October 18, 2011

The Historic El Salvador ISA World Masters Surfing Championship Officially Opens in Punta Roca

Sean Mattison (USA) put on a great display of power surfing to win his Masters heat and make it through to the next round. Photo: ISA/Quincho

Sean Mattison (USA) put on a great display of power surfing to win his Masters heat and make it through to the next round. Photo: ISA/Quincho

The World’s Largest Masters Surfing Event Gets Underway in Improved Conditions

The race for the Eduardo Arena World Team Trophy Commences in La Libertad

Watch the event live tomorrow on www.elsalvadorisawmsc.com

El Salvador ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
October 18, 2011
La Libertad, El Salvador

After eight straight days of torrential rain and stormy weather that caused a National State of Emergency in El Salvador, the sun finally came out for the Opening Ceremony and Day 1 of the historic El Salvador ISA World Masters Surfing Championship.

A record-breaking 124 surfers from 21 countries, together with their coaches, managers and fans, filled the beach at Punta Roca with the colors of their national flags. The Sands of the World Ceremony officially opened the competition.

At the traditional ceremony, representatives from every National Team brought sand from their country’s beaches up to the stage, where it was mixed together in a glass bowl. The perennial ritual signifies the union of nations, beliefs and races through surfing and the Olympic spirit this event embraces.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre was unable to attend the Opening Ceremony, as he remained in California recovering from a surfing injury. From home in a recorded message, Aguerre stated, “This is a historic event; we are absolutely sold out in all the divisions for the first time in the ISA history. This is one of the six ISA World Championship events that happen every year and this is very special because it brings together the surf loving people, guys and ladies over 35 years old, who still love to surf a great wave and still love to compete in friendship and in a good sportsmanship spirit.”

Referring to the situation in the host country, the ISA President said, “El Salvador has gone trough some difficult times as we arrived in a country with rain and storms, but I’m very positive and sure that with our support and the help of the locals from El Salvador, this will be a history-making ISA World Masters Surfing Championship.”

Other dignitaries present at the ceremony were the Mayor of La Libertad, Carlos Molina, the representative of the Minister of Tourism, Roberto Edmundo Viera, ISA Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta and Debbie Beacham, El Salvador Surfing Federation President, Saburo Okuzawa, and Gray Line AVI Tours’ Carlos Ortiz.

Immediately after Sierralta called the championship officially open, the event started at Punta Roca, known to surfers worldwide as the “Jeffreys Bay” of Central America, a reference to one of the surfing meccas in the world in South Africa.

The waves were much better than during the days before, glassy and barreling, reaching 5 feet on the sets. A total of 20 heats were held with the Masters, Kahunas and Women Masters competing today.

All of a sudden I was having too much fun out there, looking for some tube ridding. I would like to see Punta Roca in full form. I can’t wait to ride a long eight-second barrel and come straight to the beach with the crowd cheering,” said former ASP World Tour competitor Toby Martin (AUS) after winning his first Masters heat. Photo: ISA/Quincho

"All of a sudden I was having too much fun out there, looking for some tube ridding. I would like to see Punta Roca in full form. I can’t wait to ride a long eight-second barrel and come straight to the beach with the crowd cheering,” said former ASP World Tour competitor Toby Martin (AUS) after winning his first Masters heat. Photo: ISA/Quincho

The youngest of the group, Masters (+35) were the first to go to the water. Venezuelan Pro surfer Magnum Martínez was the division’s best surfer, scoring a combined total of 13.83 (7.5 + 6.33). “The waves are great; there is a lot of sand on the rocks, so the waves are running faster than normal and there are some good barrel sections,” said Martínez. “I got a couple of good ones to make it through. Here there are no easy heats; there are really good competitors from other countries. I’m not taking this lightly; I’m taking it like a Pro event. This is a competition and the mission is to win and have fun.”

The best single-wave score of the division was earned by former ASP World Tour standout, Toby Martin (AUS). The Aussie was awarded with an 8.17 from the judges after exploding in a series of top to bottom radical turns.

“It wasn’t a bad way to start the event today. All of a sudden I was having too much fun out there, looking for some tube ridding. I would like to see Punta Roca in full form; we just had glimpses at the moment and those little glimpses are really great, so I can’t wait to ride a long eight-second barrel and come straight to the beach with the crowd cheering.”

Other standouts in the Masters division were Davey Gonsalves (HAW), Gustavo Betancourt (PUR), Sean Mattisson (USA), Andrés Fernández (ECU), Jojó de Olivença (BRA) and Ross Williams (HAW).

Women Masters (+35) followed in the schedule and had seven-time ASP World Champion Layne Beachley delivering the best performance of the day, reaching 14.50 (7.17 + 7.33).

“The waves are fantastic today. It was a lot of fun out there and the girls are putting on a great show,” said Beachley. “Actually, this is some of the best surf I’ve had to compete in over the years. It should be great to see an increasing swell throughout the week, and to see the girls finish off in four or five feet Punta Roca would be amazing.”

In the Kahunas division, the Australian Dean Shaw was the great standout. He won his heat, leaving three-time ASP World Champion Tom Curren (USA) in second after scoring a combined total of 12.66. On his best wave, a 6.83, Shaw came out of a long barrel and finished with a good set of turns.

David Malherbe (RSA), Juan Carlos Angola (VEN), Jim Hogan (USA) and Ricardo Villanueva (PUR) were other standouts in the +45 division.

The event will continue tomorrow at 8am local time with the following heats:
-Qualify Round 1 Grand Masters
-Qualify Round 1 Grand Kahunas
-Qualify Round 2 Masters
-Qualify Round 2 Kahunas
-Qualify Round 2 Grand Masters

Follow the action live on www.elsalvadorisawmsc.com
Webcast schedule 

8am local time is 7am PDT and 10am EDT

The ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is sponsored by El Salvador Impresionante, Alcaldía del Puerto de La Libertad, Surfos, Alcatel, TACA), El Gráfico, Olas Permanentes Magazine, TIGO, Decameron, Cushe, Maya Realty, Yamaha, Alamo, La Femenina, CONJUVE, Amate Travel, Línea Ejecutiva, Surfline, Hospital de la Mujer, Arreconsa, Torogoz, Pepsi, Adrenaline, Gray Line El Salvador, CASATUR and POLITUR

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 Open Division World Championships since 1964, Junior World Championships since 1980, and Masters World Championships since 2007. The ISA also sanctions the World Kneeboard Titles and the Tandem Surfing World Title, and will hold the first World Bodyboard Championship in 2011, and the first World Standup Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 69 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in San Diego, 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 three Vice-Presidents are Alan Atkins (AUS), Karín Sierralta (PER) and Debbie Beacham (USA).