Mark Occhilupo: still, the destroyer

Mark Occhilupo, Tom Curren, Barton Lynch, Flavio Padaratz, Derek Ho, Jake Patterson, Fabio Gouveia, Nathan Webster, Luke Egan and Peterson Rosa have already hit the waters of Arpoador Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the opening day of the SuperSurf ASP World Masters Championships.

It was great to see the icons of surfing showing they are just warming up. Their performance was absolutely amazing, even in the small two-foot waves on offer. The format also helps: everybody surfs at least five rounds. In the end, the best qualify for the last man-on-man rounds.

Guilherme Herdy, from Brazil, posted the day’s highest heat total of 14.10 out of 20 and crucial points to begin his campaign.

"It’s so nice to be with everybody in the water again and see old friends, and see the old guys ripping," Herdy said. "It’s fun to get some waves. It’s very small today, but still plenty of good work. The most important thing is the feeling everybody has in the water. They respect each other. You try to do the best on the wave, but keep the good feeling at the same time".

Mark Occhilupo, the Australian surf legend, opened his contest with a Round 1 victory over Brazilians Fabio Silva, Fabio Gouveia and Hawaiian Marty Thomas, from Hawaii. The powerful goofy-footer has finaled at the Brazilian lefthander of Arpoador once before and returned in dangerous form on the event’s opening day.

"It feels great being back in Brazil," Occhilupo said. "Obviously, I won my World Title here in Rio, so it’s great to be back. I have made a final out here before, so I love the set up in Aproador, it’s a good left, and I feel great about the format and everything. It’s good to be back."

Flavio Padaratz was elated to be back in the water with some friendly rivalry. "It was really emotional to get down to the beach early in the morning and see all my friends," Padaratz said. “These guys that made the background of my life for so long. I was out there up against my world champion (Barton Lynch). It might not mean a lot for the young kids today, but it means a lot to me".

Tom Curren, from the USA, former three-time ASP World Champion, admitted that the small conditions at Arpoador were tricky to navigate on his backhand, but is excited about a potential rise in swell later in the week.

"The waves are a bit small today, but it should pick up a little later in the week," Curren said. "It’s really fun to be here, it’s a beautiful day. Bit of an advantage for the goofy footers, still fun to get the first heat out of the way."

SUPERSURF ASP WORLD MASTERS ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Flavio Padaratz (BRA) 12.00, Richard Lovett (AUS) 10.65, Rob Bain (AUS) 8.40, Barton Lynch (AUS) 8.25
Heat 2: Guilherme Herde (BRA) 14.10, Richie Collins (USA) 11.75, Brad Gerlach (USA) 10.10, Gary Elkerton (AUS) 8.05
Heat 3: Victor Ribas (BRA) 13.25, Kaipo Jaquias (HAW) 11.00, Jojo Olivenca (BRA) 10.20, Derek Ho (HAW) 9.00
Heat 4: Shea Lopez (USA) 13.05, Renan Rocha (BRA) 10.75, Tom Curren (USA) 9.65, Jake Patterson (AUS) 9.35
Heat 5: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.65, Fabio Silva (BRA) 13.30, Fabio Gouveia (BRA) 12.55, Marty Thomas (HAW) 4.55
Heat 6: Nathan Webster (AUS) 13.60, Luke Egan (AUS) 12.50, Peterson Rosa (BRA) 11.95, Ricardo Toledo (BRA) 10.60