San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Popular Female Surfer Ready to Compete

COSTA Rica’s four-time Woman’sNational Surf Champion Lisbeth Vindas justreturned home to Jacó after three monthsaway training in Indonesia, and competingin California, England, France and thenback in California.The diminutive powerhouse is the firstTica to compete in the World QualifyingSeries (WQS), and she has been an extremelyhappy (and successful) ambassador.Vindas currently ranks 45 out 100 on theWQS.“People from everywhere, when theyfind out that I’m from Costa Rica, alwaysask questions about my country,” she beamswith pride.The always-friendly Vindas bonds withjust about everyone she meets. That’s beenhappening for quite some time now, whichis one of the reasons her main sponsor,Billabong, often uses her for Latin Americanpromotion.A FEW years ago, when the surf clothingcompany released the film “BlueCrush,” they asked Vindas to sign autographsat the Liberia Mall. She drew quite acrowd. And this past April, before embarkingon the WQS, Vindas and seven otherLatin American surfers were flown to theGalapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuadorby Billabong and Gravedad ZeroProductions to film an ESPN show as wellas a video release, tentatively titled, “OchoCinco – Eight Surfers, Five Days” thatshowcased the exceptional talent of theseathletes.Vindas’ other sponsors include Gallas,Oakley, Byrne, OAM and Arenas Surf Shop.Not bad for the 23-year-old who has surfedsince age 14, when her cousin put her in thewater with “a huge old board.”This past year, surfing on the WQS,whether it was competing – and making 4thplace in the Finals in the El Porto,Manhattan Beach, California, contest – orwaiting out the lousy waves in France by“eating bread and walking around,” Vindaswas still sharing great rides at the same timeshe was making friends.At one point, a selection of professionalgirls including Vindas, Jaqueline Silva, JuliaChristian, Prue Jeffries, and Kyla Langen,headed to Spain to surf for a video shoot.Eventually, some of the girls on the WQSrented a house together with Vindas and amutual admiration society formed, wherebysurfing and mentoring went hand in hand.“I learned a lot from them and I paidattention too,” she said. “My friends andChelsea Georgeson, my favorite surfer inthe world, inspire me the most. When I’mcompeting, they motivate me.”IN return, “I taught them to dance,” shelaughs hysterically, “and cooked CostaRican food. These will be memories forever.I met a lot of famous surfers. We took hourstalking. It was just great and I loved it.”For Vindas, however, Costa Rica ishome, and admittedly this is also herfavorite place in the world to surf. That, andthe loyalty to her country, are the main reasonsshe is back and ready to do the CircuitoNacional de Surf 2004-05. The countrywidecontest is also “fun, and I expect to winagain because I love competing.”

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