If anything, today was evidence that old rivalries never die.
Day 4 of the Azores Airlines World Masters Championship saw some heavy match-ups and a few major upsets as the competitive spirit between all divisions remained alive and thriving. At the end of the day, after running 11 heats, the Finalists have been set and the crowning of a new Champ is in sight.
Sunny Garcia vs. Shane Beschen
Shane Beschen and Sunny Garcia saw their fair share of match-ups in the 90's. But today, Beschen got the better of the two. It was a close heat and both competitors went blow-for-blow. In the last 2 minutes, the waves went flat and Garcia was unable to find a score to retaliate with. Beschen won with a 11.86 heat total.
"We've had a lot of battles in our time," said Beschen. "It was really cool to have a heat against him again. It feels like old times. I told myself before I got here that I wasn't going to get too crazy or push too hard. I did the Tour already and I'm happy with the results of my career. This is all just a bonus."
Garcia is now out of the event but the Hawaiian plans on sticking around for the remainder of the waiting period. Beschen will be going up against Dave Macaulay in the Final.
"I'm happy with that heat," said Garcia. "Shane has been ripping so it's all good. Back in the day, there was a lot more competitiveness and drive. Now a days the guys on Tour are kind of just like business as usual. When I was surfing we hated each other because it made us win. We wanted to kill each other most of the time. We're all a lot more mellow now."
Grand Masters Event:
Rob Bain vs. Cheyne Horan
Known for his unorthodox equipment, Cheyne Horan has been the ultimate fan in this event - running around getting pictures with other competitors and watching everyone's heats. He went up against fellow Australian Rob Bain in the Semifinals and came up just 0.4 points shy of a win. Bain has been dominating in the Grand Masters division.
"That was so epic," said Bain. "I can't believe I just had a heat with Cheyne. I remember when we were skateboarding back in the day...I was 13 and he was 15. He went out for a surf and I had never seen anything like it. He was the greatest surfer I had ever seen, so that was a trip."
Both Bain and Horan used to be on the same skateboarding team prior to starting their professional surfing careers. They hit their stride on the Championship Tour in the 80's.
"I was pretty nervous today," continued Bain. "But you learn some tricks over the years. I leave a little wax ball at the tip of my board and when I touch it, it reminds me that it's not over until the fat lady sings. Just breathe and something might come your way. An old friend told me that one."
Although Horan lost to Bain in the fist heat of the Semis, he went on to win his second heat against Simon Anderson - meaning Rob Bain and Cheyne Horan will see each other again in the Finals.
Women's Masters Event:
Layne Beachley vs. Pauline Menczer
7x World Champ Layne Beachley took a Semifinal heat win over 1993 World Champ Pauline Menczer. Menczer was visibly frustrated during the heat - unable to find a wave that would hold up long enough to provide any scoring potential.
Currently living in Brunswick Heads, Australia - Menczer has spent the last couple of years working as a bus driver and taking care of her mom.
"I had so much fun at this event, other than that heat I just surfed," said Menczer. "As soon as the jersey is on, it's just like old times. This event came at the perfect time. A couple of the competitors have lost 10 or 20 kilos and gotten back in shape as a result. I really hope that the WSL keeps doing these because after the Tour you can sort of get lost in the real world. It's good to have goals and to work towards something and this gives us that."
In shifty conditions, Beachley took the heat win with a 10.67 heat total. She'll be advancing to the Finals where she'll take on Rochelle Ballard.
The event is off on Saturday. Check back Sunday at 10:30am AZOST for the call and watch live on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.