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Chronicle: Final days of Masters Surfing Championship.

Faustino Salcedo | Jul 24, 2012

Competitor in their turn during the final of the Championship. | Photographer: Ariadna Ramos

All the expectations on the event were accomplished; there was high sporting competition and excellent organization.

The sun is hidden in the clouds; the wind stirs the waves with almost perfect accuracy, as if it guessed to be showing off for the closing of a show. It was the afternoon of Sunday July 22nd in Colorado beach, Tola municipality of Rivas, from where approximately 120 countries received signal through a webcast of the World Masters Surfing Championship Nicaragua 2012 finale. It was the end of a week of competition in which all expectations were met, from the quality of the athletes to the event organization, prompting the announcement of a surprise, but that will be read at the end of this chronicle.

As the week ended, rumors grew over the closure to the surf championship. We arrived at Playa Colorado on Saturday July 21st afternoon at a press trip organized by the “Instituto Nicaragüense de Turismo -INTUR-” (Nicaraguan Tourism Chamber).

According to some surfers the sea was fierce, the waves broke hard, and it was difficult to complete some tricks. “This is what separates the professionals from the rookies” said a Venezuelan competitor while congratulating his teammate for making a great presentation. The competition for the "Aloha Cup" was ongoing, which consist that each country team finalists surf to get the highest amount of points and take the cup. The champions were the representatives of Hawaii who razed the medals in the tournament.

While ocean streams were charging hard, and the sun was beaming with elegance, visitors crowded the sand to wait for the champions. At the beach you could see children playing, couples walking hand in hand, dogs walking along with their owners, personalities of Nicaraguan politics and lots of media. All eyes were directed towards competitors from Hawaii, with three great surfers, Rochelle Ballard, Kaipo Jaquias and Sunny Garcia, who actually met the first goal, win the cup.

The final whistle came with the sunset, Saturday was fading, but the urge arose by the thought of the next day. Fernando Aguerre, President of the International Surfing Association, told us they expected waves with perfect tubes for the final day, it felt a bit euphoric, a common feature in some of the organizers and most competitors. The audience was already asking about the nightlife, party invitations in the nearby beaches were heard, as we head towards San Jorge, Rivas, where the ideas rested against the Cocibolca Lake.

Final Day

The eighth day of the championship came, the sky overcast and the wind off-shore near perfect. This is the wind going from land to sea. According to Aguerre, Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the world where offshore wind (powered by airstream from the lake) is there 320 days a year and several hours a day. In other parts of the world it can manifest for only a few hours and in certain seasons. That intangible element of nature got the tube-shaped waves developed to perfection. During the morning from 8:00 am to 10:15 am, the last blocks and playoff elimination were made.

At noon the finals in each category began. First it was the turn of the female Masters, with Rochelle Ballard of Hawaii, as the gold medalist reuniting with a medal at the ISA tournaments since 1998. She came out of the water screaming and jumping, and then she was carried on the shoulders of her team. The surfers were amazed by the quality of the waves, the audience loved the show, and the competitors were ready to show off, they were on the verge of making history, or at least try it.

The most expected final blocks were the Masters and Grand Masters category. Sunny Garcia of Hawaii, was favored in both, but only managed to win gold in the Grand Master. The drama was in the category of the Masters, where Magnum Martinez of Venezuela gave the big surprise to snatch the top spot out of Sunny, with just 2 minutes to the finale remaining. Martinez needed only 2 points to reach the first place, a wave covered him and he emerged as a phoenix, out of the wave that seemed to have plunged him, and in that instant the final whistle sounded. The Venezuelan was carried on the shoulders until the awards ceremony, where his team sang the national anthem of his country with great joy. An emotional finale.

The medals were awarded to the teams first and then individually. The Hawaiian team won the award Eduardo Arena, to get the most points, and 6 of the 25 medals that were played. Everyone was waiting for the surprise that Mario Salinas president of INTUR had mentioned. The curiosity took hold of the presents, and the final statement was that the Junior World Surfing Championships 2013, will be in Nicaragua. The wind, waves, clouds, sun, the public, the competitors, all returned to their normal life, and certainly looking forward to return to a week like that one.

Here you can view our image gallery: 2012 Surfing World Master Championship Final

Translated by Aída Pichardo