Surf Report May

Written by Tamarindo News

By Ellen Zoe Golden  Photo by World Surf League/Chlala

And just like that everything changes. Last month, we were lamenting that the Costa Rican surfers were not making any great strides in their World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) dates around the world. Now, with pride and joy, there’s not one but three significant final podium visits at various QS events. These are Leilani McGonagle (Pavones), and Emily Gussoni (Jaco) in various Women’s QS dates, and  Malakai Martinez (Tamarindo) in his most recent Junior QS appearance.

In what was called “a battle of teenagers” at the Barbados Surf Pro QS3000 at Drill Hall Beach, McGonagle at 18 surfed the final man-to-man heat against Summer Macedo, 17, and came out on top in a wave-starved 30 minutes. This was her first-ever Women’s QS victory.

With a dropping swell pushing out only 2-3 feet waves, MGonagle sat out most of the final heat and only chose two waves. She sat on an average score of 5.17 until the final minute and only needing 1.43 to overtake Macedo. With just seconds remaining, she paddled into an inside wave and executed a couple of turns to score a 2.43 for the win.

“The whole heat I was just thinking that I shouldn’t go on these little waves, so I sat for the entire heat with priority,” McGonagle recounted. “With about a minute left, I knew the requirement was only a one something, so I finally committed to a little wave and got a two something. It was definitely the most stressful last five minutes I’ve ever had. I would have loved for it to be pumping and we got to go wave for wave, but we had that earlier in the event and I’m just thankful I got to showcase my surfing then. It went my way in the Final.”

With her win, brother Noe Mar hoisted her on his shoulders. He, along with Muñoz, and Tomas King were also at the Barbados Surf Pro QS 3000 in the men’s tournament.  As Noe Mar finished his performance in Round 3 and focused on a coaching role for his sister, both of the two other Ticos ended in Round 4.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard about Gussoni, and the fact that she just came in 2nd at the Krui Pro in Ujung Bocur, Indonesia is a significant comeback to the international stage.

While it might seem like a consolation prize to some, Gussoni was thrilled to get 2nd in her first-ever QS final,  the best result of her career. She dashed the hopes of Italy’s Lucia Martino in the semifinals with an impressive backhand show, but was a little out of sync in the final against Australia’s Alyssee Cooper who ultimately won.

“It was an incredible tournament with good waves (4-6 feet) and a good level of surfers,” she explained “By the time I got to the final with Australian Alysee Cooper, the frequency of the waves had dropped and she kept the priority until the last seconds. It was also a great experience, and that is what this is about, learning more and more in each tournament.”

“I thought I’d be upset, but I am actually happy. It’s a big result for me and will give me lots of confidence in the future. I absolutely love Krui, I’ll be coming back next time for sure.”

She wasn’t leaing the country right away, however for more QS date in US and Mexico, as she planned to stay there another three weeks in order to keep training.

Meanwhile, Martínez made the most of his invitation to appear at the Banzaii Pipeline Pro Juniors.  In waves that remained 10-12 feet throughout the contest, Martinez performed in an outstanding heat, beating reigning World Junior champion Finn McGill, who lives on the North Shore of Hawaii.

In the end, the tiny dynamo, who spent the last few January months in this wave, came in 4th place, his best QS position yet.

In Costa Rica, the kolbi Circuito Nacional de Surf had a good swell in Santa Teresa for the Copa Condominio Arenas last month. Hundreds of spectators watched as Tomas King and Rubiana Brownell won the contest.

In the finals, King was joined by local Anthony Fillingim, Noe Mar McGonagle, and Jose Joaquin Lopez (Jaco). King moved so far ahead with only three waves, that he put everybody in a situation to need to combo waves in order to overtake his 18.66 (9.83 and 8.83) score.

With King’s level of surfing, if he remained in Costa Rica and participated in more Circuito dates, he’d be in serious contention for the national title. Afterall, this year, he came in 2nd in Dominical and then here 1st.  But, as reported, he has an international agenda.

“For many years I have competed in Santa Teresa for this date, the waves are always good, they never fail. Today I was able to demonstrate the level of surfing I have and with this I won my first date on the Circuito,” King said.

For her part Rubiana, not only won the date, but beat the big favorite, Leilani McGonagle, along with Zulay Martinez and Eva Woodland in a final where she combined 11.87, just ahead of Martinez who scored 11.10.

“Before the tournament I knew that I needed to win to fight for my dream of being a national champion of Costa Rica,” exclaimed Brownell. “Really, I’m super happy to be able to do it in this event.”

Other highlights of the weekend were multiple category wins by Brownell, Kenneth Peralta, and Leonardo Apreda.

The next date of the kölbi Circuito Nacional presented by INS Joven and Adrenaline Rush, goes to Playa Bejuco, on May 26 and 27, where the Copa Los 40 will take place.

Copa Condominio Arenas

Santa Teresa

April 14-15, 2018


  1. Tomas King (Tamarindo)
  2. Anthony Fillingim (Santa Teresa)
  3. Noe Mar McGonagle (Pavones)
  4. José López (Jacó)

Open Women’s

  1. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
  2. Zulay Martínez (Tamarindo)
  3. Eva Woodland Solano (Florida)
  4. Leilani McGonagle (Pavones)


  1. Kenneth Peralta (Jacó)
  2. Sebastián Mora (Santa Teresa)
  3. Malakai Martínez (Tamarindo)
  4. Aaron Ramírez (Jaco)

Junior Women’s

  1. Eva Woodland Solano (Florida)
  2. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
  3. Valeria Ojeda (Jacó)
  4. Paulina Summers (Puerto Viejo)


  1. Kenneth Peralta (Jacó)
  2. Dean Vandewalle (Tamarindo)
  3. Aaron Ramírez (Jaco)
  4. Darshan Antequera (Jaco)


  1. Rubiana Brownell (Avellanas)
  2. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)
  3. Valeria Ojeda (Jacó)
  4. Paulina Summers (Puerto Viejo)


  1. Leonardo Apreda (Jaco)
  2. Axel Castro (Limón)
  3. Kai Galé (Panamá)
  4. Tosh Talbot


  1. Leonardo Apreda (Jaco)
  2. Teo Galé (Panamá)
  3. Ethan Hollander (Dominical)
  4. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)

Minigrommet Girls

  1. Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)
  2. Rachel Agüero (Jaco)
  3. Yan Harell (Santa Teresa)
  4. Máxima Resano (Nicaragua)

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