Our surf report: this has been a much improved year on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) for Esterillos’Carlos Muñoz. At the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in September, which took place in La Coruña, Spain, he came in 2nd place. Then, in spectacular fashion, Muñoz won the Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro title which took place the first week of October in Jaco. This was the first QS in this country since 2016.


The final featured two of the best Tico surfers with Muñoz facing Noe Mar McGonagle from Pavones, both surfers on the international QS. Cali, as he is known to all in Costa Rica, claimed his second QS victory since starting that circuit, in 3-4 foot waves of inconsistent conditions on finals day. This title places him now at #41 in the QS rankings.


“It’s just amazing and it felt like I was in a futbol stadium or something with all the noise and everybody cheering, so to share this moment with them, especially my daughter and family, is incredible,” Muñoz said. “Noe is such a great surfer and we always push each other so to have that heat with him was amazing. I’ve won a QS 1,000 and now a QS 1,500 so it’s that next level up and I hope I can continue that this year or next year. I just tried to surf it smart, and I’m just super happy to win here.”


“I think it’s the first time in QS competition that this many Costa Ricans made it this far which is really exciting,” Muñoz added. “For me it wasn’t a lot of pressure just being on the opposite side of the draw and I just sent good vibes that way for them because I had to surf against (non-Tico pros) Lucca (Mesinas) and Wesley (Leite).  I’m going to take advantage of this win and now I’m thinking about doing the QS 1,500 in Peru to gain even more momentum, but I’ll be heading to Hawaii with my dream to qualify.”


McGonagle’s gave Muñoz a challenging heat with his power surfing. Earlier in the contest, Noe Mar made two near-perfect scores including a 9.77 in his quarterfinal, which turned out to the day’s highest single-wave score.


“It’s amazing to have a big event back here and the fans are amazing, we know how to put on a good show,” McGonagle said. “I’ve been trying to work on not peaking too soon and I admire Cali and the work he’s done through the years using that strategy. We always talked about what a dream it would be to surf against each other in a QS final and to do it here is perfect. I felt like I kept getting better each heat and the final had that high tide which made it really close.”


“This is incredible for the younger kids, especially sponsorship wise as it’s really tough to get that support here, so for them to get some points here and try to make it out in the world isn’t easy but this makes it possible,” McGonagle added. “I’m super stoked and thankful, now it’s time to get ready for Hawaii.”


Former Jaco lifeguard, Jairo Perez, who came in 3rd place, captured the attention of the WSL with this professional appearance at his homebreak. “The 28-year-old continues to be one of the country’s top competitive talents with his great form and pure passion for the sport of surfing that embodies the country of Costa Rica,” said Andrew Nichols of the WSL.


Tico Results Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro


Carlos Urbina 68th

Axel Castro 65th

Dennis Picado 65th

Aarón Ramirez 49th

Anthony Flores 49th

Bruno Moggi 49th

Steven Arauz 49th

Kenneth Peralta 49th

Esteban Chaves 49th

Cedric McCrakin 49th

André Chacón 49th

Carlos Brown 49th

Darshan Antequera 33rd

Juan Carlos Hernández 33rd

Malakai Martínez 33rd

Aldo Chirinos 33rd

Sam Reidy 25th

Oscar Urbina 25th

Sebastián Mora 25th

Anthony Fillingim 9th + $300

Tomas King 9th + $300

Jair Pérez 3rd + $2.000

Noe Mar McGonagle 2nd + $5.000

Carlos Muñoz 1st + $10.000



Erika Valverde 33rd

Auxiela Ryan 33rd

Rachel Agüero 25th

Coral Wiggins 25th

Paulina Summers 25th

Nataly Bernold 17th

Zulay Martinez 17th

Eva Woodland 9th + $300

Rubiana Brownell 5th + $500