World Surfing Games 2009, Costa Rica start this Friday!

  • by Bret G. Dudl
  • 27.07.09
  • 1:54 PM UTC
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Source: Hotels Costarica

There are a mere four days and counting to the inauguration of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The entire country, and the area of Jaco and Playa Hermosa in particular, is preparing for the biggest surfing championship ever held on the shores of Central America. With the confirmed participation of more than 35 national teams, it will indeed be the largest surf even in the history of the sport. From July 31 to August 9, the world’s top surfers will convene in front of the Hotel Terrazas del Pacifico, the best surf spot in Costa Rica with perfect barrels and waves reaching up to 8 feet.

The event promises to be one big beach party for surf aficionados and curious visitors alike. Throughout the duration of competition, which is set to start on Aug. 1 at 7 a.m., the area in front of the beach will come alive with cultural presentations, extreme sport demonstrations, dance shows, competitions, live music and more! The fair has been dubbed the Expo Planeta Aventura and is set to showcase the top names in Costa Rican adventure activities, sustainable tourism and extreme sports.

A series of stages, restaurants, bars and stands will run the distance from the street to the beach where the real spectacle will take place non-stop from Aug. 1 to the 8th between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The competitors will be divided into heats of 4 competitors of the same category. Two heats will run at a time in which the surfers have 20 minutes to ride between two and 12 waves and best display their ability level. A panel of 6 judges will distribute points according to wave selection, quality and difficulty of the maneuvers. Only the two best rides are added together to get the surfer’s score. Only the top two surfers in each heat will move on to the next round of competition.

Each national team should have eight total surfers, four in the Open category, two in the Women’s category and two longboarders. The final scores will be added together to form each team score, and individual surfers will also be ranked according to their individual score. There is also a special Tag Team event that will occur the second to last day of competition (Aug. 7) in which the top 8 teams from last year’s World Surfing Games, which took place in Portugal, will choose 5 team members to compete in an accelerated tournament. Last year Costa Rica took the Bronze medal in the tag team event and is looking to improve their performance in this year’s competition.

Some of the big names to look out for this year include American Nat Young, Dayan Neve and Mick Campbell from Australia, South African Brandon Jackson and Jeremy Flores and Mikael Picon from France. One of the top women to confirm participation is Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich who was noticeable absent in the last two World Surfing Games. She will be joined by American Sage Erickson, Lee Ann Curren from France and the Australian Amee Donohoe.

Costa Rica’s official team of eight surfers will be selected from a short list of 12 competitors who have been training together for over eight months on the shores of Playa Hermosa. The competing team will be annouced just two days before competition but is likely to include top national surfers Luis Vindas, Jairo Perez, Carlos Muñez, Nataly Bernold and Lisbeth Vindas, among others.

The 2009 World Surfing Games are expected to bring a huge boost to Costa Rican surf tourism, drawing thousands of spectators to the area and millions more who will watch the games on television. Though the competition will take place in the tiny surf town Playa Hermosa, one of Costa Rica’s largest coastal towns, Playa Jaco is just 5 minutes away and is set to host the majority of the visitors arriving for the event. Indeed the town is set to come alive starting July 31st with the Parade of Nations that marks the official start to what is known as the Olympics of surf.

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