2001 Event Begins With Great Clashes
Bundoran, Ireland (Friday, Aug 31st) The 2001 Quiksilver Masters got underway today with great clashes between the legends of surfing. TheMasters (aged 35-43) division kicked off proceedings with their opening round, followed by the first four heats of the Grand Masters (44+) this afternoon.
‘The Peak’ remained in the 3-4 foot (1.3m) range all day, though strong winds did create testing conditions. Contest director Rod Brooks (Aus)summed it up aptly by saying, “It’s just a meat and potatoes day. There’s no caviar out there (laughs).”
A round-robin system is in effect for each division during the Quiksilver Masters, whereby all surfers compete in four heats of four, with their bestthree results going toward a cumulative total. The top eight placers then progress into the quarterfinals. From there, heats are man-on-man until the winners are decided.
Two-time (1984 & ’85) world champion and Masters’ #1 seed Tom Carroll (Aus) began his campaign on track, defeating Hans Hedemann (Haw), wildcard Carwyn Williams (Wales), and local Irishman Henry Moore to collect 10-points for his cumulative score.
Carroll, 39, actually trailed Hedemann right up until the end, but on his final wave the Australian posted a 7.75 with some trademark gouging cutbacksfor the win. Still recovering from knee surgery, he showed no signs of holding back on his unique four-fined surfboard, and was even claiming someIrish heritage afterward.
“I’ve never surfed in Ireland before,” began Carroll. “I’ve got a lot of history here (though). I’ve got two great grandmothers of Irish decent onegreat grandfather from Ireland, so….
“It’s just a little experiment, trying something out with curve fins and four fins,” he added, of his unusual fin setup. “Guys are trying to get asmuch as they can out of their equipment. With bodies failing them (laughs), it’s sort of like… people feel very individual about themselves. They have that sense of individuality, so they ride their own style of boards. Especially in this event, we have Terry Fitzgerald (Aus) who shapes his own boards. Mark Richards (Aus), he shapes his own boards and still rides a very similar board to what he rode when he was the world champion.”
Moore, who was granted a spot in the Masters after 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) was forced to withdraw due to a back injury, was quick toexpress his appreciation for the opportunity, despite his loss today.
“I was shocked at first,” he admitted, in regard to getting a start. “It’s an honor. It really is a great privilege to compete with these guys – morewith them, than against them. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”
Former world #3 (1989 & ’93) Dave Macaulay (Aus) went on to post the highest single wave score of 8.75, as well as the best overall heat total of 22.9 this morning. Against defending Masters champion Gary Elkerton (Aus), 1988 world champ Barton Lynch (Aus) and two-time consecutive (1978 & ’79) Pipeline Masters (Haw) winner Larry Blair (Aus), the 37 year old picked off superior waves and belted them with an abundance of speed.
“I’m really, really happy,” said Macaulay afterward. “I wanted to get a good start here ’cause last year I finished ninth (after the opening rounds) and missed the cut for the final rounds. I was a bit disappointed. But I’ve feltlike I’ve been surfing well the last few days, so I knew if I got the waves I could do all right.”
Also winning their opening heats in the Masters’ division today were three-time (1985, ’86 & ’90) world champ Tom Curren (USA) and 1989 worldchampion Martin Potter (UK). Both put on stellar performances, with Currendefeating Australians Glen Winton, wildcard Rob Page, and replacement GlenRawlings.
Potter, 35, who only missed out on last year’s Masters age cut-off by a frustrating couple of months, showed his determination against 1993 worldchamp Derek Ho (Haw), Mike Parsons (USA), and Mitch Thorson (Aus). Riding a similar board to what he began his illustrious career on 20 years ago, hewas as explosive as ever on the right-handers he favored.
“I’m riding a little (6’0″) Phil Grace (shaped) twin-fin,” explained Potter. “It was my first heat in about five years, so it wasn’t too bad (laughs).Like getting back on the horse.
“It’s unbelievable,” he continued, on being in the 2001 event. “Last year I had to sit back and watch ’cause I just missed out. I saw the standard ofsurfing that was going on (in France), so I knew I had to pick my game up. Feels really good to be part of something like this.”
Four-time consecutive (1979-’82) world champion Mark Richards (Aus) led the way in the Grand Masters division this afternoon. Up against 1998 Grand Masters winner Buzzy Kerbox (Haw), Johnathon Paarman (SAfr) and Paul Neilson (Aus), ‘MR’ put his dislike of surfing lefthanders out of mind to equal the day’s best single wave score of 8.75, and collect the highest total of 22.0 points.
“I’m already doing better than last year,” said Richards. “I think I got a third in my first heat last year. I’m not really confident, as I said theother day, since I don’t really like going left. If there were more rights I’d be really confident. It’s nice to get one heat out of the way and getrid of some of the nerves and the wobbles, though. I’m a bit surprised by the 8.75 (laughs), but stoked, and will take it.”
Defending Grand Masters champion Michael Ho (Haw) dominated his match against 1976 world champ Peter Townend (Aus), Wayne Lynch (Aus), and Brazil’s first invitee to the Masters tournament, Daniel Friedmann. The 44-year-old left all three opponents needing a combination of scores to catch his lead, an ominous sign for this years’ crown.
“I was stressing,” said Ho, referring to the lead up. “So I’m pretty happy now. I’ve got a few more heats, but I’m going to try to do something againthis year.”
Bobby Owens (Haw) and Simon Anderson (Aus) took out the remaining two Grand Masters heats to collect 10-points for their cumulative totals.
Owens, 45, surfed a commanding heat against 1978 world champion and 1999 Grand Masters winner Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew (Aus), wildcard GrantRobinson (Eire) and 1965 Duke Kahanamoku champion Jeff Hakman (Haw). ‘Rabbit’ scored an 8.0 near the end to close the gap, but the owner of thefluorescent orange-sprayed surfboard proved too strong.
Anderson, 47, who is credited with inventing and then popularizing the revolutionary three-fined board design that is still the norm today, some 20years down the line, defeated 1997 Masters champ Terry Richardson (Aus), Quiksilver International’s CEO Bruce Raymond (Aus), and the ‘Sultan ofSpeed’ himself, Terry Fitzgerald (Aus).
“I didn’t know until recently that there was surf here,” admitted Anderson afterward. “The contest venue is certainly spectacular, (with) lots of Pubs. I haven’t been to them all yet, but that’s one of my goals during the week.”
A decision will be made tomorrow morning at 7:30am for the day’s schedule, with the MSF Expression Session, consisting of 12 IPS/ASP WCT and Mastersworld champions, expected to take place at 1pm, conditions pending.