A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Braun Finally Breaks Through
Although Gilbert Brown of Puerto Viejo — with a knee injury sustained last week surfing at his Salsa Brava homebreak — was unstoppable, the work of Braun in Nosara waves that were near four foot on Saturday then decreased to 1-3 feet on Sunday, were the most memorable.
Braun’s aggressive combinations and great technical dowries made easy work for the judges in naming him the best of the Torneo Banco Nacional. As a matter of fact, just before the final heat, the surfer explained that his Achilles’ Heel usually isn’t other people its himself, but once recently he had judged a small contest in Montezuma and learned what those judges were looking for.
The experience changed his game. That skill set was obvious on Sunday as the surfer would often sit back and wait in his final run of heats searching for just the right wave in the mushy surf, then select a good one and run it down with a series of maneuvers that would wow the guys in the tower.
During the final heat, he ran a spectacular right with a serious of snaps and a reverse, then came back with another right and a 360 in the last 5 minutes.
Even with three of the biggest stars — current CNS champion Diego Naranjo, Luis Vindas and Nino Myrie away at the Asociasion Latinamericana de Surf (ALAS) Reef Classic Chile in Playa ReÃ±aca, everyone else at the 4-star contest — there were about 300 inscribed who pushed hard at the highest surfing levels to get through to the end.
“It’s all a blur,” he gasped, with his trophy after the ceremony. To everyone’s surprise, the powerful 15-year-old Carlos MuÃ±os (Esterillos) came in second place, with No. 1 CNS ranked Gilbert Brown (Puerto Viejo) third and 20-year-old Juan Carlos Naranjo (Jaco) finishing fourth.
“To win the Open in Costa Rica you need to surf at a really high level with a lot of concentration and have a lot of desire to win, and be really innovative with your maneuvers, and aggressive, and mainly, remember not to commit any mistakes”, Braun added.
“If I did, the judges will not forgive you, and you are out of the competition, and you jeopardize your ranking! Now, I am certainly going to maintain what I’ve achieved”.
Braun’s win in Nosara earned him a position on the Costa Rica National Surf team as they prepare to defend their two-time title at the Central American Surf Championships in Playa Venao, Panama on March 21, 22, 23.
Once again, the former five-time National Women’s Surf Champion Lisbeth Vindas (Jaco) secured the crown of a Circuito date, making it three dates so far this year where she has disabled the 2006-07 CNS Women’s Surf Champion Nataly Bernold (Jaco).
Vindas is demonstrating that she wants to get her title back, and not even the return of the great surfer Laura Pecoraro of Pavones can deter Lisbeth from her goal.
In addition, the surprise upset in the Junior category came when Jaco’s Jairo PÃ©rez found himself the runner-up to Anderson TascÃ³n (Jaco), who has for several CNS dates now shown his drive for the crown.
Despite this, PÃ©rez proclaims that says that “without a doubt I’m the next Junior Champion again,” and with the points awarded at the Torneo Banco Nacional, he is indeed still No. 1 in the Junior ranking and will travel with the National Surf Team to Panama for the Central American Surf Championships.
The Longboard division was a worthy spectacle this weekend because Tamarindo’s Cedric Auffret, the current National Longboard Surf Champion has been on a mission to defend his title, too.
Surfing in a location farther left of the judges podium, the staging area for longboarders received the best conditions of the weekend — 3-5 feet featuring sometimes open face conditions. Auffret demonstrated a style and finesse that far surpassed his competitors when he earned his first place trophy.
The 2007-08 Circuito Nacional de Surf International Sponsors are: Banco Nacional, Powerade, Coca-Cola, RedBull, Billabong, Quiksilver, Roxy, Reef. National Sponsors include: 911 Groovy Radio, Banco Nacional, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, Hotel & Resort Terraza del Pacifico, Bar & Restaurant El Tabacon, Hotel Playa Carmen, Quique Surf Shop, Coldwell Banker Peninsula Trading Co.
Other sponsors are Banzaii Surfboards, Banana Wax, Remax Surfside, Cala Luna Hotel & Villas, The Backyard Hotel, Mango Surf & Skate, Jass Surf Shop, Roca Bruja Surf & Skate Shop, Carton Surfboards, Chiclets Canopy Tree Tour, Gimnasios Platinum Fitness Center, Chuck’s W.O.W. Surf Shop, Shifi Surf Shots, Surfos Magazine and Harbor Reef Hotel.
The next date of the 2007-08 Circuito Nacional de Surf, Torneo Playa Carmen, will take place March 15-16 in Playa Carmen.
NOTE: For more information on the Circuito Nacional de Surf or the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica, please go to the new webpage at www.surfingcr.net.