Ten Things You Need to Know About the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship

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One of the most decorated surfers in ISA Masters competition with four gold medals, Puerto Rico´s Juan Ashton will be aiming to continue his medal winning streak in Nicaragua. Photo: ISA/Billy Watts

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

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With the fifth edition of the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship set to begin in Nicaragua on July 14, there is a lot to begin to think about. The event will feature many of the best over-35-year-old surfers from outposts around the world who will be seeking individual and team glory.

Here are 10 things you need and should know about the upcoming event:

One
The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is the biggest surfing event in the world for over-35-year-old surfers, with nearly 150 competitors from more than 20 countries.

Two
The event gathers the best Masters surfers from every continent to compete for their National Teams in an “Olympic-style” event. The surfers compete for medals and the honor of representing their respective countries. There are no cash prizes awarded. Athletes compete for individual and team Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper Medals, as well as for the coveted Eduardo Arena Trophy, which is awarded to the Gold Medal-winning National Team. Peruvian Eduardo Arena was the founder of the ISA, doing so in 1964.

Three
The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is an annual event, in its sixth year of existence. The ISA introduced the Masters event in 2007 in Puerto Rico, but did not run the event in 2009.

Four
The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship will mark the first time that Nicaragua will host an ISA event.

Nicaragua won the hosting bid over other candidate nations because of its commitment to a better surfing future, its ideal high-performance wave conditions, the dedication of its Tourism Department and its Minister, Mario Salinas, and also as a means to help develop surfing in the region.

Five
Athletes from over 20 countries will surf the waves of Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, located in southwest corner of the country, two hours south of Managua. Powerhouse teams including Australia, Brazil, France, Puerto Rico, South Africa and USA (the defending team champions) will be seeking a place on the podium in the five individual divisions (Men’s Masters [over 35 years], Men’s Grand Masters [over 40], Men’s Kahunas [Over 45], Men’s Grand Kahunas [over 50], and Women’s Masters [over 35]) and, most importantly, in the overall team standings.

Six
Last year, in its first year competing in the Masters event, Team USA won the Team Gold Medal, behind an individual Gold Medal from Tom Curren. A three-time ASP World Champion, Curren has also had past ISA success, winning the Gold Medal in the inaugural ISA Junior division in 1980 in Biarritz, France.

Seven
The venue for the event is a tropical setting with air and water temperatures on par with summer in Hawaii, and located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country. The waves at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, depending on the tide, can be hollow beachbreak barrels or perfect, rippable left- and right-handers. The wind conditions are ideal almost year-round, blowing offshore due to the Lake Nicaragua effect.

Eight
The fifth edition of the championship will officially open on July 14 at the traditional ISA Opening Ceremony, which will include the Parade of the Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony.

The Parade of the Nations is a colorful and energy-filled event, complete with teams chanting, waving flags and the cheering of the locals who come out to watch the spectacle. In the Sands of the World Ceremony, alongside a team flag bearer, each team sends one athlete to pour the sand from a favorite beach from their country into a custom glass container. The layering of the sands represents the peaceful union of the nations through the love of the sport of surfing.

Major Dates

Friday, July 13
Press Conference

Saturday, July 14
Parade of the Nations, Opening Ceremony and Sands of the World Ceremony

Sunday, July 15
Competition Begins

To Be Determined
ISA Aloha Beach Party

Sunday, July 22
Final Day of Competition/Closing Ceremony

Nine
Past individual and team champions of the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship are:

Men’s Masters
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Andrew Banks (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Mark Richardson (AUS)

Men’s Grand Masters
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Magoo de la Rosa (PER)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Rob Page (AUS)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Juan Ashton (PUR)

Men’s Kahunas
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Marc Wright (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Rob Baldwin (AUS)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Tom Curren (USA)

Men’s Grand Kahunas
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Craig Schieber (CRC)

Women’s Masters
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Heather Clark (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Heather Clark (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Layne Beachley (AUS)

Team Title
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Team South Africa
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Team South Africa
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Team Australia
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Team USA

Ten
The most decorated ISA World Masters athletes include Puerto Rico’s Juan Ashton (four gold medals in four years), South Africa’s Heather Clark (two gold medals, one silver medal), and South Africa’s Chris Knutsen (three gold medals). Former ASP World Champs Tom Curren (three world titles) and Layne Beachley (seven world titles) won their first ISA World Masters Gold Medals in their first year of ISA Masters competition last year in El Salvador.