Industry News 7/24/2012

EVENT: Nicaragua ISA World Masters Comes to a Close

Nicaragua ISA World Masters Comes to a Close, But the Impact of Surfing and the ISA in Nicaragua is Just Beginning
Record-Breaking ISA World Masters to be Followed by Another Fantastic Event in Ecuador in 2013

In the five years of the ISA World Masters, there have been four different winners. (Clockwise from top left) USA in 2011; Australia in 2010; South Africa in 2007 and 2008; and Hawaii, just two days ago. Photo: ISA/Watts/Demarsan/White/Parkin

Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, Nicaragua

As ISA President Fernando Aguerre likes to say, there’s a before and after to ISA events. This idea applies to both the host country and the organization that works “For a Better Surfing Future.” Empirical expansion of surfing isn’t the intention. Surfing, as it has proven over decades of existence, has the ability to bring people and countries and cultures together. It has transformative powers. Through the ISA, surfing brings dozens of nations and hundreds of athletes together multiple times a year to compete and connect and continue to spread the spirit of Aloha.

Nicaragua was the newest frontier. As the hosts of the 2012 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, the Central American country welcomed nearly 150 athletes from 26 nations to come and witness the natural beauty of its landscape and experience the world-class waves it has to offer. At Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, a place where the jungle met the sand and the Howler Monkeys offered early-morning wake-up calls, the visitors to Nicaragua had a first-hand opportunity to see and be a part of a surf culture on the rise.

“Nicaragua proved to be the ideal partner for a successful event. In this, their first surfing world championship, the organizers provided an impeccable event from all operational points of view, coupled with the warmth of its people,” said Aguerre, after the Closing Ceremony. “On top of that, we experienced some of the best waves in the ISA’s history, with 24-hour offshore winds during the duration of the event. This was an A-class event from all points of view.”

This was the fifth edition of the ISA World Masters, an event that showcases the talents of over-35-year-old surfers. Historically, the event has been blessed by epic waves everywhere it has gone: Rincon, Puerto Rico to Punta Rocas, Peru, a barreling reefbreak at Santa Catalina, Panama, to head-high pointbreak waves at Punta Roca, El Salvador. Though the conditions were good, it was a modest turnout for the inaugural event in Puerto Rico in 2007, with 60 competitors from 12 nations. The final day of competition saw overhead barrels, and with that, the aura of the event was established. The seeds were planted. It would grow.

The popularity of the Masters event is only increasing. Big names with sterling credentials still have a desire to travel and surf and reclaim some of that fire that made them some of the best surfers in the world. Last year in El Salvador, three-time ASP World Tour champion Tom Curren added another world championship to his resume, winning the Gold Medal in the Kahunas division; so too did seven-time Women’s ASP World Tour champ Layne Beachley, who won Gold in the Women’s Masters division. This year, former Pipeline Master Robbie Page (AUS) came to compete, along with Brazilians Armando Daltro and Jojo de Olivenca, who were ASP World Tour competitors for years. Hawaii’s Rochelle Ballard and Kaipo Jaquias were among the top surfers in the world in their prime, and so too was their teammate, Sunny Garcia. This year was the first ISA event for the 2000 ASP World Tour Champion and six-time Triple Crown winner – and his impressions surprised even him.

“At the Opening Ceremony, having all those people cheering for us as we walked through the streets [of Rivas during the Parade of Nations], and to be carrying the flag for Hawaii – it was an indescribable feeling,” Garcia said. “This event, it’s just been amazing; everything has run so smooth. I guess the ISA is just one of those things – you don’t understand how good it is until you’re here.”

Along with positive memories, good waves and a newfound love and appreciation for the ISA, Garcia is also leaving Nicaragua with his first world championship since 2000, having won the Gold Medal in the Grand Masters. He also finished runner-up in the Men’s Masters division to Venezuela’s Magnum Martinez (who won the first-ever ISA Gold for his country). Garcia’s performance, along with the Gold won by Ballard, the two medals won by Jaquias (Silver and Copper) and the Bronze won by Mike Latronic led Hawaii to its first ISA World Masters Team Gold Medal.

In 2012, surfing’s ability to reach an audience is greater than ever. Live webcasts are broadcast in hundreds of countries and are watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Viewers can interact with announcers, live scores are relayed immediately and the emotion of a big upset or joyous victory can be shared from thousands of miles away.

And these days, surfing and surfers have clout. Surfing’s reputation as a rich culture, a solid industry and vehicle for change is being recognized. So much so that days before the 2012 ISA World Masters began, ISA President Aguerre was invited to a historic meeting with Daniel Ortega, the President of Nicaragua. The pair discussed the history of surfing, its health and environmental benefits, and the impact it can have on a country.

“I’m totally convinced that sports are a key component to bringing diverse people together in a world that needs all of us coming together,” Mr. Ortega said. “I’m very happy to welcome ISA President Aguerre and the surfing brothers and sisters from 26 nations to enjoy Nicaragua, its people and its waves. I hope that this visit of Fernando is the first one of many more for years to come.”

Indeed, Aguerre and the ISA will be returning to Nicaragua next year. At the Closing Ceremony, Aguerre and the Minister of Tourism, Mario Salinas, signed the documents for the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship to come to the country.

The legacy and history of the ISA World Masters will continue and expand in 2013. Also at the Closing Ceremony, Minister Salinas poured the sands from Colorado Beach into a vase being held by a representative from Ecuador, the future hosts of the event. That sand will be poured into the Sands of the World container during the Opening Ceremony of next year’s ISA World Masters. The event will take place at the perfect right-hand pointbreak at Montañita.

In 2014, the ISA will celebrate 50 years of existence. The organization has come a long way and helped to grow and enrich the sport and share its importance around the world, with currently 71 member nations, but there is still so far to go and so much potential for greater and even more substantial change.

“Ecuador was the host of the 2002 ISA World Surfing Games and the 2009 ISA World Junior Championship in a great way,” Aguerre said. “The agreement just signed between the ISA and the national government of Ecuador assures the proper hosting of the event in Montañita. We are looking forward to another iconic ISA World Masters in the warm waters of Ecuador.”

Women’s Masters (Over-35) Final Results
Gold – Rochelle Ballard (HAW), 8.90
Silver – Sandra English (AUS), 8.17
Bronze – Sonia ‘Pucha’ Garcia (PAN), 5.00
Copper – Lucila Gil (ARG), 3.83

Men’s Grand Kahunas (Over-50) Final Results
Gold – Javier Huarcaya (PER), 14.67
Silver – Allen Sarlo (USA), 11.30
Bronze – Rod Baldwin (AUS), 10.10
Copper – Craig Schieber (CRI), 8.43

Men’s Grand Masters (Over-40) Final Results
Gold – Sunny Garcia (HAW), 17.66
Silver – Kaipo Jaquias (HAW), 17.33
Bronze – Juan Ashton (PUR), 11.06
Copper – Mark Cameron (AUS), 7.10

Men’s Kahunas (Over-45) Final Results
Gold – James Hogan (USA), 15.56
Silver – Ricky Schaffer (USA), 13.50
Bronze – Mike Latronic (HAW), 11.10
Copper – Cardoso Junior (BRA), 8.24

Men’s Masters (Over-35) Final Results
Gold – Magnum Martinez (VEN), 16.66
Silver – Sunny Garcia (HAW), 14.10
Bronze – Kaipo Jaquias (HAW), 10.87
Copper – Armando Daltro (BRA), 9.50

Final Team Standings
Gold – Hawaii – 10,540
Silver – USA – 9,771
Bronze – Australia – 7,540
Copper– Brazil – 7.306
5. Venezuela – 7,303
6. Peru – 7,060
7. Puerto Rico – 6,753
8. Japan – 6,476
9. Argentina – 6,366
10. Costa Rica – 5,996
11. France – 5,850
12. Ecuador – 4,988
13. Panama – 4,916
14. Guatemala – 4,630
15. Mexico – 4,359
16. El Salvador – 3,950
17. Dominican Republic – 2,801
18. Chile – 2,250
19. Italy – 1,980
20. Tahiti – 1,750
21. Nicaragua – 1,070
22. Jamaica – 1,050
23. Uruguay – 720
23. Switzerland – 720
25. Germany – 660
26. Ireland – 413

ISA Aloha Cup Finals Results
Gold – Hawaii, 47.4
Silver – Australia, 44.68
Bronze – Costa Rica, 34.39
Copper – Puerto Rico, 30.11