By Ellen Zoe Golden Photos by: WSL / Masurel
At press time, the Costa Rica national Junior Surf Team is in Huntington Beach, California to compete in the International Surf Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships. They run from October 26 to November 3. Among team (listed on Page 22) are a few new faces, who Costa Rica’s team coach Jim Hogan selected based on what he felt was a great season on the Circuito Nacional de Surf, as well as their showing in the pre-selection process that took place in two camps in two months.
What follows are the Junior team’s final standings in the last 10 years: 2009
Ecuador: 10th 2011
Peru: 13th 2012
Panama: 11th 2013
Nicaragua: 12th 2014
Ecuador: 11th 2015
USA: 8th 2016
Portugal: 7th 2017
Japan: 7th 2018
Malakai Wins a Pro Junior
The astonishing surfer from Tamarindo, Malakai Martínez, added another accolade to his already impressive pedigree with his win at the Ribeira Grande Pro Junior in Azores, Portugual, claiming victory in his Final against Kauli Vaast of France. This was stop 5 of the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) European Junior Qualifying Series (JQS).
Reported the WSL: “Martínez who stepped into the spotlight on Day 1 with an electric performance in Round 2 continued to wreak havoc in the European field all the way to the Final where he met with rankings leader Vaast. After an exciting back-and-forth battle, the Costa Rican came out victorious for the first time on the junior tour.
After displaying impressive talent above the lip in almost all his prior heats, Martínez this time won the battle fair and square on the rail, proving the full extent of his repertoire, including in the small surf.”
Said Martínez afterwards: “I’m super happy to take the win today, before that my best result was a fourth place. I came here to celebrate my best friend (Tiago Carrique)’s birthday and unfortunately I’m the one who ended his title run yesterday. I was here once before for the ISA event and I love it, it’s super nice. Waves are fun, even when it’s super small there’s still push and enough to do airs and have fun.”
ISA World Championships in Japan In September, the best surfers in the world—both professional and amateur— participated in the most important World Cup competition in the ISA’s history. The reason that surfers from the World Championship Tour (WCT, including Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Julian Wilson, Gabriel Medina, Jeremy Flores, and Costa Rica’s own Brisa Hennessy, among others) were encouraged to do this non-paying tournament was the fact that the contest was designated for Olympic classification. In other words, the results would be included in qualifications for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic teams. Taking place in Miyazaki, Japan, the Costa Rican team included Hennessy, Noe Mar and sister Leilani McGonagle, Jair Pérez, Eva Woodland, and Carlos Muñoz, who were among the 240 athletes from 55 countries. In the end, Costa Rica placed at #8 overall. Both Muñoz and Hennessy’s individual performances also ranked them in the Top 11.
“This competition is one of the most difficult in which I have participated, including the many CT’s,” said Hennessy. “Everybody here wanted to win first place because this would be for our countries and also to fulfil our quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”