WHEN all was said and done, the hometown favorites took most division crowns last weekend at the Circuito Nacional de Surf Mohs Classic tournament in Playa Tamarindo. Org a n i z e r s agreed the homefield advantage was definitely in play, especially as unseasonably early and very strong Papagayo winds plagued the contest, allowing the 100 entrants to be dominated by Tamarindo s Federico Pilurzu in the Open, Giovanni Perini in Juniors and Ross Menking in Longboard. DESPITE the difficult conditions, Open winner and World-Qualifying Series competitor Federico Pilurzu was able to adapt. I handled it by trying to relax and take it easy so I could get in better rhythm with the waves, then just take the waves as they came, he said. I haven t won a Circuito contest in a long time, so winning at home today was great! Ross Menking, already a local hero after having survived a shark bite in Marbella a few years back, had double trouble by the time of his low-tide heat the waves had dropped. Again, experience prevailed. Waves, or no waves, with a longboard you can always find something to surf, Menking said. Also competing in the Longboard category was legendary board-shaper Tom Eberly, who now lives in Nicaragua, where four years ago he and 16 locals organized the Nicaraguan National Surf Titles an annual contest near San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast. Eberly brought to Tamarindo five surfers from Nicaragua; two of them placed in the semifinals. OVERSEEING the Tamarindo leg of the Circuito Nacional was Costa Rican Surf Team head coach Wade Sharp, who had just returned from Papenoo, Tahiti, with the country s national junior team. It was there that Jason Torres (Jacó), Juan Carlos Naranjo (Jacó), Killian Raust (Playa Grande), Luis Vindas (Jacó), Ronald Brown (Puerto Viejo), Jairo Pérez (Jacó) and Andreina Samudio (Jacó) placed 12th among 30 nations at the Quiksilver International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships. Sharp noted that the recent international competition and the team s training in general are really paying off and can be seen in the surfing they are doing here. The kids are settling into their individual approaches as they apply what they ve learned to their heats here today, he said. Juan Carlos Naranjo, who is a Junior, for example, made it all the way to the Open Finals today and came in fourth. CIRCUITO Head Judge Yeffrey Rojas concurred, and pointed out young Jairo Pérez as a surfer benefiting from Sharp s instruction, particularly in relation to his bottom turns: They just get better and better every time he does it. Today was very difficult; there were lots of closeout waves, so I had to keep looking for the best point to make the maneuvers, Pérez stated after picking up his trophy. I feel happy and very good. For more info, call 244-3756 or go to www.surfingcr.com.