Costa Rica fares well, finishes 7th in the ISA World Surfing Games; U.S. wins championship
- by crv.staff
- 11:21 AM UTC
- Filed in Costa Rica
Source: Tico Times
Author Name: Adam Williams
It was a week to remember for the Costa Rican national surfing team. Throughout the week at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games, the Ticos were showered with support from the home crowd, as they proved they were one of the top surfing teams in the world. On Saturday, the ISA World Surfing Games ended at Playa Hermosa, and the Costa Rican team left with their heads held high, earning a seventh place finish in the competition.
“Seventh is a good result,” said surfer Lisbeth Vindas. “We would have liked to finish higher, but the competition here was very strong and, overall, we had a great tournament.”
The final Costa Rican surfer, Jason Torres, was eliminated Friday afternoon, finishing as the seventh best Open surfer in the ISA World Surfing Games. With only 16 surfers remaining in the Open competition on Friday, Torres entered with hopes that he could best the fifth-place finish he earned in 2008. In the first heat of the day, Torres finished fourth in his heat and was demoted to the repercharge competition. Torres bounced back, winning his first repercharge heat, much to the delight of the vibrant Costa Rican crowd lining the beach.
But less than two hours later, with only eight surfers left in the Open competition, Torres narrowly finished at third place in his second repercharge heat, eliminating him from the games. Torres started the heat slowly, but halfway through the 20-minute heat, he rode a long, hollow wave inside, and then finished a series of cutbacks with a 360-spin maneuver. The Costa Rican fans erupted in joy and Torres momentarily moved into second place.
The euphoria was short-lived, however. French surfer Jeremy Flores and South African surfer Brandon Jackson followed Torres with impressive rides of their own and, as the 20 minutes elapsed, Torres was in third place with a 12.94, 0.8 of a point behind Jackson’s 13.74. If Torres had finished second, he would have advanced to the finals on Saturday.
Flores, from France, went on to win the Open championship on Saturday. In the four heats, Flores and Torres were pitted against each other. Torres beat Flores on three occasions.
“That’s just how the competition goes,” Torres said. “The tournament is about survival. You can beat somebody one day and they beat you the next. Flores is a great surfer and I am happy he continued on and won the tournament.”
Torres was the last member of the Costa Rican team to be eliminated. Earlier in the day, Carlos Muñoz, a 16-year old who advanced through three repercharge rounds to reach the final 16 of the Open, lost in the first heat of the day. Muñoz’ run through the tournament was one of the most dramatic and exciting of the competition, in particular his repercharge heat wins on Wednesday, which he carried despite incurring two interference penalties.
“I am disappointed I didn’t get the waves I was hoping for (on Friday),” said Muñoz. “But I am happy with how I did and know that I can compete with the best in the world. I am already thinking about next year and setting my goals to finish higher.”
The U.S. team won the overall championship and ascended the podium Saturday to celebrate and sing the U.S national anthem. France finished in second place, the defending champion Australian team finished third and Hawaii took fourth. U.S. surfer Courtney Conlogue won the women’s Open championship and French surfer Antoine Delpero won the longboard competition.
Although no final attendance estimation had been made available by the organizers this weekend, thousands lined the beach for the finals on Saturday, by far the biggest turnout of the week. Overall, the competition, which drew teams from 36 different countries, was a huge success for Costa Rica and the world of surfing.
“Costa Rica is a wonderful surfing country,” said U.S. coach Ian Cairns. “The fans were fantastic all week long and supportive of every team. The beach is beautiful and there were overhead waves all week. You couldn’t have asked for much more from a surfing event. This was a world class tournament.”
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