Billabong Games Set For Costa Rica in ’09

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: August 15, 2008

COSTA RICA— José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica (FSC), has confirmed that the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG), sponsored by Billabong, will take place July 31-August 9, 2009 in Playa Hermosa near Jacó in Costa Rica. Ureña hopes to welcome an international surfing contingent of 40 countries to the competition when the first horn blows.

The attainment of the Billabong ISA 2009 WSG for Costa Rica has become the pinnacle of organizational management for the FSC, and was years of board of directors work led by President Ureña, who put Costa Rica in the running and attended the meetings in a number of countries to make the final result a reality.

Costa Rica was favored among Brazil and South Africa, as well other hopeful nations that distinguished themselves with high quality world class surf. The reason for the ISA concession to Costa Rica for 2009, Ureña said, is that the FSC has shown a dedication in its years since its 2003 inception by attending all the worldwide commitments with a full National Costa Rican Surf Team and staff.

In addition, the geographic location of Costa Rica makes it an easy-to-reach destination for many delegations of the Americas to attend an international championship for the very first time — a desire of the ISA for sometime now.

It also helped that Costa Rica is one of the most popular surf destinations in the world. The ISA scheduled the date of the Billabong 2009 World Surfing Games in Playa Hermosa one week after the completion of next year’s ASP U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, a tournament attended by hundreds of the top surfers in the world.

This way, the competitors can finish at the U.S. Open and then travel to Costa Rica

“It is the best thing that can happen to a country concerning surf for Costa Rica to obtain the World Surfing Games,” affirmed Ureña. “And for 80 million people around the world to see the competition on the internet, what could be better for tourist promotion? It will be useful to promote the country during the championship, get the very important message out that Costa Rica offers one of the 10 best surf destinations on the globe.”

At present, Costa Rica’s surf tourism represents a 20 percent annual income for the country. According to data generated by the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism (ICT), almost 200,000 surfers from other countries visited in 2007.

For this new sponsorship between the ISA and Billabong, the internet broadcast will be transmitted live on the internet in four languages to 80 million people during the eight days of the World Surfing Games.

Billabong, for its part, has confirmed the communication and promotion at the global level as it does with its two annual events in Hawaii and Tahiti for the dates of the World Championship Tour (WCT).

Playa Hermosa, in front of Hotel Terrazas del Pacífico, is the point where the World Surfing Games will be carried out and the broadcast will take place. Between the estimated 40 countries, their athletes and staffs, the ISA staff, the Federacion of Surf, and other personnel necessary to carry out the Billabong ISA 2009 WSG, the considered 500 people — aside from the thousands of national and foreign visitors who will attend the event — will open the hotel, restaurant, tourism potential and provide Jacó with more than $1 million in commerce.

The ceremony confirming Costa Rica as the tournament country for the 2009 ISA World Surfing Games will take place when the Costa Rica National Surf Team attends 2008 ISA World Surfing Games this October 11 through 19 in Costa de Caparica, Portugal.

At 2006 WSG, the Ticos were for the first time in the international Top 10, when they reached No. 8, besides their magnificent fourth place action in the Nation’s Cup Tag Team event.

As to the kickoff event in 2009, the inauguration would be composed of the traditional Parade of Nations through the main Jacó avenue to arrive at the ceremonial “Sands of the World,” the act where all the countries contribute their respective beach sands into one vat, followed by the protocol of announcements and political personalities.

The final days celebration in Jacó will close the avenue with celebrations with the new champions of the world, complete with live bands, DJs, and games that will reach out onto Jacó Beach as well.

Leading up to and during the Billabong 2009 ISA World Surfing Games, the Municipality of Jacó, in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Asociación Procultura y Desarrollo de Jacó, will launch its promotional campaign called “Jacó Land of Adventures and City of the Surf.”

This will be a radical change forward in an effort to draw strong investments as much as to reinforce the security and other important supports for the well-being of the national and international tourists.

One of its main goals will be the creation of an attractive boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists which will extend end-to-end of Jacó Beach and the official inauguration of the Municipal Park located on the main street of Jacó.

The government of Jacó declared that the Billabong 2009 ISA World Surfing Games will be an international opportunity to promote “Jacó Land of Adventures and City of the Surf” in Costa Rica, as well as abroad, thanks to the important influence of the press from the 40 countries that will be in Costa Rica during the week of July and August of the next year.