San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Yearlong Surfing Competition Crowns Winner

PLAYA HERMOSA – The competition was “really tight,” according to head judge Yeffrey Rojas at the Open Finals of the Circuito Nacional Reef Classic Saturday at La Curva/Hermosa Beach. The top two competitors – Puerto Viejo’s Gilbert Brown and Jacó’s Alvaro Solano – “risked so much and hit it hard,” Rojas said.In the end, Brown won first place in this last leg of the Circuito Nacional de Surf. Yet, even with the additional points to factor into his scores from other beaches this past year – and a $1,500 check from this tournament sponsor Reef – it was still not enough to beat Solano, whose season- long points were higher.With that, Solano was crowned the 2003-2004 Circuito Nacional de Surf Champion.“No one believed I could win the whole thing,” Solano said. “There were about six kids who could have won instead of me. Somehow, somewhere, I thought I could do it and it felt really good to win.”Solano was the lone winner out of more than 120 participants during a seven-month contest at eight different beaches. His total points at those competitions is what earned him the championship.The two-day contest featured overhead waves, strong current, and the best of the best of Costa Rican surfers. Overheard between heats were mentions of the “stress,” “pressure,” “concentration,” and “taking rest.”Most of the competitors, 14-year-olds and up, were able to handle the challenges of both the ocean and the contest since they had participated in the circuito since the tournament started in September in Jacó, and continued once a month in Esterillos, Negra, Dominical, Puerto Viejo, Mal País, Hermosa and finally in La Curva. The Circuito is in its fourth year.At each leg of the 2003-04 circuito, surfers stuck together, following the direction of organizer Antonio Pilurzu, who instilled professionalism in the athletes.“This is part of the training and taking everything seriously,” he said. One of the team rules Pilurzu enforced at La Curva: No matter what the individual’s schedule was like, they were to show up at the beach early and stay until the end – cheering on other surfers, volunteering to help with what was necessary to keep the event running.Carlos Arias, a longboard competitor, didn’t have his first heat until after 11 a.m. Saturday, but he traveled with his friends from Tamarindo Thursday afternoon, and was on the beach Saturday morning at 7 a.m.“When someone else goes out to compete, I say, ‘Go on, good luck, you can do it,’ ” Arias said. “We didn’t have people to sell drinks, so when Antonio asked me to help, I said I would because he’s always helped me.” In evenings, everyone dined together at various restaurants around Jacó. They drank lots of soda, juice, water and Red Bull. No liquor. Rojas’ mantra to the impressionable youngsters: “Remember, no drugs!” They listened.Even with spectators vying for surfers’ attention, their focus remained on the contest.Then, Saturday evening, when the winners were announced onstage in a pouring thunderstorm, not one of the Costa Rican Surf Team left the area. One by one, trophies, checks and prizes were awarded to the loud screams and applause of the champions’ biggest fans – their competitors. And even as his competitors cheered him on, Solano knew he had to get right back in the water, better than ever.“In some ways there’s even more pressure now because people will say, ‘There’s the Costa Rican National Champion’ and I have to surf good all the time,” he said. ”But that’s a good pressure.” The results are as follows:Circuito National Reef Classic ResultsOPEN 1. Gilbert Brown. 2. Alvaro Solano 3. Diego Naranjo 4. Luis VindasWOMEN 1. Lisbeth Vindas 2. Brooks Wilson 3. Jennifer Newson 4. Maria Del Mar AlfaroJUNIORS 1. Luis Vindas 2. Jason Torres 3. Juan Carlos Naranjo 4. Juan Diego FloresBOYS 1. Jason Torres 2. Giovanni Perini 3. Ronald Brown 4. Killian RaustGROMMETS 1. Killian Raust 2. Jairo Pérez 3. Simon Wettstein 4. Anthony FloresLONGBOARD 1. Ian Bean 2. Ross Menking 3. Carlos Arias 4. Hannah RicoBODYBOARD MEN 1. Walter Gatgens 2. David Wettstein 3. Juan Montiel 4. William FallasBODYBOARD WOMEN 1. Lorena Vera 2. Cindy Diaz 3. Jennifer Torres2003-04 Circuito National de Surf ResultsOPEN 1. Alvaro Solano 2. Gilbert Brown 3. Diego NaranjoWOMEN 1. Lisbeth Vindas 2. Brooks Wilson 3. Jennifer NewsonJUNIOR 1. Luis Vindas 2. Jason Torres 3. Juan Carlos NaranjoBOYS 1. Killian Raust 2. Jairo Pérez 3. Ariel AgueroLONGBOARD 1. Hanna Ricco 2. Ian Bean 3. Ronald ReyesBODYBOARD MEN 1. Walter Gatgens 2. William Fallas 3. Juan MontielBODYBOARD WOMEN 1. Lorena Vera 2. Jennifer Torres 3. Cindy Diaz

Comments are closed.