San Jose, COSTA RICA November 9, 2009 – The 12 men and women who have been selected for the Costa Rica National Surf team begin the 9th edition of the PanAmerican Surfing Games today and will continue until the 15th with the unique goal of finishing in the top 5 countries at the conclusion.
The list of Costa Rican competitors are:
Open: Gilbert Brown/Puerto Viejo, Jair Pérez/Jaco, Jason Torres/Jaco and Isaac Vega/Tamarindo.
Junior: Anthony Segura/Jaco, Carlos Muñoz/Esterillos, Jordan Hernández/Limon and Anthony Fillingim/Jaco.
Women's: Lisbeth Vindas/Jaco and Nataly Bernold/Jaco.
Longboard: Anthony Flores/Jaco and Esteban Leiton/Jaco.
For this competition, the Costa Rica National Surf Team will be incomplete, lacking three bodyboarders, two masculine and one female. For economic reasons, the Costa Rica could not fulfill that catagory which the PanAmerican Association of Surf asks for in competition.
"For the PanAmerican game, like the Central American Surf Championships, each athlete paid for his airline ticket due to the lack of sponsors that we have had on other occasions. But this year has been difficult, to a large extent due to the extensive international competitive schedule which is so tight," declared José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica, and the Technical Director of the Costa Rica National Surf Team.
Accompanying Ureña to Brazil will be Technical Assistant, Randall Chávez. Unfortunately, the Costa Rican judge, Alex Valverde, who is certified by the International Surfing Association (ISA), will not be on the panel of judges at this PanAmerican Surfing Games, due to a family emergency that will prevent him from traveling.
Nevertheless, Costa Rica arrives in Brazil with a slew of great talent and youth, combined with some athletes of experience, who fortify when working together as a team. Jason Torres—current Central American Surf Champion, Carlos Muñoz—current Costa Rica National Surf Champion, and Nataly Bernold—current Central American Women's Surf Champion are but three of the strongest coming to play. The Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica expects them to surprise at Olivence, which is a beach break similar to Jaco.
Two-time Costa Rica National Champion Gilbert Brown, and 7-time Costa Rican Women's National Champion Lisbeth Vindas factor in experience. Brown had the best representation of a Tico in a PanAmerican back in Chile 2007 when he earned a Bronze medal in the Open division.
On the other hand, the Costa Rica National Surf Team take several surfers on the rise, like Jair Pérez in Open or Jordan Hernandez in Junior, two surfers that customarily fight in the last rounds thanks to the level they've reached in the last months of the Circuito Nacional de Surf. They are known to surprise at any time.
According to Ureña, each of the divisions contains a competitor that could potentially emerge as a champion tico in Brazil, as did Torres in the Junior category when he earned the first gold medal ever for a Costa Rican.
"Sincerely, the sports mentality of our surfers is very high nowadays. The World Surfing Games in Costa Rica this past August fortified this in them 200 percent. So, the confidence we have today in our athletes for events like this is very high and gives us much security," said Ureña.
The IX PanAmerican Surfing Games is an event where 20 countries compete, including Latin American nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as the host team Brazil. For Costa Rica, this is a continuation of a dream to continue harvesting medals that began in 2003 when they went to Ecuador. Costa Rica will be the host of this event in 2013, according to the last meeting of the PanAmerican Surfing Association. Two years from now in 2011, the PanAmerican Surfing Games will take place in Guadalupe.
IMPORTANT MEDALS OF THE TICOS IN THE PAN-AMERICAN GAMES OF SURF
2003 Salinas, Ecuador:
Bronze medal for the team.
2005 Lima, Perú:
Copper medal for the team
Federico Pilurzu Copper medal Open
Jason Torres Gold medal Junior
2007 Iquique, Chile
Copper medal for team
Gilbert Brown Bronze medal Open