The biggest sporting event in the history of Costa Rica has arrived.
This week, teams from over 30 countries arrived at Costa Rican shores to compete in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games to be staged at Playa Hermosa, just south of the central Pacific town of Jacó, July 31 to Aug. 9.
The teams arrived at Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela, west of San José, and continued to Jacó, where the opening ceremonies for the competition will be held today at 10 a.m. on the town’s main street.
The opening ceremonies will feature the mixing of the “sands of the world,” an event during which all the participating countries will combine samples of sand from their home beaches.
The competition officially begins Saturday, Aug. 1, with the men’s and women’s Open Surf category, and concludes Saturday, Aug. 8, with the finals and award ceremony. The closing ceremony will be Sunday, Aug. 9, in Jacó. All competitions will be at Playa Hermosa, in front of the Terraza del Pacifico Hotel at the north end of the beach.
Preview of the Games
During the last 10 years, Australia has been the most dominant national team in the surfing world. The Australian team has won the last three World Surfing Games championships, including last year’s competition in Portugal. The other perennial surfing powers are the United States, Brazil, South Africa and France.
Costa Rica is not too far behind. The Ticos finished fifth in the World Surfing Games in 2008 and, behind Central American champion Jason Torres and nine-time youth national champion Carlos Muñoz, have high hopes that this could be the year they establish themselves as one of the premier surfing countries in the world.
“We are surfing at home,” said Carlos Brenes, of the C.R. Surfing Federation and spokesman for the national team. “We have been training and surfing at Playa Hermosa almost every day for the past eight months. We hope it will give us an advantage that will help us finish as well or better than we did last year.”
The Costa Rican National
Each team in the World Surfing Games is comprised of 12 surfers, including four male open surfers, two female surfers, two longboarders and four alternates.
Surfers for the Costa Rican team are:
Juan Carlos Naranjo – ranked in top 10 of national surfers for the past three years.
Lisbeth Vindas – seven-time Costa Rican female national champion during 2001-2009.
Luis Vindas – won the Reef Classic in El Salvador, 2007; finished 6th in World Open in 2008.
Marian Samudio – top 10 national ranking since 2007.
Anthony Flores – 18-year-old competed in World Junior Games in 2007.
Cristian Santamaría – finished in top 10 in last three national tournaments.
Gilberth Brown – 2008 National Open Champion; finished third in Central American competition.
Nataly Bernold – 16-year-old, currently ranked 6th in the world.
Jair Perez – Central American Junior champion.
Diego Naranjo – first-ever professional surfer in Costa Rica, known as “The Godfather” by teammates; owner and instructor of Costa Azul surfing school in Jacó; winner of 2008 Reef Classic in Perú; national longboard champion in 2009.
Carlos Muñoz – 16-year-old is a ninetime youth national champion.
Jason Torres – 5th in World Surfing Games in 2008, winner of Central American Open.
With Costa Rican
Hopes for World Surfing Games? That we will compete at a professional level, that we will do as well or better than we did last year and that we will enjoy ourselves.
If not a surfer, what would you be? A forensic doctor.
Favorite singer? Marcos Barrientos.
Other Hobbies? I love to play pool. I have a friend who has a pool hall and we play a lot.
Favorite part about surfing? Catching a perfect wave and riding it out…Also, the natural beauty of being in the water and on the beach. It’s different than any other sport.
If not a surfer, what would you be? Professional soccer player
Favorite Movie? La Vida es Bella (Life is Beautiful)
Other Hobbies? Playing Playstation
Favorite Playstation game? FIFA Soccer
Hopes for World Surfing Games? That people come and enjoy all that is offered in Costa Rica.
If not a surfer, what would you be? Not sure yet. I’m only 16 and still in high school.
Favorite beach in Costa Rica? Esterillos Oeste
Favorite Food? Casado with carne asada Favorite Movie? The Secret
Photos Courtesy of C.R. Surfing Federation
Schedule for World
July 31: 10 a.m. – Parade of Nations /Opening Ceremony
August 1: Contest Starts: Open Men and Open Women
August 5: Start of Open Longboard
August 8: Contest Ends & Awards Ceremony