. Slater, considered the greatest surfer in history, won an unprecedented 11th crown last year in San Francisco. The event was marred because of an embarrassing mix-up in calculating the points gave him the title two days early.
Parkinson, 30, won the 2000 Coldwater Classic, which for the past few years has been a second-tier competition.
"It has been a long time," Parkinson said of surfing in Santa Cruz. He added in a statement that the right-breaking wave off Lighthouse Point "suits my surfing. I can't wait."
The event coincides with the 60th anniversary of Santa Cruz's Jack O'Neill helping spawn the surf industry. O'Neill was a pioneer in the invention of wetsuits while living in San Francisco in the early 1950s.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.