By Ellen Zoe Golden
Two surfers added to their already impressive pedigrees. International star Noe Mar McGonagle of Pavones happened to be back in Costa Rica for the Kölbi Circuito Nacional de Surf presented by Junta de Protección Social, and his experience led to a victory at the Gran Final in Hermosa.
While Avellana’s Rubiana Brownell doesn’t have a global surf record, she does tend to win repeatedly at home, and the Gran Finals were no exception. While these accomplishments had no effect on the 2019 national Open championship—Jair Perez got that honor a few months ago—this year’s Women’s surf champion Brownell capped another spectacular national competitive season in Hermosa. Brownell has won five titles in just two years including Junior Women’s and Girls. McGonagle hadn’t won a national contest here in six years, but he isn’t participating all that much at home.
And so comes to a close the 20th year of the Circuito and the Costa Rican Federación of Surf. Carlos Muñoz of Esterillos is dangerously close to his dream of competing in the World Championship Tour (CT) nafter making it to the quarterfinals and a 5th place at the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill. The first Men’s QS 10000 of the season took place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa last month, and gained the attention of the World Surf League (WSL). Muñoz looks “poised to play front roles in the qualifying race later this season,” they said, and at this moment is at #7 in the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings. He needs to be in the Top 6 to make the move to the bigger, renowned CT.
For the third time this year, Leilani McGonagle of Pavones, earned a great result in a WSL QS event. Also at the Ballito Pro in South Africa, she scored a 2nd place finish in the QS1000 bested only by the local surfer, Sarah Baum, and only by .8 points!
“You win sometimes, you lose sometimes and you stay second sometimes,” McGonagle reported afterwards. And she can definitely attest to that philosophy, with a 1st place trophy at the Krui Pro QS1000 in Indonesia, and 13th place at the Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro in Australia. An expert at surfing Costa Rica and the rest of the world, McGonagle currently sits at #30 on the Women’s QS rankings, and she will need to perform well at the two upcoming events, the Nissen Super Girl Pro QS6000 in Oceanside, California and the Vans US Open of Surfing QS10000 in Huntington, California to beef up her point score and head up the chart to the coveted Top 6 for an opportunity to join Tica Brisa Hennessy on the CT.
Anthony Fillingim flying high at Vans Surf Open Acapulco in Mexico. Anthony Fillingim vuela alto en el Vans Surf Open en Acapulco, México. Continuación P.30 > SPORTS I DEPORTES At this moment, Hennessy is #9 on the CT in her debut year on that top-tier professional tour. She tallied a 5th place finish at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, 3rd place at the Corona Bali Protected, and a 5th place at Margaret River Pro. Nice. And her purse is nearly $105,000 so far this year. Then there’s the attention that the surfing of Anthony Fillingim has been doing in his own run of the Men’s QS. Away from his home in Santa Teresa, Fillingim pushed through three rounds of the Vans Surf Open Acapulco QS1000 presented by Corona in Mexico. The WSL reported that he “stole the show” with a near-perfect 9.17 after soaring through an air-reverse in Round 2.
Fillingim scored another 9 points in Round 3, before finishing last in Round 4. “It’s been four years since I’ve been back to Acapulco and to be here again feels great,” Fillingim said.
“I’ve been hanging out with all the Mexican surfers and they’re like my brothers so it makes it feel like home. I went for an air in that Round 3 heat just before my 9 and fell so I had to tell myself that I had it. I’m just trying to get points and move up into a spot that gets me in the QS 6,000s but also prepare for the Pan Am games later this month so this is a great warm up for that as well.”