SA place third at ISA Surfing Masters
26 October 2011
The South African Masters surfing team finished third in the team competition at the 2011 El Salvador ISA World Masters Surfing Championships, and bagged five individual medals, one in each of the age categories contested.
The world's premier international surfing event for surfers aged 35 and over, the ISA World Masters took place in Punta Roca, La Libertad, El Salvador from 16 to 23 October.
Along with a bronze medal in the team standings, Heather Clark and Chris Knutsen clinched silver in the Women's Masters and Grand Kahunas divisions respectively, while Gary van Wieringen and David Malherbe secured bronze in the Men's Masters and Kahunas respectively, and Andre Malherbe took the copper in the Grand Masters.
The USA earned the team gold medal and Eduardo Arena ISA World Team Trophy in their first appearance at the event. Brazil placed second, followed by South Africa, Puerto Rico, 2010 champions Australia, and Hawaii.
Conditions were testing with a predicted increase in swell only occasionally producing head-high waves, which made wave selection critical in the crumbling half-metre, mostly knee to chest high waves at the famous Punta Roca point.
Heather Clark struggled to match the performance of Australia's Layne Beachley in the conditions and the seven-time ASP women's world champion went on to secure her first ISA women's world crown with Clark, the two-time and defending ISA champion, determinedly holding onto second place just ahead of Brazil's Andrea Lopez Hawaii's Melissa Proud.
Chris Knutsen had no trouble in qualifying for the grand final in the over-55 division and had a fast start in the final. However, it was Craig Schieber from Puerto Rico, in his first year in the Grand Kahunas, who earned the gold medal with a ride of 6.33 out of 10 on the only head-high wave that came through during the 25-minute heat.
Gary van Wieringen advanced from round one to the final of the Men's Masters undefeated, but his heat strategy of waiting for the best waves didn't pay off in the final. He rode only two waves while gold medallist Mark Richardson of Australia rode six, including an 8.17 and a 7.17 that gave him an overwhelming victory.Former Pipeline Masters champion Carlos Cabrera from Puerto Rico just pipped Van Wieringen for the silver medal.
Expectations were high that David Malherbe and his younger brother Andre would better their respective Kahunas' and Grand Masters' bronze medals from last year.
David came through a difficult repecharge heat to make the grand final and went on the build an early lead. The legendary Tom Curren and fellow former World Tour stalwart Jim Hogan, both of the USA, managed to find longer running waves and grabbed the top two spots with "Herbie" remaining in contention until the final minutes, but having to settle for another bronze ahead of Brazilian David Husadel.
Andre staged a magnificent campaign, coming through five consecutive sudden death repecharge rounds to qualify for the grand final. However, he managed to post only a pair of four-point rides and brought home a copper medal after finishing fourth behind four-time gold medallist Juan Ashton of Puerto Rico and the Brazilian pair of Jojo de Olivenca and Fabio Gouveia.
9th – Colin Buitendag (RSA)Grand Masters
8th – Kevin O’Brien (RSA)Masters
15th – Graeme Field (RSA)
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material