Stab Magazine | Almost 200,000 Expected To Attend Costa Rican Surfing Event

Almost 200,000 Expected To Attend Costa Rican Surfing Event

The Ticos love their surfing!

news // Oct 5, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Costa Rica is home to dozens of incredible waves and surfers, but due to its geographical and surfeopolitical postion, the pura vidanation doesn’t receive the same financial and media support as other surfing locales. 

With the WSL’s Essential Costa Rica Pro coming to Playa Jaco this weekend, that may be changing.

After losing its sole Qualifying Series event in 2017, Costa Rica is back on the WSL schedule in 2018, thanks to the support of RPMTV, a Costa Rica-based event production company.

“Costa Rica is a global surf destination with incredible beaches and world-class surfing talent,” Brian Robbins, WSL North American Tour manager, told the Tico Times. “Those are great reasons to return to Costa Rica.”

Costa’s finest export, Carlos Munoz, samples the country’s tastiest offerings.

Playa Jaco also played host to the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games, which brought tens of thousands of spectators to the tourist destination. With the Essential Costa Rica Pro, RPMTV is expecting that number to grow even further, going so far as to claim that 170,000 people could visit over the long weekend.

Those numbers might look inflated to the Western eye, but that’s because surfing in Costa Rica is more than just a fun pastime – it’s a path to national pride.

In 2015, Costa Rica won the ISA World Games on the back of countryman Noe Mar McGonagle, who dominated the overall Men’s division. For such a small surfing nation to conquer the world was uplifting for all Ticos, which is what led to their massive turnout and support at the following year’s event.

Just a sample.

A similar thing happened in 2014 when Costa Rica, a country whose population is but half of New York City’s, made it to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals. Through that historic run the country came together in a way that would be impossible for larger, more segmented nations, and it appears surfing has the same effect.

Currently Costa Rica has three surfers within the WSL’s top-100 of their respective genders. Carlos Munoz is Costa Rica’s highest ranking male, sitting 55th on the Men’s Qualifying Series. Noe Mar McGonagle follows closely behind at 65th, while his younger sister, Leilani, resides at number 18 on the Women’s QS.

“Representing Costa Rica means everything to me,” Leilani told Stab

All three of these surfers will compete in the Essential Pro, which is on hold today due to stormy local conditions. The weather is expected to clear over the weekend, which will allow for cleaner surf and more beachgoing spectators.

So whether you live in America, Australia or beyond, it’s important to keep in mind just how important surfing is for less publicized nations around the world. Just ask the 170,000 people expected to attend a low-level QS event this weekend in Costa Rica.


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