ASP President Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew and Brazilian surfing legend Flavio Padaratz are pleased to announce that a three-year deal securing the highly anticipated return of the ASP World Masters’ Championship was recently signed in Imbituba, Brazil.

The historic multi-year Masters’ license, which will see the legendary event run in Brazil under Padaratz’s guiding hand, will commence in 2007 and run through 2009.

“The guys will all be super stoked; Brazil will be another great reunion," Bartholomew said. “People will be blown away by the level of surfing; these guys are still ripping. I was surfing with Shaun Tomson at JBay last year and he was still dominating. I see Michael Ho carving Sunset, Tom Curren and Tom Carroll are still world class, and MR [Mark Richards] is still MR."

Though the dates and venue have yet to be confirmed, it is envisioned that the event will run in different locations annually in an effort to highlight Brazil’s assorted surf destinations and allow fans of all ages and regions access to the sport’s superstars.

Eligibility for the ASP World Masters’ Championship is based on career ASP ratings, with seeding points distributed according to year-end rankings over a surfer’s professional career. A World Title is worth 10 seeding points, a Top 5 world ranking is worth five points and so on down the scale.

“The seeding is designed to favor professional surfers who had long successful careers on the ASP World Tour and whose contribution to the sport is acknowledged," ASP CEO Brodie Carr said. The 2007 World Masters’ Championship will see the sport’s legends congregate to compete under the ASP umbrella for the first time since 2003. It will also mark the seventh time the Masters’ Championship will be held.

“When the first Masters was staged in Fiji in 1997, there was only one division and it was open to surfers age 35 and older who met the criteria," Bartholomew said. “In 1998, however, it was split into two divisions. In 2007 the Masters division will showcase surfers ranging in age from 35 to 45 while the Grand Masters features surfers 46 and older."

Sixteen surfers will contest each division. The Top 14 competitors are decided by the ASP career seeding list with the additional two slots allocated to the host nation. Local surfers will be selected using the same criteria used to pick the Top 14 or via a trials round in the event that local surfers don’t fit the aforementioned criteria.

The Masters will showcase everyone from 70’s superstars to eligible Masters still competing on the Foster’s Men’s World Tour, such as Mark Occhilupo. A host of World Champions will qualify to compete including Masters Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Martin Potter, Damien Hardman, Derek Ho and Barton Lynch and Grand Masters Mark Richards, Shaun Tomson, Rabbit Bartholomew and Peter Townend.

The Brazilian fans will have plenty to cheer about with local legends Flavio Padaratz and Fabio Gouveia eligible to compete, while defending champions Gary Elkerton (Masters) and Rabbit Bartholomew (Grand Masters) will be putting their titles on the line in punchy Brazilian beach breaks.

Divisions: In 2007 divisions will be split into the Masters (ages 35-45) and the Grand Masters (age 45+). The Grand Masters, which in 2001 saw the age eligibility amended to Over 45, is now on its way to the envisioned final resting place of Over 50. The age will move to Over 46 in 2007, Over 47 in ‘08 and so on until Over 50 is reached in 2011.

Location: The ASP World Master’s Championship will be held in various locations in Brazil in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Competitors:There will be 16 competitors in both the Masters and Grand Masters divisions for a total of 32 world class competitors 35-years of age and older. Many of the competitors will be former ASP World Champions.

www.aspworldtour.com