Whitaker, who fell outside of the top 32 surfers half way through 2010, has found himself back contesting the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) Prime and Star Series events early in 2011. Despite hating the hassling that is associated with four man heats he has been enjoying his time in New Zealand at the O'Neill Cold Water Classic.
"Yeah you know conditions aren't totally favorable today - but one minute prior to a restart in our heat that absolute bomb came in and I had the position on it and got an 8.0 point ride." "I hate hassling in the four man heats so I was lucky at the start of the event when it was big, I could go and surf by myself and now it is small it is man on man and you just have to sit and wait for the good ones, so far so good."
Whitaker defeated Marc Lacomare (FRA) who came back half way through the heat with a 6.5 point ride putting a bit of pressure on Whitaker. "Marc is always going to do that in these little waves, he has the cool aerial manouvres and he got a couple of inside waves. I wobbled on my second wave and if I had have finished the wave it would have been an easier win" said Whitaker.
Like most surfers left in the event Whitaker was happy to see the days competition finish after the Round of 16 surfers had been completed. "Yeah I think they are saying a bit more swell tomorrow" said Whitaker adding "This comp has been a total WQS comp - every condition from 6-8ft wild stuff down to little grovelly stuff you seem to see on WQS. It is good. I am getting practice in every condition, four man heats, the lot… I feel like a grommet again."