THE old adage 'never give up' couldn't be more appropriate for Mark Richardson who, after years of competing, struck gold at the World ISA Masters Games at Punta Rocha, El Salvador.
The four-time Australian champ from Palm Beach, who has a learn-to-surf school at Currumbin Alley and is a former Alley Boardriders president, had to win the world title the hard way.
Competing in the over-35 Masters, Richo's campaign got off to a rocky startplacing third in the opening round, and relegated to the repechage rounds.
That meant having to surf through six rounds of the reps to requalify for the final.
"So stoked. This is one I wanted to win and I always backed myself," said a proud and pumped-up Richo from the famous right-hand point break of Punta Rocha.
"I came so close to a world title in the 2004 ISA open men's and was confident that I could do this."
Once Mark survived six rounds of sudden-death reps requiring either a first or second - he racked up five wins and a second to qualify for the final - he put on that serious Richo 'contest head'.
He posted a 8.17 on his second wave and then, with three minutes to go, a 7.17 to hold off his nearest rival, Puerto Rico's Carlos Cabrero.
His wife, Bianca, (the younger sister of Joel Parkinson) and the Richardson's six-year-old son, Ty, were there to watch their man claim a hard-earned victory.
"Thanks for all the support from family and friends. My son, TJ, 'said you can do it Dad' and I delivered the goods," Richo said.
So popular was TJ Richardson, he was adopted by the Australian squad as their team mascot.
Richo credited his win to a new epoxy lightweight board made by local Currumbin manufacturer Diverse.
"That lightness and flotation helped me to float over the sections," he said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.