Team Peru Wins the ISA Aloha Cup and The Surfing Community Celebrates the Life of Surfline Founder Sean Collins
Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival presented by Quiksilver
Monday, January 9, 2012
Wanning, Hainan Island, China
With half of the surfers already eliminated from the Open Men draw, team tactics really began to play a role on Day 2 of competition at the ISA China Cup at Riyue Bay. For some of the surfers, the dwindling field meant they were left to fend for themselves, but for the teams still running strong with multiple names remaining, the team dynamic was a bonus.
"We were trying to work together, to help control the heat," said Marc Lacomare, who advanced through a Qualifying Round heat alongside his French teammate, Charles Martin. "You have to work hard to get the best waves, because there are not too many. It was a very tactical heat."
With plenty of waves still on offer at the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival presented by Quiksilver, the athletes continued to entertain all who made their way to the beach. Though the best waves of the day came infrequently, the battle for the best waves made for a more spirited competitive atmosphere.
"I started off in a bit of a rhythm; I was lucky to get a nice scoring wave early and back it up," said Chris Ward (USA), who's yet to lose a heat in China. "I knew [teammate Cory Lopez] needed a good score at the end so I paddled as deep as I could and those guys followed, so it pulled them out of position and Cory got a good wave to help get through."
When competition resumes tomorrow morning, American's Ward and Lopez will meet the Frenchmen, Lacomare and Martin, in Qualifying Round 5, in what will surely be a compelling 25 minutes of surfing.
According to the Surfline.com forecast, another swell will be moving in over the next couple days, which should make for an exciting end to the ISA China Cup and a thrilling start to the Hainan Classic, an ASP 4-Star event that begins January 11.
With five athletes remaining in contention, Australia is currently the favorite for the team title. Nic Muscroft worked his way through three heats yesterday, and then advanced through two more Repechage heats today.
"It's a long wave and you're doing about 6 to 8 turns a wave, so it's pretty tiring," said Muscroft, whose 15.50 total in Repechage Round 4 was the highest men's score of the day. "The whole team is pretty pumped; we're stoked to have five going through to the last day. France still is looking pretty good, but we've just got to get through our next heats and keep strong."
The highest heat total of the day came from Brazil's Diana de Souza, who found one of the rare long, racing set waves and cranked a series of powerful turns, and topped it off with a big floater.
"I'm very happy, I had a good showing in my heat," de Souza said. "Today the waves have been a little bit different, but I like the conditions, and I hope I can catch better waves in the next rounds."
After ISA China Cup competition was complete for the day, the ISA Aloha Cup began. An exciting event that requires five-man teams to "tag" their teammates into the water, it allowed already-eliminated surfers a chance at redemption. There were two four-team, hour-long semifinal heats and then a one-hour final.
When Team Peru was complete with its celebration of their gold medal - following a pair of standout performances from Cristobal de Col and Miguel Tedala - the mood transitioned from an electric emotion, to one slightly more sentimental. Surfers, coaches, ISA staff, VIPs and members of the public gathered around ISA President Fernando Aguerre at the water's edge for a paddle out ceremony in memory of Sean Collins. Collins was the founder of Surfline.com, which is the official forecaster of the Festival. In March 2011 Collins visited Hainan commissioned by the ISA to select a location for the event. His report recommended Riyue Bay as contest site, and January for running the largest surf gathering in China's history.
"Probably the only low point of this incredible event is not having Sean watching it from California," said Aguerre, at the water's edge, shortly before the paddle out. "I know a lot of people talk about Sean as the forecaster and the guy who allowed us to know when to go to the beach and when not to go to the beach, for me, all those things pale compared to Sean the human being; the kind guy that always had the time for his friends."
Nearly 60 people, including a number of world champions, paddled out into the Riyue Bay lineup and joined hands, creating a circle around the ceremonial wreath that was dropped into the water in memory of Collins.
Dion Atkinson, of Team Australia, was among the paddlers. In his teenage years, he spent four summers in a row in the Collins family home.
"He didn't even know who I was, but when I came to America with Julian [Wilson] he just opened his home to us, took care of us, helped us out - he had the biggest heart," Atkinson said. "I'm happy I was here to say thank you and goodbye."
Competition resumes at 8:00am local time (4:00pm PST - 7:00pm EST) and will conclude with the finals and ISA Closing Ceremony. Teams and individuals will be competing for the gold medals and the ISA China Cup trophy. The women's final will run at 11:30am local time, followed immediately by the men's final. Watch it online on www.hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/china-cup/live.
Following completion of the action tomorrow afternoon, the complete video footage of the day's events will be replayed at hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/china-up/live.
Team Rankings After Day 2
1. Australia - 15,780
2. France - 15,060
3. Peru - 12,580
4. USA - 12,250
5. Brazil - 10,300
6. South Africa - 9,160
7. Argentina - 7,690
8. Venezuela - 7,460
ISA Aloha Cup Results
1. Peru - 47.80
2. Australia - 46.93
3. South Africa - 44.09
4. Brazil - 26.03