By Ellen Zoe Golden Photo by WSL/Freesurf/Heff
Tamarindo was, once again, the location of the kickoff for the 5th season of the KIA Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf and two very familiar names on the national (and international) competitive tours took home the top prizes which included nice checks. The top winners for the Copa Witch’s Rock were Angelo Bonomelli for Open and Emily Gussoni for Women’s. This was the 1st stop on a 5-beach tournament that will go to Marbella, Avellanas, Santa Teresa, before the finals in Playa Negra.
The final was not easy for Bonomelli, especially since it featured up-andcoming pros Dean Vandewalle and Malakai Martínez, as well as the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Top 100 competitor, International Surfing Association (ISA) gold medalist and recent silver medalist in the Central America Games, Noe Mar McGonagle.
Martínez, who came in 2nd in the Open, won the Juniors category. With this win, Bonomelli begins a journey towards becoming the province’s champion, alongside previous winners Isaac Vega (2013), Jason Torres (2014), Tomas King (2015) and Anthony Fillingim (2016). For her part, Gussoni also had a hard-fought battle against some other champions—Coral Wiggins and Zulay Martínez—as well as the young Rubiana Brownell, who has made quite a few podium visits herself.
Tamarindo’s waves cooperated for the contest, starting the weekend at 2-3 feet and ending off near 4 feet for the finals. The consistent offshores also helped conditions. This year, the Circuito Guanacaste de Surf kicked off a scholarship program for surfers with good academic performances.
The winners, who will have their inscriptions paid at each contest date, are: Axel Castro of Limón, Rachel Agüero from Jacó, Kenneth Peralta from Jacó, Yerald Montiel from Ostional and Bruno Moggi from Playa Negra.
The next date goes to Marbella on February 10 and 11, where the Copa Tiki Hut will take place. For the second consecutive year, Costa Rica’s national Adaptive surf team surfed well enough despite their handicaps to have one of their own make a podium placement at the 2017 Stance International Surf Association (ISA) World Adaptive Surfing Championship.
This year, the event took place in La Jolla California, and Costa Rica sent a full team that included, for the first time, a woman, Natalia Vindas, who won her own bronze medal. After facing a direct final in its AS 4 category, in front of surfers from Chile, Hawaii, and Germany, the Tica took 3rd place, a position that gives Costa Rica a total of four medals since they started participating in this event.
The Adaptive athletes, all 7 who went to California to compete among a total of 26 countries, have handicaps that require special needs to surf.
“For these athletes, there are four coaches for the functional diversity that each one has,” said the ISA trainer Gustavo Corrales.
“They have different specialists in this discipline that complement the work and in this way they manage to adapt the sport of the waves towards the needs of each person and according to the category demands for the surfing world championship. There are also four assistants who help them with logistics assistance inside and outside the competition.”
Costa Rica came in 7th place in this event. The team included Jonathan Barrantes, Ronald Obando, Ismael Araya, Juan Camacho, Matías Luna, Noe Mar goes deep in the pocket. Noe Mar se adentra en la ola. Henry Martínez, and Vindas.
After all was said and done, the Costa Rica national surf team had an amazing showing in their first Olympicrelated event, the Central America Sports Games in Nicaragua last month. The group earned 4 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal.
Those golds were earned by Carlos Muñoz in the Open, Leilani McGonagle in Women’s, the entire team medal, and the Tag Team. The event, which was included for the first time in the Central America Sports Games, took place at Playa Maderas, and needless to say, the waves were great, as were the Tico performances.
“The fact that the Costa Rica team selected earned gold was because the level here was very high,” said Muñoz.
“I have been in several Central American finals but here in Nicaragua was the first Olympic medal.”
Leilani added: “I am honored to be part of this team. I worked very hard to achieve this result, it has been a super good, fun team. Pura vida and thanks to all for the support.”
Just a final FYI, Noe Mar McGonagle finished his WSL QS year with a roller coaster ride at the Vans World Cup in Sunset Beach, Hawaii. In Round 2, he earned the second best score of the day with a 9.0 from a well-timed tube ride that was the result of his knowledge of the wave.
“It’s been really fun the last few days at Sunset so I felt like finally I’m starting to get to know the wave better this year than the last 3 years I’ve been here, I feel really comfortable and I’m stoked,” commented McGonagle.
As a native of Pavones, he had to adjust to the rights of Sunset Beach. “It’s been my weakness my whole life so I’ve been working on it a lot,” McGonagle continued.
“Spending a lot of time here in Hawaii helps, the waves are a lot more powerful. It’s paid off being here so many times and so many winters and putting time out here at Sunset, it’s paying off out here, finally.”
Althought Noe Mar did not pass from the next round, as you can see, for him, the contest was a success.
Results Copa Witch’s Rock December 16, 17, 2017
Resultados de la Copa Witch’s Rock 16 y 17 de Diciembre de 2017
Open 1. Angelo Bonomelli 2. Malakai Martínez 3. Noe Mar McGonagle 4. Dean Vandewalle
Women / Mujeres 1. Emily Gussoni 2. Rubiana Brownell 3. Coral Wiggins 4. Zulay Martínez
Junior 1. Malakai Martínez 2. Dean Vandewalle 3. Aaron Alvarez 4. Tiago Leao
Boys Under 16 Niños menores de 16 1. Dean Vadewalle 2. Jesús Pérez 3. Axel Castro 4. Tiago Leao
Girls / Niñas 1. Rubiana Brownell 2. Rachel Agüero 3. Valeria Ojeda 4. Axel Castro Boys
Under 14 Niños menores de 14
- Kai Galé 2. Axel Castro 3. Teo Galé 4. Leo Apreda
Mixed Groms Under 12 Grumete Mixto menores de 12
- Leo Apreda 2. Valeria Ojeda 3. Teo Galé 4. Ziggy Myrie
Dolphins Under 10 Delfines menores de 10
- Nico Boos 2. Taj Ellen 3. Ashton Early 4. King Eyeben 5. Jayden Vargas
The final results of the Central America Sports Games are:
Resultados finales de los Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos:
General by Country:
General por país:
- Costa Rica 8,950 pts. 2. Nicaragua 7,403 pts. 3. Panamá 6,497 pts. 4. El Salvador 4,233 pts. 5. Guatemala 3,906 pts.
- Costa Rica 58.80 2. Nicaragua 46.68 3. El Salvador 36.60 4. Panamá 34.34 5. Guatemala 24.09
- Carlos Muñoz (CRI) 18.50 2. Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 15.33 4. Jackson Obando (NIC) 14.17 5. Jason Torres (CRI) 9.67
Women’s / Mujeres
- Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 15.34 2. Valentina Resano (NIC) 11.30 3. Candelaria Resano (NIC) 8.83 4. Zulay Martínez (CRI) 7.90
- José Espinoza (NIC) 2. Edwin Pérez (PAN) 3. Amado Alvarado (SAL) 4. Felipe Avedaño (NIC)
SUP Men’s / SUP Hombres
Francisco Potoy (NIC) – 59:48 Gilberto Soto (PAN) – 59:56 Rolando Herrera (CRI) – 1:02.45 Pedro Vergara (GUA) – 1:07.14 S
UP Women’s / SUP Mujeres
Macky Samudio (PAN) – 1:08.06 Valeria Salustri (CRI) – 1:08.07 María Isabel (GUA) – 1:18.44