This year’s visit to the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France last month was not as successful as the Costa Rica national surf team would have liked. The Tico surfers placed 9th among the 47 countries who competed, making it their lowest showing since 2011 when they also placed 9th. Last year, the Costa Ricans finished 5th at home in Jaco and of course, the year before, they won the gold medal in Nicaragua.

The breakout star for the national team was, once again, Leilani McGonagle of Pavones, who smashed through heat after heat into the finals, where she placed 3rd an earned bronze, her 10th medal since she started competing in these world championship contests. She trailed home girls from France Pauline Ado who came in 1st, and Johanne Defay who was 2nd. Bianca Buitendag of Russia placed 4th.

“I’m happy because the final was good with all the elite competitors from the World Tour (WCT),” McGonagle said. “I just wanted to do the best I could for my country. The truth is that this was less than I wanted as I was looking for the gold medal for the team. But if it could not be this time, maybe in the future.”

This bronze medal is the 5th one of that type she’s earned since 2014 in Junior and World Championships. Her total of 10 includes 3 in Juniors (2014 silver and copper, 2016 bronze) and two in World Open (2015 silver and now 2017 bronze). McGonagle also has 5 team medals including the best in the world gold, and some from Tag Team competitions.

Jason Torres (Jaco), Anthony Fillingim (Malpais), Leo Calvo (Pavones), Jair Perez (Jaco)—all of the men’s team—were not so lucky as McGonagle. After a promising start, one by one they faltered, and when Fillingim fell out in Round 4, there was no repercharge second chance round to earn his way back into the Games. For this, the first World Surfing Games since the Olympic Committee announced that surfing would be in the 2020 Japan Olympics, competitors were only offered a repercharge round if they lost 3rd or 4th place after Round 1.

Former WCT pro and Costa Rica’s coach Jim Hogan said: “I love that the team is so close. The Costa Rica national surf team, apart from being an incredible team, it is a family. It has been one of the most difficult World Cups ever. Long days and prolonged breaks because of the waves, affected us and all of the teams. You have to be very proud of a team that gave everything in France, they kept the fight until the last minute and they were very united in search of a goal.”

Back in Costa Rica, the surf report of the Circuito Nacional de Surf kolbi 2017 finished two more dates. At the Copa OTIS – Beach Club in Santa Teresa, the big winners were Jason Torres (Jaco) and Zulay Martinez (Tamarindo), in the Open and Women’s respectively. This was Torres second 1st place showing this season, while Martinez’s win was her first this year even as she made the podium often.

“I’m very happy indeed,” explained Torres. “I had almost 20 days without surfing with very little expectation of winning. Already in the final, I knew that if I was patient, I could play a good role. The strategy worked and now I am motivated to re-train hard.”

Results of the Copa OTIS – Beach Club Santa Teresa:
Open
1. Jason Torres (Jaco)
2. Leonardo Clavo (Barranca)
3. Anthony Fillingim (Santa Teresa)
4. Olman Morales (Santa Teresa)

Women’s
1. Zulay Martinez (Tamarindo)
2. Coral Wiggins (Avellanas)
3. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
4. Emily Gussoni (Jaco)

Junior
1. Oscar Urbina (Puerto Viejo)
2. Francisco Coronado (Brasilito)
3. Agustín Cedeño (Panamá)
4. André Chacón (Jacó)

Junior Women’s
1. Emily Gussoni (Jaco)
2. Zulay Martinez (Tamarindo)
3. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
4. Coral Wiggins (Avellanas)

Boys
1. Malakai Martínez (Tamarindo)
2. Oscar Urbina (Puerto Viejo)
3. Steven Arauz (Cieneguita)
4. Samuel Reidy (Dominical)

Girls
1. Valentina Resano (Nicaragua)
2. Rubiana Browenll (Avellanas)
3. Coral Wiggins (Avellanas)
4. Paulina Summers (Puerto Viejo)

Grommets
1. Tao Rodriguez (Panamá)
2. Darshan Antequera (Jaco)
3. Samuel Reidy (Dominical)
4. Isauro Elizondo (Panamá)

Minigrommets
1. Leo Apreda (Jaco)
2. Kalani Abrahao (Tamarindo)
3. Etan Hollander (Dominical)
4. Denzel Rosales (Santa Teresa)

Minigrommets Girls
1. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)
2. Valeria Ojeda (Jaco)
3. Auxiela Ryan (Puerto Viejo)
4. Rachel Agüero (Jaco)
5. Máxima Resano (Nicaragua)

Then, at the Copa OTIS – Beach Club in Guiones, both of the current national champions Anthony Fillingim and Leilani McGonagle won their categories.

“If Jair, Jason and I made it to the final three, it’s because Jim Hogan put us there,” Fillingim said. “The strategy worked, we worked as a team all weekend and the results came. I’m very happy to get another win here like the previous year and defend my national title.”

Results of the Copa OTIS – Beach Club Nosara:

Open
1. Anthony Fillingim (Santa Teresa)
2. Jair Pérez (Jacó)
3. Ariel Gutiérrez (Playa Hermosa)
4. Jason Torres (Jaco)

Women’s
1. Leilani McGonagle (Pavones)
2. Zulay Martinez (Tamarindo)
3. Valentina Resano (Nicaragua)
4. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)

Junior
1. Dean Vandewalle (Tamarindo)
2. André Chacón (Jacó)
3. Malakai Martínez (Tamarindo)
4. Evan Brownell (Nosara)

Junior Women’s
1. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
2. Leilani McGonagle (Pavones)
3. Coral Wiggins (Avellanas)
4. Zulay Martinez (Tamarindo)

Boys
1. Malakai Martinez (Tamarindo)
2. Dean Vandewalle (Tamarindo)
3. Gabriel Córdoba (Puerto Viejo)
4. Darshan Antequera (Jaco)

Girls
1. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
2. Valentina Resano (Nicaragua)
3. Paulina Summers (Puerto Viejo)
4. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)

Grommets
1. Tao Rodriguez (Panamá)
2. Samuel Reidy (Dominical)
3. Darshan Antequera (Jaco)
4. Isauro Elizondo (Panamá)

Minigrommets
1. Kalani Abrahao (Tamarindo)
2. Teo Galé (Panamá)
3. Leo Apreda (Jaco)
4. Ethan Hollander Leiva (Dominical)

Minigrommets Girls
1. Valeria Ojeda (Jaco)
2. Auxiela Ryan (Puerto Viejo)
3. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)
4. Rachel Agüero (Jaco)
5. Máxima Resano (Nicaragua)
Current ranking leaders are Torres (Open), Martinez (Women’s), Oscar Ubina (Juniors), Coral Wiggins (Junior Women’s), Ubina (Boys), Valenta Resano (Girls), Tao Rodriguez (Grommets), Kalani Abrahao (Minigrommets), and Candelaria Resano (Minigrommets Girls). There are two more dates of the Circuito Nacional. They include June 24 and 25 in Jaco, followed by the Gran Finals in Hermosa July 21 through 23.

At the end of the grand finales of the Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf at the Copa Hotel Playa NEgra, Anthony Fillingim was able to add another title to his resume. As the new Guanacaste champion for 2017, he is joined by other Guanacaste champions Valentina Resano (Women’s), Dean Vandewalle (Junior), Malakai Martinez (Boys Under 16), Resao (Girls Under 16), Aaron Ramirez (Boys Under 14), Candelaria Resano (Girls Under 14) and Gal Bepmale (Grommets).

Anthony Fillingim one of the most famous surf riders

Anthony Fillingim. Ph: Alfredo Barquero


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