Makaha, Oahu, HAWAII – January 27, 2003 – The secret fountain ofyouth was discovered on the West Side of Oahu today, at Makaha Beach, wherethe finals of the Quiksilver Masters were held. 1978 world surfing championWayne Bartholomew (Australia) was back on the winner’s dais, winning thefinal of the Grand Masters division (45 years and over) from 1979-1982 worldchampion Mark Richards (Australia). The final of the Masters (35 to 44years) was taken out for the third consecutive year by Gary Elkerton(Australia). Elkerton defeated Brad Gerlach (Encinitas, Ca.), the onlyAmerican to reach the finals. The fourth and final day of the event baskedin hot sunshine and perfect waves of four-to-six feet.
It was 25 years ago that Bartholomew first raised the world champion’strophy overhead, yet he bore the grin of a teenager and surfed with the samelevel of enthusiasm and stoke to do it again today. Born and raised on theright-hand point breaks of Queensland, Australia, Bartholomew (48) feltright at home at Makaha today. His rhythm with the pick of set waves wason-beat and he carved each successive ride apart to top the day’s scores inthe final. He posted 17.5 points out of a possible 20 against Richards (46).
A die-hard tennis fan, Bartholomew said he drew his inspiration for thisevent from tennis ace Andre Agassi. “In order to win a Grand Slam in tennis,you’ve got to win seven times,” said Bartholomew. “So I drew my inspirationfrom Agassi coming into this event and that’s exactly what I did. Iaccomplished every goal I set out to achieve.” Bartholomew was the onlysurfer in either division to win all seven of his heats – four preliminaryrounds, the quarter final, semi-final and final.
“To win the Masters for a second time feels great. Mark beat me to win inIreland at the last Masters and we were one apiece. I was prettydisappointed after that, so I went home and I’ve been training really hard.
“Surfing really needs this. Golf’s got it, tennis has got it, and now herewe are stirring up some modern-day rivalries in the Grand Masters ofsurfing!” As President of the ASP, surfing’s governing body, Bartholomew hasbeen a strong supporter of the Quiksilver Masters from both sides of thefence.
Equal third place in the Grand Masters went to Hawaiian pair Buzzy Kerbox(Maui) and Bobby Owens. Equal fifth after quarterfinal losses wereAustralians Paul Neilson and Terry Richardson, Shaun Tomson (South Africa)and Michael Ho (Hawaii).
In the Masters, the surfing was as hot as you’d find at any elite level prosurfing event, particularly in the final and semi-finals. Elkerton facedthree-time world champion Tom Curren (California – 1985, 86, 90) in thequarters, and 1989 world champion Martin Potter (UK). While Elkerton battledhis demons with these two in the ’80’s, they were no match for him today.The 39-year-old put it all down to a level of fitness far superior toanything he enjoyed during his hey day.
“It all comes down to physical conditioning, and if I was in this shape whenI was 18 to 25 years of age, I would have won all those titles I missed outon,” said Elkerton.
“The final was the best heat I surfed in the whole event. I started to comealive in the semis with Tom Curren. This was the easiest Masters final I’vewon – not to take anything away from the others, it’s just that my fitnessand my head-space is right there.
“The concept of the Masters is extraordinary. It would be a shame if itwasn’t available. It’s great for the public and it’s great for the youngersurfers to see. It’s given us all an extension where you can still surf,have a family and enjoy life.”
Masters runner-up Brad Gerlach, 36, surfed incredibly well throughout theday, but found himself out of sync with the larger, longer waves thatElkerton tapped into. His precise maneuvers and unsurpassed style couldn’thave been better, but his scores were limited by his choice of waves. Likehis Grand Masters counterpart Mark Richaards, there was definitely nothingwanting about his surfing level.
“I haven’t surfed a man-on-man heat since 1992, but I still remembered somestuff!” said Gerlach. “It sure has been nice here, especially on this sideof the island. The color of the water, the waves, the weather, it’s trulybeautiful.
“At home I surf with guys 10 years younger than me and I’m always trying togo really fast and lay down some large turns. I’m still paid to be a pro(these days a featured tow-in surfer), so I didn’t want to lose to anyone -particularly in the semi’s. Bainy works for the same company that sponsorsme and there was no way I could lose that heat. I could just hear the guyssaying ‘what are we doing paying (Brad) if the guy in the office can beathim?”
Equal third in the Masters were Rob Bain (Australia) and Martin Potter (UK).Equal fifth were Barton Lynch (Australia), Mike Parsons (California), DerekHo (Hawaii) and Tom Curren (California).
On all levels, the Quiksilver Masters World Championship has been a giantsuccess and, with the recent signing of a further two-year license withadditional two-year option, its future looks bright. This year, Hawaiioffered the event a unique style, treating competitors to a daily serving ofthe aloha spirit and good times. The setting at Makaha Beach and flankingMakaha Resort Golf Club provided a stage for daily live Hawaiian music andisland flavors that can only be found here. In a 5-star send-off,competitors will be treated to a full Hawaiian luau this evening.
QUIKSILVER GRAND MASTERS (45 years and over):(Best two waves count in heat total – out of max. 20 points)
Final:Wayne Bartholomew (Aus) 17.5 dft Mark Richards (Aus) 13.4
H1: Wayne Bartholomew (Aus) 15.5 dft Bobby Owens (Haw) 11.6
H2: Mark Richards (Aus) 16.75 dft Buzzy Kerbox (Haw) 14.2
H1: Wayne Bartholomew (Aus) 15.0 dft Paul Neilson (Aus) 10.25
H2: Bobby Owens (Haw) 12.0 dft Terry Richardson (Aus) 9.2
H3: Buzzy Kerbox (Haw) 15.0 dft Shaun Tomson (Safr) 14.75
H4: Mark Richards (Aus) 14.2 dft Michael Ho (Haw) 13.2
QUIKSILVER MASTERS (35 to 44 years):(Best two waves count in heat total – out of max. 20 points)
Final:Gary Elkerton (Aus) 17.25 dft Brad Gerlach (USA) 13.25
Semi-Finals:H1: Brad Gerlach (USA) 13.25 dft Rob Bain (Aus) 16.25
H2: Gary Elkerton (Aus) 15.0 dft Martin Potter (UK) 12.5
H1: Brad Gerlach (USA) 16.15 dft Barton Lynch (Aus) 13.35
H2: Rob Bain (Aus) 16.0 dft Mike Parsons (USA) 11.5
H3: Martin Potter (UK) 17.15 dft Derek Ho (Haw) 11.4
H4: Gary Elkerton (Aus) 15.35 dft Tom Curren (USA) 15.1