Heather Clark: she came from far away

The waves improved for the second day of the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, reaching 12 feet, with light offshore wind and sunny skies. The first round of the Kahunas (over 45), Grand Kahunas (over 50), Women Masters (over 35) and the second round of the Masters (over 35) divisions were held today.

Team South Africa, back-to-back Gold Medal winner of the previous two editions of this World Championship event, are showing why they came to Panama as the favorites to win the title. Of the 21 nations competing, South Africa is the only one that has all eight National Team surfers in the winners round.

The country’s supremacy today was stunning. All six South Africans who competed today won their heats. They also scored the highest combined and single wave of the day and the entire contest, with stellar performances from David Malherbe (15.43 out of a possible 20.00) and former Kahunas and Grand Kahunas World Champion, Chris Knutsen (9.5 out of a possible 10.00), respectively.

Malherbe, who was a copper medalist in the ISA World Masters in Puerto Rico 2007, said, “I am happy about my performance and I am not feeling the pressure. I would like to do well in this event.I am looking forward to tomorrow, as it is going to be a great day.”

His fellow countrymen, Knutsen was happy after winning his heat. “I have been fortunate to go to the last two ISA World Masters and it just seems to get better. The ISA does a fantastic job, It is a huge mission to pull off a contest like this and there is a great team of people doing a fantastic job.”

South Africans also had Heather Clark and Wayne Monk posting the highest combined and single wave scores in the Women Masters and Masters divisions, respectively.

The only division that wasn't entirely dominated by South Africa was Grand Kahunas, where Puerto Rican Javier Gorbea posted a combined score of 14.17. “The surf conditions are excellent and the event is great. I feel really good about my win. A barrel on the last wave gave me the first place,” said Gorbea. “We’re having so much fun here; the place is beautiful and I just love Panama.”

Another Puerto Rican, two time Masters World Champion, Juan Ashton, made it through to the third round of the Masters division, getting a little bit closer to extend his record.

“I felt really good because I showed that I could be at the top of my class,” said Ashton. “I was not doing everything the way I wanted but I stopped and with a little bit of patience waited for a good one and got an 8.5! It is important for me to show myself that I can get out of tough situations and score high.”

The event will restart tomorrow, Tuesday the 31st at 6:30 am. The following heats will take place:

Grand Masters Main Event R2
Kahunas Main Event R2
Women Masters Main Event R2
Women Masters Reperchage R1
Grand Kahuna Reperchage R1
Grand Kahuna Qualify R2
Masters Reperchage R1
Kahunas Reperchage R1

Surf music is a subgenre of popular music created in Southern California between the late 1950s and the mid-1960s, with deep roots in the emerging surf culture.

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