The Hautlieu student – crowned national champion earlier this year – is believed to have achieved the UK’s best ever global placing at U16 level, having finished 13th overall at the end of a week-long battle for supremacy alongside 101 rivals at Huntington Beach, California.
Masterman fought his way through seven rounds of competition to claim the superb accolade of being Europe’s second-highest ranked rider, helping England to 19th out of 44 teams, and he also ranked 11th overall on the top-scoring single wave category, with an 8.63 in his penultimate heat.
‘Beating people who I look up to was a massive highlight,’ said the 16-year-old.
‘I made it through a couple of really hard heats against people who normally surf leagues ahead of me in Europe ... I got a couple of good scores and managed to pull it out of the bag.
‘Finishing that high up has given me a massive confidence boost. Competing in Europe you never know where you are because you never really compete against the world’s best, so going there helped me realise my potential and it should help me in the Pro Juniors next year.’
Masterman added: ‘I’ve been to Hawaii and Costa Rica before, but I’ve never competed outside of Europe or at world level, so everything was a lot bigger.
‘It was all a lot more organised and everything was full-on. My internal aims, which I didn’t really talk about, were to get to the quarter-finals. It was ambitious, but I achieved that and although I did go out in the semi-final of the repêchage I feel like I could have gone further.
‘I wasn’t beaten on ability ... I just had a bit of bad luck with the waves, but finishing 13th in the world for my age category is a massive achievement.’
The trip to California concluded a memorable season for the Islander, who has much to look forward to in 2019 having qualified for the Rip Curl Grom Search World Final.
‘I think the standard could be higher for that,’ he explained. ‘At the World Championships you have surfers from third world countries which don’t necessarily have many surfers, but the Grom Search will have all the best surfers.
‘This year has been really good. Winning the English nationals, the Grom Search series and coming so high at the Worlds ... it’s definitely my best set of results so far. And winning this award is a good way to round it off. It’s a bit of a shock, but I’m really happy.’