SA Team ready to take on the world at Masters Surfing event

The South African Masters surfing team will defend three World titles at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships which starts in San Salvador tomorrow.

Graham Hynes (Hynsie) right, of St Francis Bay and the 1978 ISA World Champion ,Ant Brodowicz of Margate, left South Africa on Wednesday this week to attend the 2011 ISA World Masters in El Salvador, South America. Photo: Bev Mortimer

The team, with legendary coach Graham Hynes of St Francis Bay and the Manager, Ant Brodowicz of Margate who was the 1978 ISA World Champion,  left South Africa on Wednesday this week.

They will have time to settle in before the Parade of Nations and Sands of the World ceremonies tomorrow in this South American country that is hosting a major surfing event for the first time. The event has attracted its biggest entry since its inaugural edition in Puerto Rico in 2007 and will feature more than 140 surfers from more than 25 countries.

All competitors are 35-and-older. They will compete in divisions ranging from Masters (Over 35) to Grand Masters (Over 40), Kahunas (Over 45), Grand Kahunas (Over 50) and Women’s Masters (Over 35).

Team SA holds the proud tradition of having won the team gold medal in Puerto Rico (2007) and Peru (2008) and ending second to Australia in Panama in 2010. Last year South Africa captured gold in the Over 50 division when Chris Knutsen (Durban) successfully defended his Grand Kahunas title.

Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) will be out to win her third Women’s Masters title in a row while finalists Andre and David Malherbe (East London) will be keen to return with gold.. The Malherbe brothers have been in the SA Masters Team every year since 2007.

Other members of the 2011 team are former SSA Pro Surf Tour Champion Gary Van Wieringen (Warner Beach) who will compete alongside new cap Graeme Field (Kommetjie) in the Over 35 Division, new cap Kevin O’ Brien (East London) who is in the Over 40 division and the third new cap is Colin Buitendag (George) who will compete in the Over 45 group.

Tomorrow the international teams will march through the streets of Punta Rocha in the Parade of Nations before attending the Sands of the World and Opening ceremonies. The first heats in the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships are scheduled to start at Punta Rocha on Sunday 16 October..

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The event uses a double-elimination format that sees the top two in each four-person heat progress to the next round of the ‘qualifiers’ stream. Those finishing outside the top two drop into the cut-throat ‘repecharge’ rounds – where anything other than a top two placing in a subsequent heat results in elimination from the event.

At stake are individual gold, silver, bronze and copper medals for the top four finishers in each division. There is the same medal spread for the top four nations whose team totals are made up of the accumulated points of all its members.

The SA Team’s preparations and attendance at the 2011 ISA World Masters Championships is made possible thanks to a R150 000 grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and a grant from Sport and Recreation SA.

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