By Ellen Zoe Golden Photo by: Alfredo Barquero courtesy: Federación de Surf de CR
Leave it to multiple International Surfing Association (ISA) medal winner Leilani McGonagle of Pavones to be disappointed with a 3rd place finish and a new bronze medal from her work in Biarritz, France at last month’s ISA World Surfing Games.
After smashing through heat after heat she found herself in the first semi-finals early in the week. On her final waves she passed as #1 into the finals.
Yet, in the final, France prevailed, with McGonagle trailing at 3rd behind locals Pauline Ado at 1st and Johanne Defay in 2nd, with Bianca Buitendag of Russia rounding out the podium in 4th place.
“I’m happy because the final was good with all the elite competitors from the World Tour (WCT),” she said. “I just wanted to do the best I could for my country. The truth is that this was less than I wanted as I was looking for the gold medal for the team. But if it could not be this time, maybe in the future.”
This bronze medal is the 5th one of that type she’s earned since 2014 in Junior and World Championships. Her total of 10 includes 3 in Juniors (2014 silver and copper, 2016 bronze) and two in World Open (2015 silver and now 2017 bronze).
McGonagle also has 5 team medals including the best in the world gold, and some from Tag Team competitions. Our other woman, Emily Gussoni of Jacó, reached 25 out of the 96 women competitors in France.
As THE Tamarindo News went to press, the men were at work at the World Surfing Games. All four of them—of Jason Torres (Jacó), Anthony Fillingim (Malpaís), Leo Calvo (Pavones), Jair Pérez (Jacó)—took 1st place in Round 1, and so far in Round 2, Fillingim continued the streak with his top placement and pass to Round 3.
The others were scheduled to surf when the swell picked back up. The waves in Biarritz, so far, were very disappointing.
Former WCT pro and Costa Rica’s coach Jim Hogan said: “The priority here is everything. By the conditions of the waves, by the rounds that are becoming more intense, the correct use of the priority is as important as surfing well each wave. Anthony correctly selected his waves today and that made him come out of the water with a big win. I love that the team is so close. The Costa Rica national surf team, apart from being an incredible team, it is a family. That is a tool for me that I have been using and the results have been positive.”
This year’s Games featured a recordbreaking 47 countries with teams up against Costa Rica. The final placements can be found at: www.surfingcr.net
Two more contests in Costa Rica’s Circuito Nacional de Surf Kolbi 2017 have been completed which means the men, women, boys and girls are much closer to finding out who will be this year’s national champions. Starting with the Copa OTIS – Beach Club in Santa Teresa, the big winners were Jason Torres (Jacó) and Zulay Martínez (Tamarindo), in the Open and Women’s respectively.
This was Torres second 1st place showing this season, while Martinez’s win was her first this year. “I’m very happy indeed,” explained Torres.
“I had almost 20 days without surfing with very little expectation of winning. Already in the final, I knew that if I was patient, I could play a good role. The strategy worked and now I am motivated to re-train hard.” And just last month, current national champions Anthony Fillingim and Leilani McGonagle won their categories at the Copa OTIS – Beach Club in Guiones in Nosara.
“If Jair, Jason and I made it to the final three, it’s because Jim Hogan put us there,” Fillingim said.
“The strategy worked, we worked as a team all weekend and the results came. I’m very happy to get another win here like the previous year and defend my national title.”
With only two national contests left, the rankings leaders are Torres (Open), Martínez (Women’s), Oscar Ubina (Juniors), Coral Wiggins (Junior Women’s), Ubina (Boys), Valenta Resano (Girls), Tao Rodriguez (Grommets), Kalani Abrahao (Minigrommets), and Candelaria Resano (Minigrommets Girls). And finally, the Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf completed its grand finales last month at the Copa Hotel Playa Negra.
The new Guanacaste champions for 2017 are Fillingim (Open), Valentina Resano (Women’s), Dean Vandewalle (Junior), Malakai Martínez (Boys Under 16), Resao (Girls Under 16), Aaron Ramirez (Boys Under 14), Candelaria Resano (Girls Under 14) and Gal Bepmale (Grommets).
Please feel free to contact me at EllenZoe@aol.com with any comments or surfing news.