Playa Olivenca de Ilhéus – Bahia, BRAZIL, November 15, 2009 – Riding on the extraordinary surfing of a slew of Ticos, the best of whom ended up in 2nd place overall in the IX Pan American Surfing Games, the Costa Rica National Surf Team today made history by placing 2nd in the Games that took place at Playa Olivenca de Ilhéus – Bahia, Brazil.
With the skills of Jason Torres earning his first silver medal in the Open, Costa Rica secured its 4th consecutive pódium visit at the PanAmerican Surfing Games since 2003. In this opportunity, however, rather than mining Bronze and Copper as before, the overall points earned by the team resulted in their earning a silver medal and a subchampionship at these PanAmerican Surfing Games.
This team silver medal is even more significant since Costa Rica competed in Brazil with an incomplete team. From the nine selections that arrived here, only Peru, Venezuela and Guadalupe brought the full 15 athletes for the 6 categories. Costa Rica took 8 competitors.
"We do not really believe it," said José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica and Technical Director of the Costa Rica National Surf Team. "The praises of the other teams and people who followed up in these competitive days came at us from all sides. It's not something that we can say enough, but the work that we managed to do has been even better because we arrived here with only 60 percent of a team."
Torres ended up in the final heat by winning 2nd place in Repercharge Heat 6, where he bested the other high-ranking Costa Rican Jair Pérez. Pérez ended these PanAmerican Surfing Games ranked #5.
The final heat of the event was actually won by Brazilian Ruda Carvalho, and also featured besides Torres, Venezuelan Rafael Pereira and Brazilian Franklin Serpa. The 25 minutes provided a great end, where Asociacion Latin American Surfing Champion Pereira in his first route, put out the best wave of the series with 8.83—a magnificient demonstration of radical 360 air. Torres, who impressed the judges, imitated the Venezuelian in a maneuver, but only scored 6.83. The attacks of the Brazilians almost immediately sent the Tico to 4th position. During the last 5 minutes, Carvalho managed sufficient risk to jump to champion with a combination of 14.56, while Torres urged on with a 6.51 to bounce into 2nd.
Counting down, a true race ensued between Torres and Serpa that stayed strick and managed to bring the Tico a wave that would ultimately surpass need. It arrived in the form of a 6.67 and the cementing of the silver.
Torres has made history before in the PanAmerican Surfing Games: he holds Costa Rica's only gold medal—for Juniors in 2005 Peru.
The points Torres earned in Brazil, along with the higher rankings of the rest of the Costa Ricans, brought the team its 4th consecutive podium visit since 2003. In Ecuador 2003, there were 3rd place, 4th place 2005 in Peru, and 4th place 2007 in Chili. Now they rise to 2nd place in Brazil.
"Hopefully, this arrives for all to see this institution of surfing doing well in Costa Rica, so that people can support it and see that it gives a lot of merit to the country. We arrived incomplete because of the price of the airline tickets being so expensive, so I want to be thankful to the surfers we had and be pleased that they made Costa Rica the second best surfing nation on the American continent," exclaimed Ureña.
CHAMPIONS IX PANAMERICAN SURFING GAMES 2009
Open: Ruda Carvalho (Brazil)
Junior: Gabriel Medina (Brazil)
Longboard: Phil Rajzman (Brazil)
Women's: Camila Casia (Brazil)
Bodyboard Female: Isabela Souza (Brazil)
Bodyboard Male: Uri Valadao (Brazil)
1. Brazil 34632 points
2. Costa Rica 24037 points
3. Guadalupe 23646 points
4. Perú 21416 points
5. Venezuela 21336 points
6. Chile 20460 points
7. Argentina 19773 points
8. Ecuador 3040 points
9. Guatemala 2720 points
COSTA RICA RANKINGS
Jason Torres 2nd
Jair Pérez 5th
Carlos Muñoz 7th
Isaac Vega 9th
Carlos Muñoz 6th
Anthony Fillingim 8th
Jordan Hernández 17th
Nataly Bernold 29th
Nataly Bernold 5th
Lisbeth Vindas 9th
Jason Torres 9th
Esteban Leiton 11th
Isaac Vega 13th
Anthony Fillimgim 13th
Lisbeth Vindas 7th