It seems being the 2010 Costa Rican national surf champion isn’t enough for Luis Vindas. The 25-year-old surfer from Jacó, on the central Pacific coast, has already won the first two dates of the 2011 National Surf Circuit and is poised to take home another national title.
Vindas killed the competition in back-to-back finals. In January, at the Torneo Britt Iced in Jacó, he checked opponents Carlos Muñoz, Maikol Torres and Jason Torres in front of 500 onlookers in the first eight minutes, with the highest wave of the tournament. Then he went two-for-two in the countrywide circuit with a February win in Palo Seco de Parrita, decisively outsurfing final heat contenders Anthony Fillingim, Jordan Hernández and Luis Castro.
“He’s more focused, trying to win, putting in more effort because he really wants it,” said José Ureña, president of the Surf Federation of Costa Rica. “Luis has racha right now – that’s when he has a good moment, and he’s hard to beat.”
The women’s division of the circuit has been exciting so far this year. No more is the race between 17-year-old upstart Nataly Bernold, the reigning national champion, and seven-time national champ Lisbeth Vindas, 27. Lisbeth Vindas – Luis Vindas’ sister – was able to pull out a win in Jacó, but in Palo Seco neither woman could beat Jordan Hundley, 17, a U.S. citizen who lives in Jacó.
A constant podium visitor, Hundley has consistently been threatening the two other Jacó women, and now she has a big win under her belt. She also won the junior women’s division in Palo Seco.
This year’s National Surf Circuit has seen some changes over previous years. The tournament has grown too large to keep it contained in one contest. Now, only the open, junior men’s, boys’, grommet, minigrommet, women’s, junior women’s, grommet girls, minigrommet girls and longboard categories compete in the National Surf Circuit. The rest of the categories, including men’s and women’s bodyboard, novices, masters (over age 35), grand masters (over 40) and kahuna (over 45), will compete in the Metropolitan Surf Circuit, now entering its third year of existence. The Metropolitan previously was for surfers who reside in city areas.
The third National Surf Circuit date, the Copa Quiksilver, takes place this weekend, April 2 and 3, in Nosara, on the northern Pacific coast; the fourth date is April 30 and May 1 in Santa Teresa, on the southern Nicoya Peninsula; and the fifth and final event is set for June 10 to 12 in Playa Hermosa on the central Pacific coast. For more information, visit the Surf Federation of Costa Rica’s website at www.surfingcr.net.