The ISA Porta del Sol World Masters Surfing Championships started Sunday on a beautiful sunny day with perfect two to three feet waves at Domes Beach, Rincón. ISA President said in his remarks at the Opening Ceremony, “High performance surfing is not a matter of age any longer": this was proven in the first day of the event.
Competition round one in the three categories fighting for the World Title (Masters, Grand Masters and Kahunas) took place yesterday. The day best performance was made early in the morning by Juan Ashton from Puerto Rico, he surfed with great power, scoring 17.15 to beat Defending Champ Carlos Santos from Brazil who took second, leaving Luigi de Marzo from Perú in third and Belanino Rodriguez from Republica Dominicana trailing in fourth.
The well-known local surfer said: "I’m feeling good; basically in the first heat I was trying not to be nervous. My first few waves were small, so I started to wait for bigger ones and I finally demonstrated that I could get a good score."
Wagner Pupo from Brazil, who also competed in the Masters division, scored the highest single wave score of the day, with an almost perfect 9.00. Pupo performed two big floaters on a set waves that were followed by a fluent cutback and an off the lip. The Brazilian backed his best ride with a 7.1 to combine 16.10, and won against Gustavo Betancourt from Puerto Rico who took second, Peruvian German Aguirre in third and Dominican Robert Reid who clinched fourth place.
"My first few waves weren’t so good, but later I started looking for better ones and I was lucky to find them. I’m cool, I'm enjoying this tournament, where there are a great number of people our age with lot of experience. I can see the surf quality of them, everybody can be a surprise," said Pupo once the heat was over.
On the other hand, in the Grand Masters division (for surfers over-40 years old), it was the South African David Malherbe who scored the highest combined score. His smooth surfing and a wise wave selection earnt Malherbe a 13.25, beating Pascal Luciani from Tahiti into second place. Aldo Ruiz from Dominican Republic took third, with Daniel Morla from Ecuador in fourth.
The South African surfer said: "I’m feeling good, the waves are pretty good. I was lucky to find two good waves. I look forward for them to keep coming in my direction. This championship is a fantastic opportunity to see old friends, all the veterans that used to compete in the WQS, it is a wonderful thing because we can gather all together again."
Also competing in the Grand Masters, the Peruvian Magoo de la Rosa received second highest score of the division with a respectable 13.15. Surfing with his typical powerful style, De la Rosa beat Defending Champ Carlos Santos from Brazil into second place, and the local star Alberto Licha claimed third.
The eldest competitors of the event, the Kahunas (over 45 years old), provided a great show, fighting each heat as if they were in their youthful prime. Robert Reid from Dominican Republic - also a competitor on the Grand Masters category - scored 13.00 points, which was the round's highest combined score, and beat English Jed Stone into second. Jamaican Anthony Wilmot took third and Phillipe Klima from Tahiti clinched fourth. The 45-year-old Dominican winner said: "I was really worried because at the beginning of the heat I couldn’t get any waves at all. Luckily, I later found a right and a left that helped my score. I’m really happy; thank God everything went really well. I just have to keep going, it looks like the waves are getting bigger, and I think that that will help my surfing."
Among other results, Heifara Tahutini - ISA World Champion in 1990 - and Noel Chave, both from Tahiti, along with Lee Bartlett and Grishka Roberts from England did a great job, placing themselves in the first place of their Masters heats. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Marcelo Boscoli, the South African Craig Simms, English Daz Wright and his country fellow man Roger Knight won their respective heats of the Grand Masters.
Between Kahunas competitors, Gary Rogers from Great Britain, Rudi Plamboom and Chris Knutsen from South Africa with Gilles Asenjo and Jean Labrucherie both from France, all won in their heats.
Up to now, round one of all divisions have been played, and as the event is one of double elimination no country has lost any athletes on the competition yet. Nevertheless, the only countries that still have all their surfers in the main event are: South Africa, France, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Competition day two of the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships will be held today starting at 8am local time. According to the predictions, waves will be bigger and the championship will take place either on Domes or Marias.