South Africa has won the inaugural ISA World Masters Team title, beating hosts Puerto Rico by 59 points in an exciting final day of surfing which was held in 10 to 15 foot surf at Domes in Rincon. Peru were third, Tahiti came fourth and France finished fifth.
South Africa, who had won the Tag Team title on Saturday, went into the final day of surfing with John Mc Carthy in the Masters final, David Malherbe in the Grandmasters final and Chris Knutsen and Rudy Palmboom in the Kahuna’s final and Andre Malherbe in the Masters repercharge rounds.
As huge waves pounded the Rincon shoreline waverunners (special jetskis adapted as surfing rescue and support craft) were on hand to take the surfers out to the backline and fetch them in dangerous situations.
In Repercharge Round five, Malherbe gave it everything in his bid to join teammate McCarthy in the Masters final but despite some power surfing in the huge, testing conditions the East London surfer had to settle for third and was eliminated from the event.
An unwell Mc Carthy was the first of the South Africans to paddle into a final at the World Masters Championships and the after effects of a severe case of sunstroke took its toll on the Durban surfer as he battled to make the right wave selection, eventually ending in fourth place with 9.5 points.
There was jubilation as pre contest favourite Juan Ashton of Puerto Rico scored 16.5 points to produce gold for the stoked host nation. 1990 ISA World Champion Heifara Tahutini of Tahiti was given second place ahead of Wagner Pupo of Brazil after a countback as they both scored 15 points.
In the Grandmasters final Magoo de La Rosa of Peru posted 15.85 points to take gold while Hanera Paez of Tahiti’s 14.75 points were enough to give him second place. Alberto Licha of Puerto Rico scored 11.5 points to register third and David Malherbe scored 8 points for his fourth place.
At this stage it looked as if Team honours would be going the way of the host nation but then former four time South African Champion and eight time National team member, Chris Knutsen stepped up to the plate in the Kahuna (over 45) final and took control of the heat.
Posting 15.4 points Knutsen easily dealt with the challenge of Javier Huarraya of Peru who scored 12.4 to finish second. Third was Gillles Asanjo of France with 10.5 points followed Rudy Palmboom of South Africa with 9.95 points.With nothing in it between South Africa and Puerto Rico at the end of the finals ISA officials made sure of the scores before announcing the Jeep South African team as the 2007 Champions.
According to ISA Contest Director Marcos Bukao the final day was: “A great show held under sunny skies in front of a crowded beach and in 10 foot waves.” He added that there were some excellent scores including a 10 point ride. “the vibe was excellent right up to and including the closing ceremony. This was, for sure, one of the best ISA contests ever,” he said.
The Jeep SA Masters team will arrive at OR Tambo airport this afternoon. Team South Africa is supported by Jeep, Island Style, Reef Brazil and assisted by Sport and Recreation SA and the National Lottery Board.