Once great surfing nation relives glory days!
If you tuned in to the finals of the World Masters Champs, held in the Azores archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, last night you might’ve felt a little bedevilled.
Was this… 1987?
For in the three finals, it wasn’t Brazilians holding the gold cups aloft but surfers from the once-great surfing nation Australia. It may be hard to believe for anyone under thirty or so, but there was a time in modern history when little Australia, with its population of 25 mill, owned pro surfing as much as the Brazilians do now.
Last year in France, Australia finished twelfth at the ISA World Championships, a handful of points ahead of England and Germany and well behind Japan, Peru and Costa Rica, a spectacular fall from grace.
Now let’s examine this event, via excerpts from the WSL announcement.
Australians Rob Bain, Layne Beachley and Dave Macaulay have won the Azores Airlines World Masters Championship in historic fashion today, claiming victory in the Final bouts against Cheyne Horan (AUS), Rochelle Ballard (HAW) and Shane Beschen (HAW) respectively in the Grand Masters, Women’s Masters and Men’s Masters divisions held in good three foot surf at praia de Santa Barbara.
Rob Bain (AUS) and Cheyne Horan (AUS) took it to the water first in the men’s Grand Masters Final and while the first half of their matchup was a relatively low-scoring affair, Bain started throwing fireworks on the 15 minute mark.
A late entrant into this event, Bain has been arguably the best surfer all week in his division and dominated every heat he entered until claiming the coveted World Title this morning. The Australian celebrated his 56th birthday today with an incredible performance.
The women’s Masters Final was up next between 7-time World Champion Layne Beachley(AUS) and a former QS Champion and runner-up in the world Rochelle Ballard (HAW).
Beachley’s experience came into play as she perfectly controlled the rest of the Final and walked away with an eighth World Title, but maybe more importantly wrote another page in surfing’s history books winning the first-ever Women’s Masters title.
Dave Macaulay (AUS) and Shane Beschen (HAW) finally paddled out for the day’s last Final in the men’s Masters division. The Australian had a great start and looked fired up, scouring the lineup to find the gems and continuously improving on his scores to impose a big requirement on his opponent. With a couple of 7s on the board, Macaulay remained out of reach for the Hawaiian and the two-time former World No. 3 claimed his first World Title as the oldest competitor in the masters division.
Other highlights of 1987: The Simpsons debuts, Fiji becomes a republic, the stock market falls through the floor and Damien Hardman, also a standout in the Azores, becomes world champion (’87/88).