Guatemala has accepted the invitation. So has Nicaragua. Panama.El Salvador is expected to come in any day now. Antonio Pilurzu knows they will accept the invitation he extended as president of the now official, government-sanctioned Federación de Surf de Costa Rica.
During our interview, he sits at his computer in Tamarindo’s Cala Luna Hotel, on the northern Pacific coast, surrounded by papers, including the Costa Rican Sports and Recreation Institute (ICODER) letter informing him that after six years of trying to legitimize the sport of surfing in Costa Rica – with the Circuito Nacional de Surf countrywide tournaments and organization of the national teams’ participation in the International Surfing Association (ISA) games abroad – the country is now behind him.
“That means not only respect from the government, but also a small amount of money,” Pilurzu said. “Hopefully now, other businesses will see that this is a serious sport just like soccer and help us with the money we so desperately need to keep going.”
Apparently, the federations in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala also admire his dedication to Tico surfers: when Pilurzu went to Peru for the Pan-American Surfing Games in January, those countries pleaded with him to help organize a Central American Surf Federation.
With the blessing of Fernando Aguerre, president of the ISA, the International Olympic Committee-recognized, global governing organization for the sport of surfing, the Federación Centroamericana de Surf and the Adio Central American Surf Championship were conceived.
The championship will take place in Esterillos, on the central Pacific coast, July 13-15, at Hotel Monterrey Del Mar.
Surfing representatives from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica will convene July 14 to begin the course of actions necessary to become legally sanctioned as the Federación Centroamericana de Surf under ISA guidelines. Fortunately, it will be a much less bureaucratic process than getting the Tico government’s stamp of approval for Costa Rica’s surf federation.
The Central American championship will offer cash prizes of $10,000 for the Open category and $2,000 for Women’s. Juniors – in ISA guidelines, that’s 18 years and younger – will compete for a $1,000 prize. (Note: ISA rules stipulate that only passport-holding citizens will be allowed to compete; residency in the participating countries is not sufficient for entry.) For details on the event, call 244-2400 or e-mail email@example.com.
Already in play is the ICODER- and Ministryof Public Education-approved inclusionof surfing in the country’s Sporting Games.
Fifty thousand kids will be allowed to competefrom 4,000 secondary and primary schools around the country, and entries arenow being accepted for the July 1 Costa Rican
National Student Surf Challenge in Jacó, onthe central Pacific coast.
Pilurzu believes that with children beginning to surf while in school, the farm-team process that has developed from the Circuito – and created stars such as Isaac Vega, Federico Pilurzu, Lisbeth Vindas, Nino Medrano, Jason Torres, Carlos Muñoz, Jairo Pérez and others – will be filled with younger, fresh talent from the school system.
“Now we’re like the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association, a school surfing program active only on the two U.S. coasts) in the United States but really bigger, because in Costa Rica the whole country knows about surfing and the sport is sanctioned by the government and the national school program,” he said.
According to Luis Castrillo, who is organizing the student surfing event for the federation, the heats will be created based on the official system of the Sporting Games, and the six finals will be divided between boys and girls.
Students can register for the event through June 28 by fax (244-6898), phone (244-2400) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).