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National Surfing May Gain New Recognition

WHEN the Circuito Nacional de Surf 2004 finals start today and tomorrow at La Curva, Playa Hermosa, south of Jacó on the central Pacific Coast, surfing in this country will officially elevate to a new level.The Costa Rican National Surf Team is one step closer to receiving official Costa Rican government acknowledgement as the Federación Tica de Surf, according to Delia Villalobos, director of Icoder, Costa Rica’s government division that oversees the country’s official sports teams.The acknowledgment means a Costa Rican National Surf Team may soon be competing in the Summer Olympic Games.The announcement is not the only accomplishment the team has had recently. They also surged from last place to ninth in the world in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in Ecuador last month.NOT long ago, these were seemingly impossible goals of Antonio Pilurzu, owner of Tamarindo’s Cala Luna Hotel and father of surfing’s up-and-comers, Federico and Ricardo.“Four years ago, many people in Costa Rica didn’t understand surf competitions and why they had to train,” Pilurzu said. “They thought surfing was for partying.”And while the nation’s surfers had vast experience in the excellent waves, the public seemed to acquaint the sport with a wild lifestyle – a perception Pilurzu intended to change.PILURZU combined efforts with Quiksilver’s Jeff Booth and the pair founded the Circuito Nacional de Surf (The National Surf Circuit) in 1999 to allow young surfers to experience competition and have an opportunity to make a name for themselves and Costa Rica through the sport.“In all the world, surfers are athletes,” Pilurzu said. “Now, our guys are breaking those (partying) habits, training, going to sleep early and being athletes. Last year, we did third in the Pan American Games. That never happened before.That’s because we we’re doing everything seriously.”Now, in the final weekend of the Circuito 2004, the contest entering its championship phase – after more than 120 participants from all over the country competed over seven months at eight different beaches.The winners of the championship will be awarded $5,000 in prize money.THIS two-day experience also features the Reef Classic, where Chica Reef Costa Rica will be selected. She will win $500 in cash and $500 in prizes, including a gym membership and beauty products as well as a chance to represent this country in the International Chica Reef Competition.Hermosa will be one of the toughest competitions – it’s a six-star event, meaning challengers will earn more points than at most other beaches for these rankings as they compete in categories that include:Open, Junior (18 years), Boys (16 years), Grommets (14 years), Mini-grommets (12 years), Longboard, Bodyboard, Women, Master (40 years).THE person with the most points in their best seven contests out of eight, overall throughout the competitions, is named the champion in the respective category. As the countdown draws near, the top spots are hotly contested.Before Hermosa, the Top 20 included: Alvaro Solano, Diego Naranjo, Luis Vindas, Gilbert Brown, Freddy Camacho, Germain “Nino” Merdrano, Luis F. Hernandez, Marcelo Herrero, Killian Raust, Minor Picado, Denis Guadamuz, Rony Obando, Ian Bean, Luis Castro, Ronald Brown, Isaac Vega, Jose Umeña, Federico Pilurzu, Jason Torres and Rogelio Araya.After the winners are announced tomorrow afternoon, there will be a free concert on the beach featuring the one of the first bands in Argentina to play reggae, Los Cafras.FOR Pilurzu and the other Circuito Nacional de Surf organizers, surfing will afford Costa Ricans worldwide recognition one day – either through the ISA’s planned formal inclusion in all the Pan American Games by 2007, which has the second largest sports audience just behind the Olympics, or in those Olympics themselves. “In Costa Rica, surfing is the best chance a person has to become idolized around the world,” Pilurzu said.“Right now we are ninth in the world. One day we will have a guy on the Pro-tour.“We are talking about putting the name of Costa Rica out there. We have the best waves in the world; we could easily have the best surfer. But this takes time.”For more info, e-mail or


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