Costa Rica Triumphs In Central American Surf Championships

By Rhonda R. Harper
Updated: April 2, 2007

Photo of  2007 Central American Surf Champion Federico Pilurzu

Photo of 2007 Central American Surf Champion Federico Pilurzu

CALIFORNIA — For the second time in as many years as the Central American Surf Championships have been established, the Costa Rica National Surf Team earned all the top awards.

The Tico Team, selected by the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica, finished in first place in the 2nd Central American Championships Copa Sobe Adrenalina Rush, Sunday after three days of competition at La Empalizada Beach in Guatemala.
The event, organized by the Asociacion Nacional de Surf de Guatemala (ASOSURF), featured delegations from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the team of the Guatemalan hosts, had good conditions for the weekend, and wound up the contest surfing on Sunday in waves of approximately 8.5 feet.
According to Julio Mejicanos, President of ASOSURF, the event in La Empalizada managed to unite all of Central America’s surfing teams, because each nation sent four surfers to compete in Open, the same amount in Junior and two for the Women’s, evening the competitive field in numbers.
“To have each one of the countries of this part of the world with a complete team is one of the great benefits that we have had this year,” affirmed Mejicanos. “We consider it a reward for all the efforts that we have made to promote this sport and the beauty of our beaches.”
The Open Semifinals brought it down to only two country’s athletes: Panama’s Omar Figueroa and Alejandro Alfonso as well as Costa Rica’s Mattias Braun, Diego Naranjo, Federico Pilurzu and Jason Torres.
However in the Final series, it was Costa Rica’s surfers who became the great protagonists of the Copa Sobe Adrenalina Rush with representatives in all the Finals going man-to-man, two competitors in the last heat going for the win.
In the Open, it looked much the same as first year’s Central American Surf Championships in Costa Rica’s Playa Esterillos, with Ticos Federico Pilurzu and Jason Torres snapping, cutting, both taking their boards up to 12:00, fighting for that top spot.
In 2006, Pilurzu won Open, and Torres came in 2nd, although the latter also won Juniors. They both carried out maneuvers with much power, with radical and quick maneuvers that drew a great amount of public applause.
During that half-hour heat, there was a constant shift of position between Torres and Pilurzu. Nevertheless, in the last five minutes, Pilurzu, coming off his to 2nd place in the Vans Pier Classic Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 2 Star World Qualifying Series (WQS) Mens Event in Huntington Beach, California, was confident enough to rush ahead of Torres and once again become Central American Open Surf Champion, this time for 2007.
“The heat was always very intense,” recalled Pilurzu. “In those cases, one must sharpen the eye to select the waves that add the most points. I’m happy that I was concentrating well enough to obtain a new triumph in my sport. It’s always an honor to leave the name of Costa Rica on the high podium.”
In the Juniors race, three Costa Ricans had an opportunity to battle in the Semifinals: Anthony Flores, Jairo Perez and Nikolas Ruhlow, along with El Salvadorian Israel Arenivar and the Panamanean David Godoy.
The man-to-man ended up Perez versus Nikolas Ruhlow. After 20 minutes of intense competition, it came down to the very end of the heat for the judges to decide that it was Jairo’s pure attack that deserved 1st place.
“For this heat, God sent good waves to me so I could come out ahead because Nikolas is a great rival who has an excellent level,” said Perez. “I had to use everything in me to come out ahead, but in the end all the effort was worth the trouble”.
“This triumph represents a lot, because it gives me a lot of spirit to go back to my country and finish up the Circuito Nacional de Surf (CNS) and get the National Junior Championship in two weeks.”
Jairo is currently the top ranked junior in Costa Rica. In addition, last year, he participated in a series of National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) contests in California, where he won the Men’s Open in one of these.
Although the Women’s Semifinals included El Savador’s Joselin Ramos, Panama’s Sonia Garcia and Nicole Perez, as well as Nicaragua’s Ashley Blaylock, the Tica delegation of Lisbeth Vindas and Nataly Bernold returned to sweep the Copa Sobe Adrenalina Rush in the Women’s category.
Lisbeth Vindas’ excellence in her heats earned her a second Central American Women’s Surf Championship. “I am very happy with this new triumph for Costa Rican surf in Central American Surf Championships”, she said.
“In the Copa Sobe Adrenalina Rush, we returned to demonstrate that we have a lot of quality. Hopefully, this victory motivates other girls so that they learn this sport that in the last few years has earned great pride for our country.”
The girls of Costa Rica completed their task with 2nd place filled by 13-year-old wunderkind Nataly Bernold, who not only gave Vindas a run in the waves during her one-on-one, but has been a challenge all year in the homebreaks of the CNS. Bernold is ranked No.1 on the 2006-07 CNS for Women’s and Junior Women’s at this time.
After the 2nd Central American Surf Championships Copa Sobe Adrenalina Rush trophies were announced, Mejicanos announced that the third edition of the Central American Surf Championships are tentatively set to take place February or March 2008 at Playa Venado, Panama.
He added that more information will be released in the next few months.

Final Results

Open Category
1. Federico Pilurzu, Costa Rica; 2. Jason Torres, Costa Rica.

Junior Category

1. Jairo Perez, Costa Rica; 2. Nikolas Ruhlow, Costa Rica.

Women’s Category

1. Lisbeth Vindas, Costa Rica; 2. Natalie Bernold, Costa Rica.

Team Competition

Costa Rica 9,033 pts; Panama 6,059; Guatemala 4,952; Nicaragua 4,701; El Salvador 3,911.