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Young Surfers Own Pinilla Classic

“WILL it be Tamarindo or Jacó?”Federación de Surf President AntonioPilurzu asked the Avellanas crowd lastSunday before announcing the championof the 2005-06 Circuito Nacional deSurf’s Pinilla Classic.Awaiting the answer were Open finalistsLuis Vindas and Jason Torres, from thecentral Pacific beach town of Jacó, IsaacVega of Tamarindo, on the northern Pacificcoast, and Durby Castillo of Pavones, onthe southern Pacific coast – all 18 oryounger, proving what Pilurzu has longbeen saying: that athletes competing in theCircuito from the time they are young canget the experience and support they need to grow through the organizationand become future Costa Rican champions.In the end, it was Tamarindo’s Vega who took the honors at thisfirst event of the Circuito season, held at Hacienda Pinilla BeachResort and Residential Community, just south of Tamarindo.The event included 195 surfers – the most registered Circuitocompetitors ever for a single date.VEGA admitted he was thrilled to become the first Circuitochampion from Tamarindo since Pilurzu’s son Federico, and alsoto snatch the coveted crown for his pueblo, which has at timessuffered disrespect from the Jacó and Puerto Viejo contingents.“I really tried to stay focused and relaxed,” Vega explained.“When I felt more relaxed, I could concentrate more. It’s a newstrategy that I have, and it helped me with this big victory.“I also trained in a lot of spots in Guanacaste with my personaltrainer Scotty (Kadowaky). He’s the one who showed me theway I wanted to surf, and truthfully for me things were not good(the way I surfed) in Huntington (at the World Junior SurfingChampionships) in October.”Another sign of the new day of young buck Tico surfers camewith the Muñoz brothers’ dual win. The dynamos from PlayaEsterillos, south of Jacó, snatched the Grommet crown, whichwent to Carlos, and the Mini-Grommet title, which Alberto won.Danny Bishko, also from Esterillos, became Boys’ champion.What’s going on in that central Pacific beach town?It turns out that 2002-03 Circuito champion Gilbert Brown hasbeen going to Esterillos every Saturday to put the kids throughpractice heats there.The efforts of Brown, from the southern Caribbean coastaltown of Puerto Viejo, and 2003-04 national champ Nino Medrano,as well as the showings of teams from all over the countryat the Pinilla Classic, showed that the future of Costa Rican surfingis truly united.“More young kids believe in the Circuito now, because they’veseen that from it a team surfed at two international workshops withthe World Junior Surfing Championships (Tahiti and Huntington),”Medrano explained as he watched his prodigies at the PinillaClassic. “In January, we’ve got to get a team together and raise themoney to send kids to Peru for the Pan American Games. All thekids want to be selected and are getting serious, and signing up forthe Circuito to get ranked to go to these contests.”“We’re already a surfing federation,” he added. “Now weneed to get the paper from the government of Costa Rica, so wewill keep pushing them to validate surfing as a sport like soccer.We need to work together with Tamarindo and Jacó, and say tothe government, ‘Give us the money to send our kids to the contestsaround the world to represent this country as surfers.’”

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