Kids, be smart. Don’t do drugs. If you stay clean, you just might be rewarded for it in a very big way. Puerto Rican ripper Carlos Cabrero learned that for himself last week when he was officially upgraded in the record books from the silver to the gold medal in the Masters division of the 2011 ISA World Masters Surfing Championships.
Back in 2011, Australian Mark Richardson won the division, but when the results of his required pre-event drug test came back, he had tested positive for THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) exceeding the maximum level allowed by the World Anti Doping Committee at the time. That put his result under scrutiny, and after about a two-year review process, the ISA finally announced their decision to take the gold medal from Richardson and give it to the runner-up, our very own Carlos Cabrero.
Admittedly, it’s not the ideal way to win a gold medal. “It was a mix of feelings for me,” Carlos said of the decision. “I had felt really happy for Mark Richardson when he won the event back in 2011, because, for him, it was the first win in his surfing career. Now the situation is very sad for him. But on the other hand, I’m very proud that I won the medal. It’s not the way I wish it had happened, but I am a gold medalist, so I’m very proud for Puerto Rico, my family, and myself. It’s a dream for any surfer to win a gold medal in the ISA, so I’m very stoked and very glad to win one for Puerto Rico. I know it’s a big win, and I hope that our local surfers will continue to come up with more medals and represent Puerto Rico well, the way we have been doing for the last few years.”
As strange and complicated as the whole situation was, Cabrero thinks the next generation may just be able to take something positive from it. “For all those kids out there, I believe you can learn from this that you are responsible for your actions, and when you’re representing your country and competing in sports, you should understand what the rules are,” he said. “In this case, what happened was a very sad thing. But I think we have to learn from the mistakes of others and not get stuck in those situations. These days, surfing is at such a high level that everything counts, so the more healthy and clean you can stay, it will pay you back in your future in surfing.”