The best Masters surfers of the World went back to the water yesterday as the Porta del Sol ISA World Masters Surfing Championships kept going on another sunny day at Domes Beach in Puerto Rico with waves that went from three to four feet in the morning to perfect six to eight faces by the last heats of the day, making it difficult for some surfers to show their talent.
Main event round two took place yesterday as well as the first of the repercharge of the three divisions – Masters, Grand Masters and Kahunas. The surfing level was outstanding, with higher scores accompanying the higher waves.
The first three heats of the day showed that veterans are here to fight for the title; the winners – John McCarty from South Africa, Wagner Pupo from Brazil and Noel Chave from Tahiti – scored more than 14.00 points on their each two best waves.
The greatest was Chave who scored a total of 17.00 points, surfing the second highest single wave of the championship up to now, a 9.25 in a right he filled with manoeuvers from the outside to the shore.
Once out of the water the Tahitian said: “I found a great 9.00 points wave that got me all the way to the shore line, I was lucky to find that one. The Championships are great but the level of competition is fierce and all these surfers are really good. Anyway, I hope to get to the finals.”
On the Grand Masters division, the main event’s best performance was made by the South African David Malherbe, with Peruvian Magoo de la Rosa close behind. Malherbe surfed with clean lines that ended up with explosive moves; he got 16.25 to beat Brazilian Carlos Santos into second, the South African Craig Simms clinched third and French Jean Louis Poupinel took fourth.
As for Magoo, he printed his typical radical style and with three strong moves per wave he got 15.75 relegating Hector Gonzalez from Puerto Rico into second, with Heinere Paez from Tahiti in third and Daz Wright from England trailing in fourth.
After his great heat, the South African commented: “The heat was great, right now I feel really good. I simply hope things to keep going like this. There’s still a long way to go, the competition is hard, and I’m very proud of getting another first place.”
As for the Kahunas, the South Africans once again made the cut with Chris Knutsen and Rudi Plamboom taking the highest combined scores of their Qualifying round two heats. Knutsen, 48, a well-known surfer back in the 70s and 80s, scored 15.25 beating Dominican Robert Reid into second, local Wilfredo Caban in third and Peruvian Javier Huarcaya in fourth.
“Today I felt better than yesterday; the waves have improved so much, therefore now I can surf the way I know,” said Knutsen. “I was lucky to find some good waves and that’s how I got the first place. It’s fantastic to be here and meet old friends that were at the World Championships back in the seventies. Puerto Ricans are incredibly nice people and have treated us great. I wish for the waves to keep coming so we can give a good show at the end of the championship”, said the South African surfer after his excellent performance.
Once the Kahuna’s heats were over, the repercharge started. Surfers proved wrong the so-called “losers round”. On the Masters, Luigi de Marzo and German Aguirre both from Peru, and the Dominican Robert Reid scored 11.00, 14.15 and 15.15 respectively and won their heats.
Reid stood out with a great backhand approach, combined a strong off the lip that almost made him lose control but came back up with a layback, for then get in the barrel and kept going up to the shore to get an 8.5.
A great surprise took place in the Grand Masters repercharge heat one, with the Peruvian Jorge Pozo surfing the best wave of the championship up to now with a 9.4. Pozo performed great in an almost double overhead wave, with good line and large bottom turns, doing three strong off the lips. The Peruvian backed up his points with a 7.00 to get the highest combined score of his division.
By the end of the day, the waves turned huge. At the Kahunas’ repercharge, some competitors never got to the line up and ended up riding white water in the shore. This was not the case of Luis Salvador from Ecuador who performed great off the lips to score 14.5 on his best two waves. While the fight is getting tougher, the favorite nations started to lose athletes. Right now, none of the countries keep all their competitors in the main event, all of them have someone on the repercharge and others are out of the championship.
Out of the 18 participants who remained undefeated, we have: four from South Africa, three from Tahiti, three from Brazil, two from France, two from Dominican Republic, two from Puerto Rico, one from Peru and one from England. Nevertheless, any competitor in the repercharge has the same chances to win.