Torres Tames Torneo Witch’s Rock

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: January 13, 2009

Costa Rica's Circuito Nacional de SurfCOSTA RICA — When the Torneo Witch’s Rock date of Costa Rica’s Circuito Nacional de Surf (CNS) DAYSTAR 2008-09 presented by Coca Cola Zero was finished Monday, it seemed, on the surface a mild mannered day.

Perhaps it was the “conservative” surfing, as President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica José Ureña termed the restrictive stances afforded the competitors because of the traditional January Papagayo winds that blew hard offshore both days.

“Fortunately, because of those winds, we got something out of the surf, otherwise it would have been glassy,” Ureña said of the small conditions which also hindered the capacities of the top athletes in the country.

“However, I think it was a great event because it was super hard, and the surfers worked super hard even with surfing conservative to make enought points to make a good heat. It’s always nice to come to Tamarindo. We had a lot of people on the beach and a nice contest and everyone was happy.”

For Torres (Jaco), with the 3rd date of the CNS finished, and 50 percent of the countrywide route of the annual tournal also completed, he has now won his second consecutive CNS date, the other last month in Jaco.

Though the winds limited Torres’ aerial arsenal, he rallied playing it close-to-the vest, and at less than two minutes managed a nice right with his trademark 360 tail slide before exiting with a broken surfboard nose.

The competitors ranked closest to him prior to Tamarindo, left the competition in the semifinals and quarterfinals. Only previously 9th ranked Carlos Muños (Esterillos) ended up in the finals.With a 3rd place win in the Torneo Witch’s Rock, Muños does not pose a threat at the moment for Torres.

The finals of the Open category featured surfers Torres, Muños, Tamarindo’s own Federico Pilurzu, and Jaco’s Juan Carlos Naranjo, who ran one of the most thorny heats in the history of the Circuito.

The contest had also suffered from a lack of swell, and fortunately the winds afforded what waves there were with perfect peeling shapes, but no size — they were about 2-3 feet.

In addition, the trick to catching these waves was positioning behind the sandbar, a feat that Torres and Pilurzu managed, and subsequently beat the push to get off their manuvers. The latter came in 2nd place.

Torres, with a 2nd place, a 1st, and 1st, in the three dates of a 5-, 4-, and 4-star corresponding events, certainly allow for him to be the first contender for the National title this year.

However, it’s important to note that with 4 stars, 1,500 are allocated, and with the upcoming remaining dates of the 5-star (2,000 points) of Copa Balance Natural Playa Nosara and Torneo Day & Night Playa Santa Teresa, and the 6-star (2,500 points) Gran Final Terrazas Reef Playa Hermosa, some other surfer’s still have a chance.

“I feel very well physically and mentally,” said Torres. “The National title is something that I yearn for very much while competing, and if that finally comes to me this year it would be one of my great dreams.”

“Now comes a vital part of the Circuito in Nosara and Playa Carmen. These are two very important dates where all the surfers are going to worry about going as far as they can so I’m going to have to try more than ever not to lose my concentration.”

The rivalry between Costa Rica’s top two Women surfers was in full affect this weekend at the Torneo Witch’s Rock. Yet, it turned out the the 6th best Women surfer in the world according to the ISA, Nataly Bernold (Jaco) was able to outdo the 6-time Costa Rican Women’s Surf Champion Lisbeth Vindas (Jaco).

Bernold, won 1st place, while Vindas came in 2nd. He showed a fluid surfing style despite having to fight those same offshore winds and poor conditions. However, perhaps because she herself spent several of her formative training years living in Tamarindo’s nearby town of Villareal and surfing in these very parts she had the advantage for the win.

Ana Herrera of Quepos, deserves special note, because she doesn’t not usually compete in the Circuito and this weekend managed to find herself all the way in the finals and 4th place.

An upset occured in the Boys división, when Noe Mar McGonngle (Pavones) surprised everyone and took the trophy over established surfers Muños and Jordan Hernandez (Jaco).

McGonngle earned his trophy with only 12 years of age, while Muños and Hernandez have 15 and 16 years, respectively. Prior to the Torneo Witch’s Rock, Carlos had not lost so far this year in the Boys Category (nor in the Juniors, which this time he didn’t even make the finals. As discussed, he was in the Open finals.)

Monitoring the Torneo Witch’s Rock this weekend, was the ISA’s Managing Director Stephanie Keith, who arrived in Tamarindo on Friday after a couple of days of FSC meetings including a full contest site tour at Hermosa’s Terraza del Pacifico, where they reviewed the beach and the infrastructure including contest layouts, two pódiums, website and VIP areas, as well as all the logistics for the ISA Billabong 2009 World Surfing Games this August.

“What I saw looked great,” Keith explained. “I had dinner with the mayor and two representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and we discussed what the city is going to do to boost the economy, clean up and how they are going to get people to the host city.”

“And we talked about the government, pólice, fire department, working with hotels. We also reviewed, in Jaco, where the Parade of Nations will march and where the Opening ceremony will take place in the new park. We got a lot done.”

“This is the first event with Billabong, an international sponsor, and we are excited to take the World Surfing Games to the next level,” she added. “This is a big deal. In essense, this is the premier of the ISA’s biggest event ever.”

Keith than moved to Tamarindo to monitor the Torneo Witch’s Rock in order to get a sense of how the FSC run a surf contest. Overall, she says, she was pleased — “Costa Rica is very organized” — and will be back in April for a followup visit.

Saturday night, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp hosted a party where they donated a portion of the procedes to the building of sidewalks in Tamarindo. The Circuito Nacional de Surf also premiered its first DVD to the crowd.

The next date of the Circuito Nacional de Surf 2008-2009 DAYSTAR will be the Copa Balance Natural in Playa Nosara on February 6-8. It will distribute 2,000 to the winners of each category.

This date will be the final one that will determine the next National selection of the Juniors (Less than 18 years of age) who will attend the World Games in Salinas, Ecuador between March 27 and April 5.

The CNS DAYSTAR 2008-2009 presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sponsors are: 69 Slam, 911 Groovy Radio, Balance Natural, Banana Wax, Banzaii Surfboards, Billabong, Carton Surfboards, Christian Surfers, Coca-Cola Zero, Day & Night Beach Club, DAYSTAR, FCS.

Other sponsors include: Gimnasio Platinum, Gorila, Hotel Backyard, Hotel Terraza del Pacífico, Ibarquero Design, Jass Surf Shop, Mango, Powerade, Quiksilver, Quique, Redbull, Reef, Roca Bruja, Surfos Magazine, Surftech, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, WOW Surf Shop.

NOTE: For more information on the Circuito Nacional de Surf DAYSTAR 2008-09 or the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica, please go to the webpage at