Crocodile Sighting Puts WQS Event On Hold In Costa Rica
Contest stopped, search conducted, contest resumes, competitors nervous.
Newport Beach super grom, Tyler Gunter, claims to have seen a crocodile during his heat at the QS3000 Essential Costa Rica Open in Playa Esterillo earlier today.
“That was crazy, I’m still pretty tripped out by it,” he told Stab. “I was sitting with first priority and saw something big swim by and I was like, ‘did you see that?’, but nobody saw at first. Then me and another guy say to each other, ‘let’s paddle down the beach’ – we paddled down and it followed us, and then it submerged in front of us. We saw the whole thing – it was probably six to eight feet long. I went under a wave then paddled halfway in and thought, ‘I want to keep surfing this heat,’ so I paddled back.”
After paddling into a wave, however, the croc “rushed” young Gunter.
“I was paddling into a wave and saw it rush at me and went on the wave and went left into the closeout instead of going right, and went straight to the beach,” he told Stab.
The contest was reportedly halted while local authorities searched for the croc. When it wasn’t found, heats resumed.
Malia Ward, daughter of professional surfer Chris Ward, who surfed the evening of the attack, also spoke to Stab:
“I heard there is a river mouth not too far from the event which is probably where the thing came from,” she said. “My boyfriend Conrad and I went for a surf right after hearing about it and after the sun went down. It was really spooky, especially with the murky water and no one out. We saw a fat boil and gunned it to the beach! As a competitor, I’m terrified for tomorrow but my mom sent me some great tips on how to attack back so I’m READY. WSL should post some strategies about how to fight a croc in a heat.”
In July this year, American surfer Arthur Becker lost his right leg in a crocodile attack at Tamarindo, four hours north of Playa Esterillo.
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