Victor Ribas: surfing in the upper floor

Australia, Brazil and South Africa are tied in the first place of the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship’s rankings. All their surfers are still alive in the competition that will crown the World Masters Champion this Saturday.

The fifth day of the event took place today in 5 to 7 foot faces. All the divisions went to the water both in the repercharge and winners bracket rounds. Out of the 107 surfers from 21 countries that started the event, 52 from 14 countries remain in the contest.

The finals of the winners bracket in the Masters, Grand Masters and Kahunas divisions were defined today. With this and the Grand Kahunas and Women Masters heats, there are 20 surfers that never lost a heat and are one-step away form the medals. Australia and South Africa has four athletes in this stage, Puerto Rico, Peru and Brazil have three and Panama, France and Tahiti have one.

Carlos Santos (BRA), Andrew Banks (RSA), Juan Ashton (PUR) and Dean Hall (AUS) had great performances today in their Masters division rounds and will be fighting tomorrow for a spot in the big final.

Santos from Brazil won his heat, scoring 15.17 (8.67 + 6.50). He said, “This is great! I was out of the water for six months, then I came here and now I already made it through to the fourth round. Some minutes ago I was thinking I lost the heat and now they are telling me I won, I am really happy about this”.

In the Grand Masters division, Glen Pringle (AUS), Juan Ashton (PUR), Ricardo Villanueva (PUR) and Chris Brooks (AUS) are the only four that never lost and are one step away of the big final.

Ashton, two times Masters World Champion is competing in two divisions and has not lost one single heat. If he has a good day tomorrow, he will be repeating Robbie Page feat in the 2008 edition of the event, by being in the final in two divisions of the same event. “I am confident, it is a matter of getting those two waves that makes you win rounds. I believe in my surfing and in my team. We can win,” said Ashton.

As for the Kahunas, David Malherbe (RSA), Sergio Penna (BRA), Martín Jerí (PER) and Rod Baldwin (AUS) were the ones that made it to the winners bracket final in their division. Jerí scored 14.00 (6.17 + 7.83), he said: “I’m passing my heats in first place against first class competitors from Australia and South Africa, they are really good surfers and with the finals approaching, the pressure increase because you really want to win a medal”.

The repercharge heats were a whole different story from all the winners bracket qualifiers. The nerve wracking situations of the “win or say goodbye” rounds were seen today at Santa Catalina again. Brazilian Victor Ribas, used this pressure to score the highest combination of the day, 16.16 (9.33 + 6.83). The same happened with South African Andre Malherbe who surfed well enough to get the highest single wave score of the day and the tournament so far (9.50).

Also, the Grand Masters repercharge saw yesterday’s surfer of the day, Costa Rican Craig ScheIber, being eliminated by the Argentinean couple of Horacio Ipucha and Sebastián Galindo who played some tactics to have the two-team members advancing. “We started creating the strategy once we knew we were competing together,” said Ipucha. “We worked together with one surfing more open than the other, it ended up working well and we are really happy to still be alive in the event.”


SOURCE: ISA World Masters