Amazing glassy waves with six to eight feet barreling faces were the focus of the Porta del Sol ISA World Masters Surfing Championships yesterday. The stellar conditions made the Masters surfers contingency able to enjoy all the charm of “la isla del encanto", allowing them to seize an entire day of Marias Beach waves in full bloom.
As the third day of competition came to a close, the time of the truth rapidly approached. Twelve surfers, divided in the three main event different divisions, are now one step away from reaching the podium; four South Africans, three Tahitians, two Dominicans, one Peruvian, one Brazilian and one Puerto Rican. If they are able to make it through one more heat, these countries will be ensuring a medal for themselves.
Taking advantage of the great conditions, South African John McCarthy received the highest combined score at the Masters with 17.00. He scored an almost perfect 9.00, after coming out of the barrel and gliding the wave with stylish clean moves. With this score he beat Noel Chave from Tahiti into second, with Lee Bartlett from England taking third.
Once out of the water McCarthy said: "I felt great, waves are perfect, clean and a bit bigger than yesterday; I like them just like that. Anyway, I was lucky to find them. In my 9.00 point ride I got a little bit of a barrel and then a couple of turns in the end, it was great wave and I enjoyed it a lot. I don´t know if deserves 9.00 points, it was just really fun."
In the Grand Masters rounds, Magoo de la Rosa from Peru and David Malherbe made the highest scores of their heat. One more time, de la Rosa was solid, with a wise wave selection and a backside approach that filled Marías waves with radical moves. He took advantage of the strength of his backside, adjusting perfectly to hit good rights, allowing him to score 8.15 and 8.75. With this he relegated Pascal Luciani from Tahiti into second and Carlos Santos from Brazil into third.
Commenting on his performance Magoo said: "I'm really glad, because of these results and because the waves rose up a lot. That leaves less room for luck and the same opportunities to everyone. I went to the water with my 6'6, I knew that it was important for me to get back to the line up as soon as possible with this kind of conditions. Then, in the waves I felt a bit uncomfortable because of the size of the board but it adjusted because it works fine, and I think it helped me to get the best out of the waves. I hope I'll keep being lucky on the next rounds."
The best single wave of the day and of the championship up to now was ridden by one of the eldest participants, Rudi Plamboom, 47, from South Africa. It took place on the first heat of the Kahunas' third round of the main event. Plamboom rode a set wave, made a short snap and disappeared for three seconds to victoriously come out and keep performing getting a 9.5 which he backed up with a 5.5 to beat Dominican Robert Reid who came second and French Gilles Asenjo who took third.
Plamboom left the water and received a standing ovation from his team. He later said: "I felt great, it was a rather deep barrel, it reminded me of one of my favorite’s waves back home, Cave Rock. I´m still confident about the championships, I've got good boards so I´m really happy. Our team is great, we´re really close and we´re committed to do a good job".
In addition to Plamboom and Reid, Ariel Méndez from Dominican Republic and Chris Knutsen from South Africa, will also compete in the fourth round today to try to clinch a medal.
Once the main event rounds were over, the second round of the repercharge started and again offered a lot to talk about. Local Alberto Licha scored the highest combined score of the championship with a 17.5, adding 9.25 and 8.25 on his best two waves. Surfing at home, Licha showed to comfortable under perfect conditions and filled with clean moves Marías' faces. He beat Heinere Paez from Tahiti into second, with Jean Louis Poupinel from France in third and Antonio Pino from Ecuador in fourth.
Among other results of the repercharge, standouts were Andre Malherbe from South Africa and Gustavo Betancourt from Puerto Rico in the Masters, Heinare Paez from Tahití in the Grand Masters and the local Wilfredo Caban in the Kahunas, all scoring more than 14.00 points on their heats.
With two rounds of the repercharge already played, with the exception of South Africa, Puerto Rico and Brazil, all the countries have lost at least one athlete. Contrary to that, Italy, Ecuador and Spain now have no surfers remaining in the contest.
The fourth day of competition of the Porta del Sol ISA World Masters Surfing Championships will start at Marias Beach at 8am today. The third and fourth repercharge will take place and also the fourth round of the main event of all the categories. The first two surfers in each heat in the main event will assure themselves a place on the podium.