‘State of Emergency’ delays start of World Masters Surfing

Torrential rains over the past week caused El Salvador’s president to declare ‘a state of emergency’ and delay the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships.

The event will now begin tomorrow. Today 124 competitors plus management teams and supporters from 21 countries will gather at the event site in La Libertad to do a beach cleanup and assist locals, many of whom have lost their homes.

The South African team settled into their accommodation in La Libertad late last week. Despite the strong onshore winds and incessant rain that has turned the ocean chocolate brown, the South African team spirit is high and team members have been the first in water every morning getting practice in the long right-breaking waves. La Libertad is where the country’s most famous surf break of Punta Roca is situated.

When the event gets underway at 8 am  tomorrow (4pm South Africa time) with the Masters +35 division, SA’s Gary van Wieringen (Warner Beach) will be in the first heat against surfers from France,Uruguay and Hawaii.

Graeme Field (Kommetjie) in his first Masters champs will be in Heat 8 where takes on former World Tour campaigner Ross Williams (HAW) plus surfers fromArgentinaandEl Salvador, the host nation.

This will be followed by eight heats in the Kahunas (O/45) division where David Malherbe (CoffeeBay), the Bronze medallist last year, is in Heat 1 with Colin Buitendag (George), another ISA Masters World champs rookie, contesting Heat 8.

The ceremonial Parade of Nations, where all the participants march through the streets of the host town in their team colours and which is usually held on the day preceding the start of the competition, will be staged at 4pm local time on Tuesday.

South Africa’s Chris Knutsen (Durban) and Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) will defend their respective Grand Kahunas (O/50) and Women’s Masters (O/35) titles. Both SA surfers have won their respective titles at the past two championships with Knutsen also having won the Kahunas title inPuerto Rico.

Others in the 2011 SA team include Andre Malherbe, like his brother David a Bronze medallist last year, and fellow East Londoner Kevin O’Brien in the Grand Masters (O/40) division. The team is coached by the legendary Graham Hynes (Cape St Francis) and managed by 1978 ISA World Champion Ant Brodowicz (Margate).

The 2011 El Salvador ISA World Masters Surfing Championships is the fourth edition of the event which started in Puerto Rico in 2007. The event was not held in 2008 and returned in 2009 in Peru before Panama hosted the event last year. This year it features the largest entry to date with teams from the US and Hawaii entering for the first time.

Former multiple World surfing champions Tom Curren (USA) and Layne Beachley (Australia) will be making their debuts in the event along with renowned former World Tour campaigners such as Fabio Gouveia and Jojo de Olivenca (both Brazil), Toby Martin (AUS) and Jim Hogan (USA).

The countries taking part include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Hawaii, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, US and Venezuela.

See first and related post:

https://stfrancischronicle.com/2011/10/14/sa-team-ready-to-take-on-the-world-at-world-masters-surfing-event/

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