April 7, 2008 : – – Team South Africa continues its reign as the undisputed king of world masters surfing after trumping the world’s best 35-years and older surfers to win the overall teams crown at the 2008 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship in perfect point break waves at Punta Rocas in Peru today.
Led by individual gold medalists Heather Clark (Masters Women), Marc Wright (Kahunas) and Chris Knutsen (Grand Kahunas), South Africa blew away the competition to take their second consecutive Team World Championship. South Africa finished on top with 10,500 points, 1100 ahead of Australia in second, with Brazil (9041) finishing in third. The Peruvian team rounded out the top four with 8766-points.
The final day of competition offered solid 1-1.5 metre waves for the “Masters Olympics of Surfing”. ISA President Fernando Aguerre awarded the surfers their medals in the event’s closing ceremony. He was ecstatic about the success of this international event stating, “I would like to thank the Peruvian people and the Peruvian Surfing Federation for welcoming us with open arms.”
“This 160 visitors will be leaving the country with a Peruvian warmth tattooed in our hearts, we are new ambassadors for Peru. The provebial fountain of youth is closer than we might think: Its the waves of the world…We don’t stop surfing because we get old, we get old because we stop surfing…So don’t stop!”
Former world tour surfer Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) got the ball rolling for the South African team, backhand blasting her way to victory over Peru’s Rocio Larranaga, Australia’s Sandra English and Brazil’s Brigitte Mayer in the final of the Masters Women’s (Over 35) division.
Clark, the ‘Queen’ of South African surfing, was in a league of her own; netting a 15.83 combination to Larranaga’s 10.70. “I feel absolutely ecstatic,” said Clark. “In 2003 I was in contention to win a world title on the World Tour, so it’s always been my dream to win a world title. I’m over the moon.”
Chris Knutsen (Durban) was the next winner for South Africa, mixing his trademark rail carves with a radical forehand approach to defeat Peru’s Paco Del Castillo, Australia’s Frank Hayter and Puerto Rico’s Rene Gonzalez in the Grand Kahunas (Over 50) division. Knutsen (Durban) was crowned Kahunas World Champion in Puerto Rico last year but competed in the Grand Kahunas (Over 50) this year.
Durban’s Marc Wright completed the South Africa trifecta today, snatching a last minute victory over fellow countrymen Nick Pike to nab gold in the Kahunas (Over 45) division. Sitting in second place with a minute remaining in the 30-minute final, Wright snared a set wave before exploding a series of classy frontside maneuvers to post a heat-winning 8.33. Local Peruvian Jorge Posso finished third, leaving Australian Rod Baldwin in fourth place.
1988 Pipeline Masters champion Rob Page rekindled his competitive surfing career today, out pointing reigning Grand Masters (Over 40) champion and Peruvian surfing legend champion Magoo De La Rosa to capture gold. Page, who was riding a borrowed board in the final after breaking his own boards earlier in the week, emerged victorious from the water crying in celebration. “The win means everything to me,” said Page.
“It means 30 years of surfing and hard work for me. It was hard to beat Magoo (Magoo De La Rosa) who is my best Peruvian friend. So much emotion.” The Wollongong charger finishing on a two-wave combined total of a 15.26 to De La Rosa’s 13.00. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s Juan Ashton was today’s only Latin American title winner, netting back-to-back Masters (Over 35) titles.
Ashton, who was victorious at the 2007 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship in Puerto Rico last year, notched the day’s highest combined heat score, a scintillating 17.50 (out of a possible 20) to crush Brazil’s Ricardo Toledo and the Australian pairing of Rob Page and Jay Sharpe. The location of the 2009 ISA World MMasters Surfing Championship has not yet been chosen but locations in South Africa and Brazil are in the running.
The ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is a team competition. The nation who places highest in each division will win the gold medal in the team standings, earning the status of the best over 35 surfing country in the world. Individual standings will add points towards the team totals.
1º South Africa
5º Puerto Rico
Gold: Juan Ashton (PRC)
Silver: Ricardo Toledo (BRA)
Bronze: Rob Page (AUS)
Copper: Jay Sharpe (AUS)
Gold: Rob Page (AUS)
Silver: Magoo de la Rosa (PER)
Bronze: Jojó de Olivença (BRA)
Copper: Andre Malherbe (ZAF)
Gold: Marc Wright (ZAF)
Silver: Nick Pike (ZAF)
Bronze: Jorge Posso (PER)
Copper: Rod Baldwin (AUS)
Gold: Chris Knutsen (ZAF)
Silver: Paco del Castillo (PER)
Bronze: Frank Hayter (AUS)
Copper: René González (PRC)