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.”

Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship: yes, always pumping

It was an intense fourth day of competition at the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship with only repercharge rounds taking place today, again in pretty big waves that reached the 8 to 10 foot faces mark.

There were 99 surfers at the beginning of the day, 70 remains now out of the 107 that initiated last Sunday. South Africa, Australia, Peru and Brazil are leading the ratings, with all their surfers still in contention for the title.

A total of 16 heats of the Masters, Grand Masters and Kahunas divisions took place today. With three days to go, the action is lightning up in Santa Catalina with the best Masters surfers giving everything they can to stay in the contest.

The repercharge, badly known by some people as the “Losers round”, today saw the best performance of the entire event in the first round of the Grand Masters division. Costa Rican Craig Scheiber was the man of the day, surfing radically enough to score a 17.17 (9.17 + 8.00). He then competed again and made it through in second place, behind former Grand Masters World Champion, Magoo de la Rosa.

But Scheiber didn't stopped there. Just to leave his intentions clear, he also competed in the Kahunas division, where he also posted highest combined tally of the round, 15.50 (8.17 + 7.33).

Surfing impressively well Héctor González (PUR), Michel Larronde (FRA) and Ronald Raygada (PER) also won their heats in the Kahunas. As for the Grand Masters, Magoo de la Rosa (PER), Horacio Ipucha (ARG), Andre Malherbe (RSA) and Sebastián Galindo (ARG) also placed first scoring high.

In the Masters division, former ASP World Tour Top 3, Victor Ribas finally found his rhythm and was the best surfer of his age group, scoring 16.10 (8.67 + 7.43). Gustavo Betancourt (PUR), who is competing for the third time in the event, was another standout, scoring 14.93 (8.50 + 6.43).

“I felt better today. The other day I was really frustrated about losing, because I know I can come to this event, make it to the final and win it,” said Betancourt. “I could have won the previous editions of the Masters but this is how this event works. I know that my surfing is the best here in this contest but I am more of a free surfer than a competitor, if I can put everything together things are going to be good.”

Other Master standouts were Peruvians Luigi de Marzo and Raúl Villa.

As for the local team, Kenny Myers, one of the legendaries Santa Catalina´s pioneers, is, along with Sonia Garcia, the only Panamanians left. Myers, who is competing in the Kahunas and Grand Kahunas divisions had a good heat today. He placed second and made it through to the Round 3 of the Kahunas repercharge. He said: “I got two long waves and thank God it was enough to pass the heat. The judges want the surfers to do maneuvers in the most critical places of the wave, but in these conditions is hard to that. Our team is doing OK, we’re going strong until the end.”

Still Filthy: a must see

The California Surf Festival celebrates awareness and support for surf history preservation through the California Surf Museum, between the 19th and 22nd November.

It is an international event destination bringing people from all over the world to Oceanside, California, to experience surf culture through films, music, art, photography and interaction with those who embody the culture as well as highlight the surf community of California.

The California Surf Film Festival, produced as a benefit by the California Surf Museum (CSM) in Oceanside, will include exciting and groundbreaking new surf films with many of the filmmakers in attendance.

The California Surf Museum will be honoring long-time local surfer and surfboard shaper Gary Linden at the Second Annual California Surf Festival with presentation of its first "Silver Surfer Award."

On Sunday afternoon at the Sunshine Brooks Theater in Oceanside, a film on Gary's life, "Shaping A Life" by Denise Galvo, will be screened, along with "El Día Despues" showing Gary charging on big waves in Chile.