Survival - it was the theme of Day 4 of the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. Thirty-one Repechage heats were run at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, and by the end of the afternoon on Wednesday, 58 more athletes exited the contest.
Surfline, the Official Forecaster of the event, has called for a significant swell to fill in over the next couple days, which has competitors and spectators excited for for the finals this weekend. Today, with waves in the two to four-foot range and 15-minute Repechage heats, surfers were scrambling for scoring opportunities - which is adding extra stress to an already tense situation.
"Right now there is no room for mistakes; you lose and you go home, so the pressure is on, and you just have to deal with it," said German Aguirre (PER), who won both of his Grand Masters heats. "It seems like the pressure of the Repechage is helping us (the Peruvian team), because we are passing through our heats, and surfing better and better."
Aguirre's teammates Magoo de la Rosa and Javier Huarcaya also advanced through two Repechage heats in their respective divisions.
There have now been 76 athletes eliminated from the event, more than half of the draw. Only USA has its full team still in contention.
Surprisingly, winds turned side-shore for a short while today, making the already challenging conditions even more so. That, however, did not prevent some phenomenal rides and high scores. Juan Ashton (PUR) found himself in an unfamiliar position today, surfing in the Repechage round of the Grand Masters. He hadn't been in the elimination round since the 2007 ISA World Masters in Puerto Rico - the year he won his first of four ISA Gold Medals.
"At least I found my rhythm today and in the two rounds that I surfed, I got seven-point rides, and that is exciting for me. It's even better than winning the heat because it proves that I'm stepping up my level, which gives me confidence for the rest of the competition," Ashton said. "It's pretty hard because in a beachbreak everything can happen, everything can change. I'm just taking it heat by heat, round by round, not even thinking about another Gold Medal. I just want to surf and wait to see what happens."
Though there are no cash prizes in ISA competition, for most of the surfers in the event, the pride they feel while representing their country means more than a financial return. Every heat, the waterline is packed with teammates and supporters waving flags, and shouting words of support and suggestions out into the lineup.
Some surfers even step outside their comfort level to do what is necessary to give the best amount of help to their country.
"I grew up surfing on shortboards and then switched to longboarding, but in this event I wanted to help the Venezuelan team; they gave me the opportunity to be here representing my country and I'm doing my best," said Ronald Reyes, who won his Men's Masters (over-35) Repechage heat.
"I'm very happy because my daughter is here with me," Reyes continued. "I don't live with her and having her here at the event makes me very happy. When I see her supporting me on the beach with the Venezuelan flag, it makes me more relaxed in the water and gives me more energy in every heat."
Action resumes tomorrow, July 19, with Men's Masters Main Event heats.
The event webcast will be live beginning at 7:40am local time (6:40am PST; 9:40am EST; 2:40pm in Paris; and 11:40pm in Sydney) with The Morning Show at www.isawmsc.com/live.
Men's Masters Repechage Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Ronald Reyes (VEN), 12.16; Raul Villa (PER), 5.57; Christian Jiménez (CRI), 5.10; David Lee (JAM)
Heat 2: Robbie Page (AUS), 12.36; Hugo Camacho (MEX), 5.23; Reinaldo Ibarra (CHI) ,4.04; Gerson Gómez (GUA), 1.27
Heat 3: Ricardo Alfaro (PAN), 8.57; Cesar Aspillaga (PER), 8.20; Marcelo Matos (URU) ,6.10; Giovanni Benetti (ITA) ,1.93
Heat 4: Norberto Pena (PUR), 8.63; Juan Andrés Guerra (CHI), 3.34; Gustavo Castillo (CRI),3.17; Cesar Moreira (ECU), 2.90
Heat 5: Heriberto Ramirez (MEX), 10.00; Jaime Delgado (SAL), 4.50;Daniel López (GUA), 4.26; Patrick Castagnet (GER), 3.93
Heat 6: Hiroki Watanabe (JPN), 10.17; Yoshio Ishida (JPN), 7.70; Charlie Philippon (FRA), 6.87; Diego Gallardo (SAL), 2.93
Men's Grand Masters Repechage Round 2 Results
Heat 1: German Aguirre (PER), 10.06; Eduardo Rojos (VEN), 7.53; Azumi Hara (JPN), 3.93; Carlos Alvarado (ECU), 3.60
Heat 2: Juan Ashton (PUR), 11.67; Julián Galeana (MEX), 4.10; Ricardo Chiari (PAN), 2.30; Carlos Corado (GUA), 1.86
Heat 3: Yasunori Isobe (JPN), 8.47; Luiggi de Marzo (PER), 5.83; Manuel Lozano (ECU) ,4.90; Adrián Valenzuela (MEX), 3.23
Heat 4: Santiago di Pace (ARG), 7.77; Giovanni Visconti (CHI), 7.27; Alfredo Flores (VEN), 6.77; Jose Ureña (CRI), 5.57
Heat 5: Olivier Salvaire (FRA), 6.00; Francisco Romagoza (SAL), 3.60; Lorenzo Parmegiani (ITA), 2.93; Pedro Pablo Vergara (GUA), 1.60
Heat 6: Richy Arosemena (PAN), 9.00; Francois Gouffrant (FRA), 4.07; Daniel Paez (SWI), 3.30; Rodrigo Dominguez (SAL), 1.66
Men's Kahunas Repechage Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Alfredo Flores (VEN), 10.53; Eric Graciet (FRA), 9.03; Javier Gorbea (PUR), 4.14; Kenneth Myers (PAN), 0.90
Heat 2: Magoo de la Rosa (PER), 14.17; Robert Reid (DOM), 9.13; Carlos Goncalves (ECU), 4.70; Scott Weinreich (AUS), 4.10
Heat 3: Bruno Laharague (FRA), 9.37; Gabriel Macedo (BRA), 7.73; Horacio Ipucha (ARG), 6.27; Prospero Ochoa (MEX), 3.66
Heat 4: Pascal Luciani (TAH), 12.73; Craig Schieber (CRI), 12.06; Werner Vega (PUR), 5.93; Jaime García (GUA),3.63
Men's Grand Kahunas Repechage Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Gilles Asenjo (FRA), 10.67; Aurelio Prieto (ECU), 4.60; Jaime García (GUA),4.54; Oswaldo Chávez (MEX), 2.17
Heat 2: Javier Huarcaya (PER), 8.06; Kenneth Myers (PAN), 2.83; Ernesto Conte (ARG), 2.63; José Luis Rodríguez (VEN), 2.40
Heat 3: Robert Reid (DOM), 10.50; Keiichi Mitsuhashi (JPN), 6.67; Alfonso Alvarez (SAL), 4.13; Mike Young (IRE), 3.17
Men's Masters Repechage 3 Results
Heat 1: Ronald Reyes (VEN), 12.00; Hugo Camacho (MEX), 5.47; Ricardo Alfaro (PAN), 4.97; Juan Andrés Guerra (CHI), 3.66
Heat 2: Yoshio Ishida (JPN), 9.60; Heriberto Ramírez (MEX), 9.20; Robbie Page (AUS), 9.07; Raúl Villa (PER), 6.00
Heat 3: Hiroki Watanabe (JPN), 12.26; Norberto Pena (PUR), 10.23; Cesar Aspillaga (PER), 9.50; Jaime Delgado (SAL), 4.50
Men's Grand Masters Repechage Round 3 Results
Heat 1: German Aguirre (PER), 14.84; Yasunori Isobe (JPN), 7.33; Giovanni Visconti (CHI), 3.13; Julián Galeana (MEX), 2.07
Heat 2: Juan Ashton (PUR), 14.90; Olivier Salvaire (FRA), 5.76; Eduardo Rojos (VEN), 5.67; Francois Gouffrant (FRA), 5.24
Heat 3: Santiago di Pace (ARG), 12.16; Richy Arosemena (PAN), 5.93; Luiggi de Marzo (PER), 3.17; Francisco Romagoza (SAL), 2.63
Men's Kahunas Repechage Round 3 Results
Heat 1: Craig Schieber (CRI), 11.84; Alfredo Flores (VEN), 9.24; Robert Reid (DOM), 5.34; Bruno Laharague (FRA), 3.70
Heat 2: Magoo de la Rosa (PER), 13.67; Eric Graciet (FRA), 8.54; Gabriel Macedo (BRA), 8.00; Pascal Luciani (TAH), 3.27
Men's Grand Kahunas Repechage Round 3 Results
Heat 1: Gilles Asenjo (FRA), 9.17; Kenneth Myers (PAN), 8.20; Robert Reid (DOM), 6.47
Heat 2: Javier Huarcaya (PER), 12.33; Aurelio Prieto (ECU), 6.63; Keiichi Mitsuhashi (JPN), 6.10
Day 5 Heat Schedule