Monday, 02 July 2012 01:53
A North Shore-tested barrel rider and a proven power surfer, six-time Triple Crown champ and former ASP World Champion, Sunny Garcia (HAW) should contend for his first ISA medal in Nicaragua. Photo: Geoff Ragatz

Four-Time ISA Champion Juan Ashton Leading Puerto Rico; Former ASP World Champion Sunny Garcia Making ISA Debut for Hawaii

Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
July 14 to 22, 2012
Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, Nicaragua

Contested in the world-class waves at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship brings together the best over-35-year-old surfers from nations around the world. More than 130 athletes from 25 nations will be competing for individual medals, team medals and the perpetual Eduardo Arena Trophy, which will be awarded to the Gold Medal-winning team.

Many of the surfers soon to compete at the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship represent a different surfing generation - before the Danes, Kolohes, Jordys and John Johns of the world - when power surfing and tube-riding acumen were the keys to competitive success. The teams from Hawaii and Puerto Rico will be comprised of some of the most heralded and accomplished athletes from that generation.

Hawaii's Sunny Garcia was the poster-boy for power surfing. Born and raised on Oahu, he was, and still is a dominating force on the North Shore, having won a record six Triple Crown titles and the 2000 ASP World Championship. Competing in an ISA event for the first time, Garcia is entered into the Men's Masters (over-35) and Men's Grand Masters (over-40) divisions.

Rochelle Ballard is an accomplished tuberider representing Hawaii, who is expected to excel in the conditions at Colorado Beach. A consistent top-ten finisher on the Women's ASP World Tour in the late-‘90s and early 2000s, Ballard truly made her name as one of the first and finest women to prove herself in big barrels at Backdoor and big, barreling waves around the world. She'll be competing in the Women's Masters division (over-35).

Mike Latronic was a top surfer on the Hawaiian Pro-Am circuit before trading his competitive career for one in surfing media. He stills surfs frequently and at the ISA World Masters last year in El Salvador he finished fifth in the Men's Kahuna division (over-45). He'll be trying to make it onto the podium in that same division in Nicaragua this July.

Glenn Pang will be the elder statesman of the Hawaiian team, competing in the Men's Grand Kahunas division (over-50). A longtime shaper in Hawaii, plowing through foam for T&C Surf, Pang will be making his ISA debut.

Having won the Team Copper Medal the past two years and a Silver Medal in 2007, Puerto Rico will be aiming for the Team Gold Medal and the Eduardo Arena Trophy in Nicaragua. Fielding a team full of accomplished competitive surfers, the Puerto Ricans should be in the running when the final days of the event come around.

Returning to compete this year is Juan Ashton, the most decorated ISA World Masters surfer of all time, with four Gold Medals and a Copper Medal hanging in his trophy room. The defending champion in the Grand Masters division will try to extend his record medal count in the same division in Nicaragua. Also competing in the division for Puerto Rico will be Jose Medina, who is a newcomer to ISA competition.

In the Men's Masters division, Carlos Cabrero and Norberto Pena will represent the country. Though Pena is new to the ISA World Masters, Cabrero is the defending Silver Medalist in the Masters division, along with an impressive competitive resume. In 2000, he won the HIC Pipeline Pro, and in 2002 he finished in the top-10 of the Open Men's division of ISA World Surfing Games in Durban, South Africa.

Javier Gorbea will be competing in both the Men's Kahunas and Grand Kahunas divisions. He won the Copper Medal at Santa Catalina, Panama in 2010 and last year finished sixth in the Grand Kahunas division. Werner Vega will also be competing in the Kahunas division.

Rebecca Kay Taylor will be the lone Puerto Rican competitor in the Women's Masters division. This will be her first year competing for Puerto Rico at the ISA World Masters.

The ISA World Masters Surfing Championship will begin on July 14 with the Opening Ceremony in Rivas, and competition at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana will commence the following day.


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All photo by Emiliano Gatica, Tony Roberts, Jerson Barboza, David Flores

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