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Gary Elkerton & Mark Richards win Masters Champs

Mark Richards (left) Gary Elkerton Masters Champs : Photo Tostee ASP World Tour



The Quiksilver Masters (Aug 30-Sep 8)

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)

Elkerton & Richards Win Respective Masters Divisions

Bundoran, Ireland (Thursday, September 6th) Defending Masters champion Gary
´Kong´ Elkerton (Aus) and four-time consecutive (1979-82) world champion
Mark Richards (Aus) today created history by picking up another title
apiece, in the Masters (aged 35-43) and Grand Masters (44+) divisions of the
2001 Quiksilver Masters. Competition ran right through from the Masters´
´surf-off´ clash this morning, into the quarterfinals and semis, and then
climaxed this afternoon with the deciders.

Surf at ´The Peak´ remained in the 3-4 foot (1.3m) range, with the sun
shining, though the onshore wind continued to blow relentlessly.

Elkerton, 37, who was in commanding form all week, today created the dream
scenario by defending his 2000 Masters title with another victory. He began
the 30-minute final against Dave Macaulay (Aus) by securing an 8.0 ride, but
then momentarily appeared in trouble when his opponent picked off a 9.0 for
an early lead. ´Kong´ answered straight back, however, with the second best
single wave score of the tournament, a near-perfect 9.8, and later collected
a 9.1 to eliminate any chance of defeat. His best three waves amounted to
26.9 points, the highest of the entire contest, as well as any previous
Masters event.

"I´m pretty ecstatic," began Elkerton, on the tide-exposed reef afterward.
"Last year was kind of emotional for me, this year I can´t believe I
couldn´t do it years ago (laughs). It´s just all happening now. It´s so
bizarre.

"There were some really good waves in the final and I felt really strong,"
he continued. "I know Dave was on fire, so two in a row, it´s unbelievable
isn´t it? I could create a bit of havoc (by winning three consecutive
titles). I hope so (laughs).

"Everyone had their money on ´Pottz´ (Martin Potter) this time, but I guess
I´ll pick up my money now (more laughs)."

Later at the presentation awards, he dedicated the win to his nephew Taylor,
Shirley Strachan (lead singer of Australian rock band ´Skyhooks´), and Mama
David (Tahitian surfer Vetea David´s mother). All of who passed away this
past month.

Macaulay, 37, who finished third on the ASP tour twice (1989 & ´93),
impressed everyone with his attack all event, and surfed the final on an
even higher level. Many of his peers claiming he´s actually surfing better
now, than during his full-time touring years. Nonetheless, he wasn´t able to
overcome Elkerton in the final, needing a combination of scores worth 10.91
points.

"I´m stoked I could make it close at least," began Macaulay afterward. "I
knew after the good wave I had that I was in the hunt. Then I saw the waves
that he got, though. He just went to town out there.

"I make surfboards for a living," he continued. "So this is good promotion
for my boards. This has certainly been a career highlight for me. I´m
wrapped that some people are saying that I´m surfing better than I did on
the tour. That´s a real compliment, so I feel good about it, but I´m not
actually going to jump back on tour, or anything like that (laughs).
Basically, I´m at home most of the time enjoying the family life."

Richards, 44, added another incredible achievement to his amazing career
today. Having posted the highest single wave of 9.65 points, and as well as
best combined total of 26.35 in his division during today´s quarterfinals,
´MR´ truly was in unbeatable form. He capitalized on this when it counted
most, defeating 1978 world and 1999 Grand Masters champion Wayne ´Rabbit´
Bartholomew (Aus) in their final.

Surfing with the same flair and talent that took him to the top of the
surfing world two decades ago, he rose above the field to win his first
Masters, and now a fifth world title. Against ´Rabbit´, Richards picked off
the first wave and ultimately took a match that remained extremely close
throughout.

"You´re kidding me," began a disbelieving Richards on the shoreline
afterward. "I felt he had an edge over me with the waves I was riding. He´ll
be hating me, won´t he (laughs). I´m so stoked. Ireland of all places.

"In the earlier heats today, during the quarter and semifinals, I knew that
I had them," he continued. "In that final it didn´t seem like either of us
had a real advantage. I felt like I really needed one stronger wave at the
end. I guess I didn´t, though!

"I´ve been on a serious eat and go to bed program. I´ve been missing all the
(social) action (here), so I might have to get on the program tonight to
make up for it. One Guinness and I´ll be gone (laughs).

On stage to collect his trophy, he added, "It´s been 20-years since I
actually won something, so I don´t what to say. The judges gave me nines, so
I totally love them."

Bartholomew, 46, who actually cut his foot during the semifinals, charged
the grand finale as if nothing else mattered. Midway through his third clash
of the day, however, fatigue got the better of him, and he was unable to
find the energy reserves he needed to help secure the winning waves.

"It was a good final, but I ran out of steam," admitted Bartholomew
afterward. "I didn´t have the fitness, and it got to me. In the last
12-minutes of that I was really feeling the pinch and it showed in the end
result.

"Guys on the World Championship Tour (WCT), they just show unbelievable
energy and strength," he continued. "For the old guys it hard. Good on MR.
In the end he was paddling strong. I´m still stoked to be able to make
finals and be a contender. I guess that´s what I´ve been my whole life, and
in my division I still am (laughs)."

Finishing equal third in the Masters division was Mike Parsons (USA) and
1989 world champion Martin Potter (UK). Parsons being eliminated by
Elkerton, while Macaulay stopped Potter´s run.

Parsons, 36, lead up until the final five minutes of their semifinal, before
Elkerton came back with a 9.5 and then sealed it on his last 7.0 ride soon
after. A similar situation unfolded the last time they met, in the
quarterfinals of the 2000 Masters in France.

"Gary got me in the final five minutes of the last Masters as well," laughed
Parsons. "I had a really good start and I felt like I kind of had him, but
then bam, bam. I knew if I gave him just a little opportunity that would be
it. He just goes for it on every turn and you know you can´t hold back.

"I´m bummed I lost," he added. "But hey, last year I got fifth, so a third
this year.... I´m just stoked to be here surfing with these guys. It´s
unreal."

Potter, 35, competing in his first Masters event, unleashed more of his
explosive repertoire, including a small aerial on the inside section of one
right-hander. Macaulay was equally impressive on longer lefthanders, though,
and gained the judges nod.

"I had a pretty good run throughout the event," said Potter. "Got some good
waves. The lefts just seemed to open up a bit more (then). I got a few good
right-handers and did some big snaps, but I guess length of ride was what
they were looking for.

"I had fun," he continued. "Pity about the conditions, but it was good to
catch up with a lot of good friends and reminisce about all the old days and
just have a bit of fun."

Finishing equal third in the Grand Masters were defending champion Michael
Ho (Haw) and 1997 winner Terry Richardson (Aus). Ho, 44, disposed of an
in-form Bobby Owens (Haw) this morning, but needed a combination of rides
for 10.51 points against ´MR´.

"I did what I could do, but he was just better today," reasoned Ho. "I
really admire his surfing and I think he stepped it up a notch. I´m pretty
disappointed not to get into the final, but that´s how the ball bounces.
I´ll be back next year."

Richardson, 45, who eliminated Simon Anderson (Aus) this morning, was unable
to find the waves needed against Bartholomew. He took the lead at one point,
but his opponent answered right back, leaving him searching for an 8.56
ride.

"I´m stoked with a third," said Richardson. "The waves sort of let me a down
a little bit, in my performance. I just couldn´t find them, but that´s the
way competition goes."

Two-time (1983-´84) world champion and #1 seed going into the Masters Tom
Carroll (Aus) finished equal fifth today. After winning the ´surf-off´ clash
this morning ahead of Parsons, the result was then reversed when they met in
the man-on-man quarterfinals.

"Snips´ got a really good wave and my wave selection let me down," said
Carroll. "I always come to win, but finishing fifth is a lot better than
losing out in the surf-off this morning (laughs)."

Three-time (1985, ´86 & ´90) world champion Tom Curren (USA) also placed
equal fifth, after losing an epic clash with Potter. The 37-year-old trailed
throughout, yet still managed to post a 9.0 on his final ride, and avoid the
dreaded ´combo´ situation, whereby a surfer requires two scoring waves to
overcome their opponent.

"I knew it was going to be a hard heat," said Curren. "He´s been pretty
much, for me anyway, the one. He´s been getting the high scores. I got one
at the end, but I guess I needed three of those, pretty much, to beat
Potter."

The Quiksilver Masters will not be held next year, but will return with a
bang in March 2003. The famed break of Sunset Beach, Hawaii, will host the
legends of the sport, where many of them carved out their illustrious
careers during the formative years of professional surfing.

Further Information:

www.aspworldtour.com; www.quiksilver.com;

www.surfersvillage.com/quiksilvermasters2001

Jesse Faen

Media Director, ASP Int´l

jesse@aspworldtour.com

www.aspworldtour.com

Mobile (on-site): +61-(0)-407-189-289

ASP Int´l office (Aus): +617-5599-1550

Event Hotline: 353-(0)-29255

Photographer:tostee@aspworldtour.com

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