The Costa Rica national junior surf team reached its goal of ending up in the Top 10, with a 7th place finish at the VSSLA International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Junior Championships in Hyuga, Japan (see final results of team members below). This is our November surf report.
The success was helped along by Leilani McGonagle, who ended up 2nd place overall, and the recipient of the silver medal. Although she has never won a gold, she now owns six medals in world competitions.
The next stop on McGongale’s surfing journey was Punta de Lobos Peru and, wow, she did great by winning her first World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event, the Maui and Sons Pichilemu Women’s Pro presented by Royal Guard. To make the top spot she beat Australian Freya Prumm, who had been leading most of the heat. Yet, never one to give up, and needing a little over 8 points to overtake Prumm, McGonagle delivered her second perfect 10-point turn-to-turn ride of the day, the first coming earlier in the day during the semifinals. McGonagle not only earned $10,000 with that win, but moved up 15 spots in the QS Women’s ranking to 32 out of all 388 athletes on that chart.
“I came in second place at this event last year, so my goal was to do even better this year,” said McGonagle. “The waves have been so great and there isn’t another QS contest that has better waves than here. All of the girls are surfing so well and I’m just stoked to win this final against a good friend like Freya. This is the first QS event I’ve ever won, so it feels incredible. I hope I get the chance to feel like this a lot more times. It’s out of this world.”
As to that final 10-point ride: “Wow, I had gotten a wave before but I didn’t know the score, but I was really nervous because I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left in the heat. I knew I had to go regardless and once I dropped in, the wall just opened up and it was such an amazing wave, I felt like I was at home.”
And as usual, the high-level surfing skills run in the family. Leilani’s brother, Noe Mar, also made a QS podium, his coming at the Anfaplace Pro Casablanca in Morocco where he ended up in the semifinals with Rafael Teixeira of Brazil. The WSL noted that McGonagle was “the form surfer all week,” but ended with a 4th place finish overall in the contest. After a Round 4 stop at the EDP Billabong Pro Cascais in Portugal later that month, he stands at 45 on the Men’s QS rankings. Right now he’s in Hawaii for a couple of QS prime events, those only open to surfers in the QS Top 100.
In just 30 days, Tamarindo’s Tomas King stormed up the QS rankings 200 points due to back to back performances. It began for him as a semifinalist at the Vans Pro QS3000 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a showing that moved him from 265 to 138th. A perfect 10 wave in Round 2 of the WRV Outer Banks Pro in Nags Head, North Carolina, led the way for his quarterfinals finish.
However, King’s really grabbed attention at the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup in the Philipines. In the final, he led most of the heat before Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro scored higher in the last minutes. This result, King’s best QS to date, earned the Tamarindo surfer a 2nd place finish.
“This is the best place I’ve been in my life,” King said, who is now ranked at 79 (and eligible to surf in Hawaii’s contests). “It is beautiful and the waves are sick, I’ve had an amazing week. This is by far my best result so I’m just happy to surf in a final, especially with a former CT surfer like Raoni. He was surfing so well and I’m really stoked for him that he won.”
VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Results:
|ISA Aloha Cup (Tag Team Relay):
Gold – Japan
1 (Gold) – USA
2 (Silver) – Hawaii
3 (Bronze) – Japan
4 (Copper) – Australia
5 – France
6 – Brazil
7 – Costa Rica
8 – Argentina
9 – Portugal
10 – New Zealand