Carlos “Cali” Muñoz, one of Costa Rica’s top surfers, was eliminated in the third round of the World Surf League’s Vans U.S. Open of Surfing tournament in Huntington Beach, California on Friday.
The 22-year-old surfer from Esterillos was in second place for most of the heat until Australia’s Ryan Callinan bumped Muñoz out of advancing into the fourth round with a 6.77 wave score. In the waning moments of the half-hour heat, Muñoz looked to get back in second place when he grabbed his airborne board Superman-style with both hands, but the Costa Rican came crashing down into the water.
Muñoz finished with a score of 11.10: his top two waves were scored at 5.80 and 5.30, respectively. Callinan and Japan’s Hiroto Ohhara tied for the heat win with identical scores of 13.67.
Muñoz is ranked 23rd in the league’s Qualifying Series, not far behind Costa Rica’s top-ranked surfer Noé Mar McGonagle, who sits at 17th. This year he has earned $13,500 in prize money in the series, including a fifth place finish at the Quicksilver Pro Saquarema in May, where McGonagle, his teammate on Costa Rica’s world championship team, finished third.
McGonagle was also knocked out of the U.S. Open Friday in the quarterfinals of the men’s junior competition. The 19-year-old posted a 3.07 in Heat 3 after winning his heat in the second round. The Pavones surfer was also in the open competition with Muñoz but got knocked out in the first round on Tuesday.
Muñoz won the men’s open championship at the Grand Reef Final on the national circuit in Playa Hermosa, Jacó on July 19.