PLAYA LA EMPALIZADA, Guatemala – For the second time in as many years, the Costa Rican National Surf Team took home all the top awards during last weekend’s Central American Surf Championship. The Tico team, selected by the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica, finished tops in all three categories – open, junior and women’s – to win the three-day competition at La Empalizada Beach in Guatemala.
The event, organized by the Guatemalan National Surf Association (ASOSURF), featured visiting delegations from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The surf conditions were good all weekend, with waves over eight feet during the final day of competition.
According to Julio Mejicanos, president of ASOSURF, the competition was equally represented by surfers from all of Central America’s surfing teams; each nation sent four surfers to compete in the open category, four in the junior category and two each for the women’s category.
“To have each one of the countries of this part of the world with a complete team is one of the great accomplishments that we have had this year,” Mejicanos said. “We consider it a reward for all the efforts that we have made to promote this sport and the beauty of our beaches.”
The semifinals in the open category came down to a competition between surfers from Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica was represented by Mattías Braun, Diego Naranjo, Federico Pilurzu and Jason Torres, who matched up against Panama’s Omar Figueroa and Alejandro Alfonso.
In the final series, however, it was two Costa Rican surfers – Pilurzu and Torres – who competed against each other for the top spot. Though both displayed radical and quick maneuvers that drew enthusiastic public applause, in the end it was Pilurzu, coming off his recent second-place finish in a surf competition in Huntington Beach, California, who pulled ahead and once again reclaimed his title as the Central American Open Surf Champion.
“The heat was always very intense,” said Pilurzu. “In those cases, one must sharpen the eye to select the waves that add the most points. I’m happy that I was concentrating well enough to obtain a new triumph in my sport. It’s always an honor to put Costa Rica’s name on the high podium.”
The junior’s competition was won by Costa Rican Jairo Pérez, who beat El Salvador’s Israel Arenivar and Panama’s David Godoy. The women’s semifinals was also won by the Tica team, headed by top finisher Lisbeth Vindas, who helped her squad beat the competition from El Salvador, Panama and Nicaragua.
The third Central American Surf Championships are scheduled to take place next February or March in Panama.