Their pairing also looked as good to Ribbens as she had expected. She talked Button into inviting Roca and Sur to compete in the 1991 World Professional Figure Skating Championships at Landover, Md.
"He said, 'Who?' but I convinced him that he wouldn't be disappointed," she said. They finished third, then improved to second a week later in Button's World Challenge of Champions at Paris.
A year later, the International Skating Union changed its eligibility rules, allowing professionals to apply for reinstatement as amateurs in order to compete in the World Championships and Winter Olympics.
Sur wanted to apply.
"I feel I haven't finished a lot of things in competition," he said.
Roca went along, but she is still not sure it was a good idea.
"If things go well, I'll be happy," she said. "If not, we'll see."
So far, so good.
"I think they're wonderful," said Darlene Gilbert, a coach who worked with them recently at a North Long Beach rink. They are coached primarily by Sandra Hess at Colorado Springs.