USA Leads the Charge for Team Gold at the Nicaragua ISA World Masters
12 More Athletes and One Team Eliminated on Day 6; ISA Aloha Cup Final Teams Decided
Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
Friday, July 20, 2012
Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, Nicaragua
At the end of Day 6, 44 athletes remain in the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, just one or two heats from the Medal Round. With conditions expected to improve on Saturday, it looks like there will be a very exciting completion to this first ever ISA world championship in Nicaragua.
Another full day of Repechage heats – followed by the semifinals of the ISA Aloha Cup – ran in two to three-foot waves, with ever-present offshore winds grooming them to perfection. Over the course of eight heats, the number of surfers eligible to win a coveted ISA medal was further trimmed. Twelve more surfers and one country were eliminated from contention, bringing the number of countries still competing to 13.
USA (8 athletes) and Hawaii (6) are ahead of the pack for the fight for Team Gold and the perpetual Eduardo Arena Trophy. They are followed by Brazil (5), Peru (5) and Australia (4). Japan had a difficult day, losing three of its five remaining surfers. Four-time ISA Gold Medalist Juan Ashton (PUR) has been fighting his way through the Grand Masters (over-40) Repechage rounds since Day 3. As if competing in the elimination rounds weren't already difficult enough, with conditions further decreasing today, finding waves with scoring potential was a challenge.
"Being in the Repechage rounds, where you only have 15 minutes, and you don't know when the waves are coming – it could at the beginning or the end – is pretty dreadful," said Ashton, who won his heat with a score of 14.34. "I saw that first wave, saw my opportunity and gave it all I had, like it was a final. The guys from Japan (Yasunori Isobe finished third in the heat), in small waves are tremendous surfers. When I was competing in ASP events and the waves were small and at beachbreaks, they always surfed pretty well; that's why I knew they were going to be the surprise in this event."
Puerto Rico, which has won a Team Copper Medal the past two years, still has three athletes remaining in the event. Argentina also has three athletes competing, and one of its strongest contenders for a medal is Martin Passeri in the Men's Masters (over-35). Last year in El Salvador, Passeri finished equal-13th in the division.
"You just need to be patient and find the right wave and give it your best. I know that the judges want to see us bury the rail, and if I catch the right wave, I know I can do it," Passeri said. "All the surfers in these rounds are really good, so anyone can win this event. I have to go heat-by-heat; I can't think ahead. I just need to be in the moment."
Peru was the only team in yesterday's Top 6, other than USA, not to lose one of its remaining athletes today. Magoo de la Rosa won his Kahunas (over-45) heat with a score of 13.03, allowing his country to stay strong with five athletes. "It's a really tricky wave, and we are not used these waves, but little by little we are getting to know the wave and doing a little bit better every heat. Luck has been by our side too; we've had good waves and didn't waste the opportunity," said de la Rosa, who is a two-time ISA Medalist. "As the event continues, we are facing better surfers, so you just need to stay humble and keep focused on victory."
In the Women's Masters (over-35), both Repechage heats came down to the final moments in deciding who would advance, and whose event would be at an end. Andrea Diaz (CRI) was able to lock down a 6.5 to qualify to surf on Saturday. "It was tough out there, because it's kind of small and I'm not the best in small surf, but I got one perfect right and managed to hit it a couple of times really, really well, so I'm super stoked," said Diaz, standing with the country flag draped over her shoulder and an arm around her daughter. "Pura vida!" If Diaz can manage to advance through two more Repechage heats, she'll make the medal round. Last year, she finished one round short in fifth place.
Australia, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Puerto Rico Advance to Saturday's ISA Aloha Cup Final
The ISA Aloha Cup is a unique tag-team event that is run at every ISA World Championship, featuring eight invited nations. Each team includes five athletes (4 men, 1 woman) to compete in the semifinal/final format.
Australia, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Puerto Rico qualified through the hour-long semifinal heats to compete for the Gold Medal on Saturday. Each team of four surfers entered the lineup and caught two waves, which went toward one total score. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico progressed through the first semifinal, while Australia and Hawaii held on to advance to the final in the second semifinal. The Final will be the last heat of the day tomorrow, July 21.
The event webcast will be live beginning at 7:40am local time (6:40am PST; 9:40am EST; 2:40pm in Paris; and 11:40pm in Sydney) with The Morning Show at www.isawmsc.com/live.
Men's Masters Repechage Round 5 Results
Heat 1: Hiroki Watanabe (JPN), 11.70; Ronald Reyes (VEN), 11.17; Jojo de Olivenca (BRA), 9.70
Heat 2: Martin Passeri (ARG), 10.60; Shea Lopez (USA), 9.80; Heriberto Ramirez (MEX), 4.30
Men's Kahunas Repechage Round 4 Results
Heat 1: Cesar Aspillaga (PER), 12.00; Craig Schieber (CRI), 9.10; Eric Graciet (FRA), 6.30; Yoshihiro Nakamura (JPN), 5.26
Heat 2: Magoo de la Rosa (PER), 13.03; John Schmidenberg (AUS), 9.03; Masahisa Sakamoto (JPN), 8.96; Alfredo Flores (VEN), 6.87
Men's Grand Masters Repechage Round 5 Results
Heat 1: Sergio Noronha (BRA), 14.00; German Aguirre (PER), 8.66; David Hammond (AUS), 4.30
Heat 2: Juan Ashton (PUR), 14.34; Mark Cameron (AUS), 9.20; Yasunori Isobe (JPN), 8.20
Men's Grand Kahunas Repechage Round 4 Results
Heat 1: Gilles Asenjo (FRA), 6.67; Aurelio Prieto (ECU), 4.76; Glen Pang (HAW), 2.40
Heat 2: Javier Huarcaya (PER), 8.17; Javier Gorbea (PUR), 5.40; Kenneth Myers (PAN), 4.83
Women's Masters Repechage Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Akiko Kiyonaga (JPN), 9.60; Sonia García (PAN), 7.56; Jennifer Vara (VEN), 3.37
Heat 2: Andrea Díaz (CRI), 8.93; RocÍo Larrañaga (PER), 5.94; Rebecca Taylor (PUR), 4.57
ISA Aloha Cup Semifinals Results
Heat 1: Costa Rica, 39.84; Puerto Rico, 38.53; Argentina, 34.58; Panama, 29.00
Heat 2: Hawaii, 57.49; Australia, 55.75; Peru, 41.22; Venezuela, 26.73
Day 7 Heat Schedule
– Qualifying Round 4 of Men's Masters (Heat 1-2)
– Qualifying Round 3 of Women's Masters (Heat 1)
– Qualifying Round 4 of Men's Grand Kahunas (Heat 1)
– Qualifying Round 4 of Men's Grand Masters (Heat 1-2)
– Repechage Round 6 of Men's Masters (Heat 1-2)
– Repechage Round 3 of Women's Masters (Heat 1)
– Repechage Round 5 of Men's Grand Kahunas (Heat 1)
– Repechage Round 6 of Men's Grand Masters (Heat 1-2)
– Repechage Round 5 of Men's Kahunas (Heat 1)
– Repechage Round 7 of Men's Masters (Heat 1)
– Repechage Round 7 of Men's Grand Masters (Heat 1)
– Final of ISA Aloha Cup
The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is made possible with the backing of the following sponsors: Nicaragua Tourism Institute, Gray Line, AmericanAirlines, Canal 13, Amnet, Hacienda Iguana, Taca, VOS TV, Municipalidad de Tola, Flor de Caña, INISER; the following cosponsors: Movistar, Dollar, Alamo, Comité Olimpico Nicaragüense, Hilton, Nuevo Diario, Guacalito, Condor, Servipro, Aqua Spa, CDNN canal 23, Nicasurfing; and the following supporters: Surfari Charters, Corona, Paso Pacifico, Renisa, Parmalat, Credomatic, Cruz Roja, Pantaleon, Canatur. The media partners are Pasión Xtrema, SurfersVillage and Surfos. The Official Forecaster for the event is Surfline.
About the International Surfing Association
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running the Open Division World Championship since 1964, the World Junior Surfing Championship since 1980, the World Masters Surfing Championship since 2007, the World Bodyboard Championship since 2011, and the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival in China and the World Standup Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship beginning in 2012. The ISA also sanctions the World Kneeboard Titles and the World Tandem Surfing Championship.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 71 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro and re-elected seven times since. The ISA´s four Vice-Presidents are Alan Atkins (AUS), Karín Sierralta (PER), Debbie Beacham (USA) and Layne Beachley (AUS).
More on www.isasurf.org
About Gray Line Tours Nicaragua
Gray Line Tours is a leading tour operator in Nicaragua, and is affiliated with Gray Line Worldwide, which provides tourism services around the world. The company offers complete services in accommodation, transportation, tours, as well as the organization of congress and incentive travels (DMC). It offers quality and professional services, as well as personalized attention to its clients 24 hours a day.
Gray Line offers competitive rates and a wide range of products from nature and cultural packages to surfing and adventure programs. International surfing competitions in Nicaragua have been possible since 2010 thanks to Gray Line Nicaragua efforts.