For the first time in five years, the ASP World Masters Championships will assemble some of the most legendary names in professional surfing to Rio de Janeiro’s Barra de Tijuca from June 30 through July 6, 2008 to crown the 2008 ASP World Masters and ASP World Grand Masters Champions.

The Rio Masters will feature two divisions in the ASP Masters (surfers aged over 35) and the ASP Grand Masters (surfers aged over 47).  The top 14 in each division are invited directly off of ASP career ratings (points being accrued by winning ASP World Titles, Top 5 World rankings, Top 10 World rankings and time spent on the ASP World Tour).

“To look at this list of names, I find it just a staggering congregation of talent,” Brodie Carr, ASP CEO, said.  “This field is well representative of the pioneers of our sport, and those who have seen these living legends surf recently will attest that they haven’t lost a step at all.  They’re all still ripping and so hungry to get back in the competition singlet.  It’s very exciting to have the ASP World Masters Championships back on the schedule in 2008 and I feel like this season’s event will be one of the year’s highlights.”

Confirmed athletes to this season’s Rio Masters include former ASP World Champions Mark Occhilupo (AUS), Shaun Tomson (ZAF), Peter Townend (AUS), Rabbit Bartholomew (AUS), Tom Curren (USA), Damien Hardmen (AUS), Martin Potter (ZAF) and Derek Ho (HAW) as well as former ASP World Masters Champions Gary Elkerton (AUS), Michael Ho (HAW), Cheyne Horan (AUS) and Terry Richardson (AUS).  Other confirmed athletes include Brad Gerlach (USA), Rob Bain (AUS), Dave Macaulay (AUS), Hans Hedemann (HAW), Buzzy Kerbox (HAW), Simon Anderson (AUS) and Ian Cairns (AUS).

Tomson, who claimed the ASP World Title in 1977, is eager to return to the competitive scene and looks forward to rejoining his fellow surfers in the idyllic beachbreaks of Barra de Tijuca in Brazil. “Wonderful to have the Masters back on again,” Tomson said.  “I’ll be there with bells on and definitely looking forward to seeing the guys again and having a great event in Rio.”

The 2008 Rio Masters will be the first of a three-year license for Brazil, and this year’s event will stand alone in terms of Masters events, crowning both the ASP World Masters Champion and ASP World Grand Masters Champion. 

“It’s with a great enthusiasm that ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) together with Pepper Comunicação Integrada has the pleasure to announce the ASP World Masters Championship 2008,” Pepper’s Paulo Costa Jr. said. “After five-year absence, the event returns to the world competition scene through the partnership between the greatest surfing entity on the planet and one of the most important agencies of communication and marketing in Brazil.”

“This effective teamwork certainly promises to be a success, bringing the icons of surf, such as Tom Curren, Shaun Tomson, Rabbit Bartholomew, Martin Potter, Gary Elkerton, Damien Hardman, Brad Gerlach, Peter Townend, Cheyne Horan, among others, back in a real meeting of champions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” Costa Jr. continued. “In addition to having the surfers who have influenced generations over the years, the event will proudly gather music, art, life style and environmental actions together into an unforgettable surf festival between June 30 and July 6.”

The 2008 ASP World Masters Championships begins its waiting period on June 30, 2008.

Source: ASP World Tour