Nataly Bernold Catching a Wave (Photo: Philippe Demarsan)
Costa Rica’s National Surf Team returned home to base camp yesterday, jubilant and elated with their victories in Portugal. They had been competing in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG) in Costa de Caprica, in the province of Almada. The events lasted for eight days of intense competition and included a massive 233 surfers from 29 countries.
The Tico team concluded with three of their surfers in the final top 10, an immense achievement. For their overall performance, the Costa Ricans were ranked at a historic #5. This is an improvement of three positions from their #8 in the 2006 WSG in California, U.S. Their accomplishment was slightly marred with frustration, however, as the Ticos learnt on Sunday that they lost fourth place by just a single point: 11,819 for the French, and 11,818 for the Costa Ricans.
Individual stars for the 2008 WSG are Jason Torres at #5, Luis Vindas at #6 and the young Nataly Bernold at #6 in the Women’s competition. What is more, a world record was set by Torres, who reached the highest position for any Latino. This equals the mark of Peru’s Gabriel Villaran in the 2004 WSG in Ecuador. Other results include Jairo Péres at #22, Gilbert Brown at #29 and Lisbeth Vindas for the Women’s at #25. Those to score best and return home with medals were Australia at #1, United States at #2 and Brazil at #3.
Perhaps what brought about their triumphant successes was the overwhelming sense of team spirit within the Costa Rica surfing camp. Top surfer and highest Costa Rican scorer Torres admitted that he felt no nervousness when competing, knowing that his team mates back on the beach were behind him all the way. “The way we would meet each night, the way we prayed together. Everybody supported me. I was never doubtful,” reported Torres. “I feel really happy, but seriously, I’m numb.”
José Ureña, Technical Director of the Costa Rica National Surf Team and the President of the Costa Rica Surf Federation (FSC), also affirmed this group courage. “We obtained a great record, thanks to a great unity that we were able to maintain,” Ureña commented. The Tico team is now looking forward to the 2009 Billabong WSG, to be held at home in Playa Hermosa near Jaco for the first time ever. The FSC will send out invitations to 50 national surf teams, welcoming the best selected riders from each country.
Having had a taste of this sweet success, the Costa Ricans will be seeking a more global dominance in Playa Hermosa. “Our rivals now are greater. Our next goal is to be champions of the world,” continued Ureña. We wish them mucha suerte!
Use the 2009 WSG as a great excuse to travel to Costa Rica! Seek out some sun, sea and sand at www.vacationscostarica.com.
|Written by Claire Saylor|
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Filed under: Surf on October 21st, 2008