The 2009 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games at Playa Hermosa and Jacó on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast last month holds the official distinction of being the most attended and covered sports event in Costa Rican history.
According to ISA, the eight-day tournament in early August drew more than 70,000 spectators to applaud surfers from 35 different countries competing for titles in the Men’s and Women’s Open and longboard competitions. ISA said this was the biggest turnout ever recorded for a surfing event.
Hotels, restaurants and business in the Jacó and Playa Hermosa area reaped huge benefits in tourist dollars, taking in more than $2.5 million during the competition, according to businesses and hotels in the area. That amount is three times more than the average tourism sales total expected from an entire high season in Jacó.
More than 100 media outlets covered the event, including more than 50 international publications and radio stations. Coverage of the event was offered in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.
“Today, the country of Costa Rica, thanks to results that exceeded our expectations for the event, has shown that it is a country that surfs at the highest level and receives great support from fans across the country,” said José Ureña, president of the Surf Federation of Costa Rica and coach of the national team.