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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Elkerton retains World Masters
Gary Elkerton
Elkerton is not a full-timer on the world surfing circuit
by BBC surfing writer Simon Alexander

Australian Gary Elkerton has successfully defended his Quiksilver World Masters crown with an exceptional individual performance of power surfing in Ireland.

Elkerton defeated fellow countryman Dave Macauley at The Peak in Bundoran to retain his title.

Despite tricky onshore 3-4ft waves, Elkerton proved he is still a force to be reckoned with in top-class competition, despite not now being a full-timer on the world pro tour, with a faultless display at one of British Isles' premier surfing locations.

The 37-year-old began the 30-minute final with a superb eight point ride, but then momentarily appeared in trouble when Macauley bettered it to take an early lead.

The reply was what makes champions, with the second best single wave score of the tournament, a near perfect 9.8, and then a 9.1 to make sure of victory.

I could create a bit of havoc by winning three consecutive titles
Gary Elkerton

Elkerton's best three waves totalled 26.9 points - the highest in any previous Masters event.

There was no hiding his delight afterwards.

"I'm pretty ecstatic. Last year was kind of emotional for me," said Elkerton.

"I can't believe I couldn't do it years ago. It's just all happening now. It's so bizarre. I could create a bit of havoc by winning three consecutive titles, I hope so."

Britain's hopes faded in the semi-finals with the untimely exit of Martin Potter, who had surfed strongly up until then.

But 'Pottz' was pleased with his performance.

żI had a pretty good run throughout the event. Got some good waves. The lefts just seemed to open up a bit more," said Potter.

Mark Richards
Mark Richards won the Grand Masters final

"I got a few good right handers and did some big snaps, but I guess length of ride was what the judges were looking for.

"I had fun. It was good to catch up with a lot of good friends and reminisce about the old days," added Potter.

In the Grand Masters final, four-times world champion Mark Richards had a fairytale victory.

Richards, from Newcastle, New South Wales, pulled out all the stops on his state-of-the-art twin-fin surfboard to beat 1999 Grand Masters champion and ASP president Wayne Bartholomew.

With conditions far from ideal throughout the event, Richards showed no sign of letting the title slip through his fingers.

The 44-year-old, who came out of retirement to compete, could not believe his good fortune.

żI've been on a serious eat and go to bed programme. It's been 20 years since I actually won something, so I don't know what to say.

"The judges gave me nines, so I totally love them."

It's been great surfing alongside some of surfing's greats
Ireland's Henry Moore

The losing semi-finalists were Hawaiian Michael Ho and Australian Terry Richardson.

Ireland's hopes had rested with Enniskillen teacher Grant Robinson and Bundoran's Henry Moore.

They failed to make it into the final stages but both said they were glad just to have taken part.

Moore, given a wildcard into the event at the last moment, said it was an experience to savour.

"It's been great surfing alongside some of surfing's greats. It is something I shall remember forever."

The next Masters championships will be held in March, 2003 at the famed waves of Sunset Beach in Hawaii.

That's a location where many of the sport's legends carved out their illustrious careers during the formative years of professional surfing.

See also:

04 Sep 01 |  Northern Ireland
Potter surfs Bundoran waves
24 Jul 01 |  Other Sports
Riding a wave to success
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