The SA Masters surfing team have won the silver medal at the 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Champs in Ecuador. They started the last day with half of their eight-strong squad through to the finals of their respective divisions, and ended the day with two individual gold medals, and two individual silver medals to add to the overall team silver – quite a medal haul for the team that nearly couldn’t make it to compete.
Yes, it was a tough road to the ISA World Masters for the team. Lack of funding initially made the trip to Ecuador an uncertainty until just a week or two before they were due to take on the world. Luckily, a few raffles, auctions, donations and a generous grant from the Sports & Recreation department later, the team were on their way to Montanita – a fun right point break near the equator. Sounds like a holiday, but not when you are competing in an eight day tournament against over 150 of the world’s best Over 35 year-old surfers.
The SA Team included a lineup of past world champions and seasoned campaigners; Gary van Wieringen and Greg Emslie (Masters), Heather Clark (Womens), Wayne Monk and Carl Roux (Grand Masters), brothers David and Andre Malherbe (Kahunas), and Chris Knutsen (Grand Kahunas). There were enough previous medals amongst the crew to list them as potential favourites to take out the title.
Hawaii had a pretty solid team themselves; Sunny Garcia (Masters & Grand Masters), Kalani Robb (Masters), Rochelle Ballard (Womens), Love Hodel (Grand Masters), Mike Latronic and Reuben Balmores (Kahunas), and Shuji Kasuya (Grand Kahunas).
Although Team SA trumped the Hawaiians in both the Grand Kahunas (oldest) and Masters (youngest) divisions, it was the Hawaiian’s middle order that took them to the team gold medal. With a pair of Hawaiians in two of the four-man finals, plus a squad member in the other finals, they deservedly took out the World Masters title ahead of a very close SA Masters team.
Greg Emslie and Chris Knutsen’s gold medal-winning performances you’d have to say were the highlight of the event. Chris showed the class to capture his fourth ISA World Masters gold medal, and Greg was surfing like he left the tour just yesterday – which he pretty much did in the grand scheme of the ISA World Masters, where age is just a number.
The Hawaiians would then argue that Sunny Garcia’s performance to make both the Masters and Grand Masters finals were the highlight of the event, but Greg schooled him in the final with his near perfect heat score – 19.46pts out of a possible 20.00pts – and left Sunny comboed, as well as beat him convincingly in the earlier rounds.
The performances by SA’s other medallists Heather Clark and Andre Malherbe were also worthy of gold. Both lead their respective finals for large parts with some great surfing, before being hauled-in by eventual champions Layne Beachley (AUS) and Mike Latronic (HAW). Heather and Andre’s long road to the final during this eight day tournament deserved gold, but you can bet they will still be stoked with their silver medals.
Gary van Wieringen, Carl Roux, Dave Malherbe and Wayne Monk were all casualties of Day 1-7 in the marathon tournament. Wayne missed out on a place in the final needing to advance just two more heats, while Dave, Carl and Gary were eliminated earlier despite surfing well. Their support on the beach could be clearly heard, though, with vuvuzela blasts audible across the world via the webcast as our four finalists and two world champs showed the world what SA can shred well in to their fifties.
For more photos, results and video highlights go to http://wwwisawmsc.com
Official press release below:
EPIC FINAL DAY AT THE 2013 ISA WORLD MASTERS CHAMPIONS IN MONTAÑITA, ECUADOR
During an epic day of amazing waves and tremendous surfing performances, the 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship officially closed.
The waves were incredible throughout the Finals. The morning heats saw glassy surf in the 6-8 feet range at the perfect right hand point-break in Montañita, Ecuador. A gentle onshore breeze picked up mid-morning, but the waves remained consistent and pumping all day and Team Hawaii successfully defended their title of World Team Champions and winners of the Eduardo Arena Perpetual Team Trophy, named after the Peruvian founder and first President of the ISA in 1964.
“Huge congratulations to all of the winners. This was an amazing competition with great waves and excellent performances from all athletes,” commented ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “Thank you to everyone that helped organize this amazing event including the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, the Minister of Sport Francisco Cevallos and the Deputy Minister Augusto Moran, and the over 20 government organizations that helped make this World Championship a reality. Ecuador is an incredible surfing destination. We plan to come back next year with another ISA world championship.”
Grand Kahuna (over 50) Chris Knutsen was rewarded for his powerful surfing and impeccable wave selection with his fourth ISA World Championship. The South African reached the Final via the Repechage rounds, and put on a display of powerful, clean surfing. During the live webcast interview, the South African expressed his desire for a fourth gold medal to have one for every one of his grandchildren.
Knutsen scored 15.17, overcoming Silver Medlaist Craig Schieber (CRC, 12.10), Bronze Medalist Allen Sarlo (USA, 11.33), and Copper Medalist Eric Graciet (FRA, 9.80).
In an action-packed Grand Masters (over 40) Final, Sunny Garcia (HAW), defended his 2012 Gold Medal, scoring an impressive 17.08, defeating Silver Medalist Marcelo Alves (BRA, 10.66), Bronze Medalist Love Hodel (HAW, 10.50), and Copper Medalist Dean Randazzo (USA, 10.27).
Hawaii’s Mike Latronic, who also reached the Final through the Repechage, won the Kahuna (over 45) division.
In the Final, the Hawaiian scored a heat total of 12.90, earning the Gold Medal, defeating Silver Medalist Andre Malherbe (ZAF, 11.34), Bronze Medalist Jojo de Olivenca (BRA, 10.04) and Copper Medalist Ricky Schaffer (USA, 6.43).
Australia’s Layne Beachley continued her domination, winning the Gold and reclaiming the Women’s Masters World Champion title.
In a very close Final, Beachley came out victorious with 13.76, defeating Heather Clark (ZAF, 13.67), Andrea Lopes (BRA, 12.96) and Rochelle Ballard (HAW, 11.60).
Greg Emslie from South Africa is the new ISA Masters (over 35) World Champion. Emslie was unstoppable in the Final with a near-perfect total heat score of 19.46, the sum of two individual scores of 9.83 and 9.63. In second, Kalani Robb (HAW, 14.50) won the Silver Medal, Magnum Martinez placed third for the Bronze (VEN, 12.83), and Sunny Garcia, surfing down into the younger age group, (HAW, 12.30) placed fourth, winning the Copper Medal.
The last event of the day was the thrilling ISA Aloha Cup, a tag-team relay competition that featured the four finalists, who earned a position in the Finals by advancing through the semi- finals the day before.
Today’s Aloha Cup Final featured teams from Hawaii, Brazil, Australia and Venezuela. Each Team is made up of 4 men and 1 woman, and each surfer is scored on the best two of a maximum of three waves. The Final was one hour long.
Team Australia won the ISA Aloha Cup showing great strategy and teamwork defeating Venezuela, in second place, Brazil in third and Hawaii in fourth.
The Closing Ceremony took place in Concha Acustica on the beach, to officially close the 2013 ISA World Masters and award the Eduardo Arena Perpetual Team Trophy and all the individual medals.
As part of the ceremony, a special gift was awarded to all the first place finishers.
The local surf shop in Montañita that specializes in Balsa surfboards, “Balsa House,” along with its owner, Cesar “Rasty” Moreira, presented a custom hand made Balsa Wood Surfboard to each individual Gold Medalist.
In addition, a special announcement was made by ISA President Fernando Aguerre and Ecuador’s Surfing Federation President Xavier Aguirre that an ISA World Championship will return to Ecuador in 2014 with the support of the Ministry of Sport.
OVERALL TEAM RESULTS:
Hawaii- 10,844 points and winner of the Eduardo Arena Perpetual Team Trophy
South Africa- 8,976 points, Silver Medal
USA- 8,165 points, Bronze Medal
Brazil- 8,087 points, Copper Medal
Australia- 7,882 points
Argentina- 6,360 points
Venezuela- 6,357 points
Peru- 6,133 points
Costa Rica- 6,055 points
France- 6,011 points
Japan- 5,955 points
Ecuador- 5,580 points
Puerto Rico- 5,436 points
Uruguay- 4,690 points
Chile- 4,675 points
Spain- 4,515 points
Mexico- 2,716 points
Dominican Republic- 1,375
Panama- 1,110 points
Great Britain- 720 points
Greg Emslie (ZAF), Gold Medal
Kalani Robb (HAW), Silver Medal
Magnum Martinez (VEN), Bronze Medal
Sunny Garcia (HAW), Copper Medal
Layne Beachley (AUS), Gold Medal
Heather Clark (ZAF), Silver Medal
Andrea Lopes (BRA), Bronze Medal
Rochelle Ballard (HAW), Copper Medal
Sunny Garcia (HAW), Gold Medal
Marcelo Alves (BRA), Silver Medal
Love Hodel (HAW), Bronze Medal
Dean Randazzo (USA), Copper Medal
Mike Latronic (HAW), Gold Medal
Andre Malherbe (ZAF), Silver Medal
Jojo de Olivenca (BRA), Bronze Medal
Ricky Schaffer (USA), Copper Medal
Chris Knutsen (ZAF), Gold Medal
Craig Schieber (CRC), Silver Medal
Allen Sarlo (USA), Bronze Medal
Eric Graciet (FRA), Copper Medal
Australia, Gold Medal and winner of the ISA Aloha Cup Trophy
Venezuela, Silver Medal
Brazil, Bronze Medal
Hawaii, Copper Medal
For a full list of results visit: www.iswmsc.com/results
For the full event coverage with daily videos and photo galleries visit – www.isawmsc.com