CARLOS MUÑOZ & JASON TORRES ENTER TOP 8 IN THE WORLD AT THE BILLABONG ISA WORLD SURFING GAMES COSTA RICA 2009
Playa Hermosa, COSTA RICA August 5, 2009 – With a day of competition at the Billabong International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games Costa Rica 2009 that started with sun, included rainstorms, and was put on hold for 2 ½ hours by a power outage, the Costa Rica National Surf Team are proud that their Open surfers Carlos Muñoz of Esterillos and Jason Torres of Jaco won their heats and entered into the elite Top 8 competitors of repercharge and the qualifier main event respectively. In doing so, Muñoz and Torres join the best of the best of the world’s surfers and keep the country in the Top 4, possibly higher.
The day began first thing in the morning with the long-awaited Open qualifying Round 4 that pit Costa Rica’s Jason Torres in the same heat with his countryman and teammate Gilbert Brown of Puerto Viejo. Toughening up the challenge were Jeremy Flores of France and Hank Gaskell of Hawaii. Torres calmly surfed out front early, while Brown started strong, but in a move now seemingly common to the Tico team, interfered on Flores and ended up in 4th place and repercharge. Gaskell was 2nd and Flores was 3rd. Torres, however, rolls over to the Top 8 in the world.
Brown had a second chance today in repercharge and he surfed great, but the waves weren’t with him. He ended up with a 3rd place finish and out of the World Surfing Games. Brown’s high finish, however, added critical points to the Costa Rica National Surf Team’s grand total. He earns a #13 ranking Open, his highest World Surfing Games number, up 2 places from #15 garnered in the World Surfing Games Huntington 2006.
At midday, the announcer told the spectators: “Get a spot on the beach for this one.” He was talking about the repercharge heat with Muñoz. Carlos did not disappoint as he came out of the gate with a one-two punch that put him right at 1st place. 7:70 into the heat, the announcer’s voice disappeared and the directive from the main tower was for the surfers to come in. A truck had hit a power line and all electricity was out in the area. This lasted for 2 ½ hours. When the heat resumed, Muñoz picked up where he left off, replaced a low score and surfed away with the heat and 1st place.
“I wasn’t stressed when the power went out and we had to wait. I came out, watched the waves, and then surfed a little more,” Muñoz explained after winning the heat. “I think I am going to pass to the finals and I think I’m going to get a medal.”
On the other hand today, the Ticos finished its appearance in the Longboard division when Antony Flores came in 3rd place in his repercharge heat. 1st place was South Africa’s Michael Hill, and 2nd place was Tahiti’s Audibert Tama.
“We are right where I thought we’d be now,” said José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica and head of the Technical Body of the Costa Rica National Surf Team. “We have two guys in semi-finals and we now expect and hope to get from this point to the finals with these two guys. With Gilbert today, it was luck. He was surfing good, there were no waves.”
With Gilbert Brown out of the World Surfing Games will his role change to team motivator?
“That’s the work we’ve been doing,” Ureña, added. “We’re a full team, until the end.”
Tomorrow, the Costa Rica National Surf Team will make its 3rd attempt at a Tag Team medal, when it goes up against Australia, the United States, Brazil, France, Portugal, South Africa and Tahiti in this special contest. The Tag Team contest is a mini-tournament within the World Surfing Games that features the best 8 teams from Portugal 2008. It gives the teams an opportunity to express their surfing advantages as a team. Costa Rica first won a copper medal for coming in 4th place in the World Surfing Games Huntington 2006. They bettered themselves in Portugal 2008 with a 3rd place finish and a bronze medal. Costa Rica hopes to capture another medal this year in this event.
Also scheduled tomorrow is another heat featuring Carlos Muñoz. The 16-year-old will face off with his competitors in repercharge Round 7, Heat 1 at 7:30 a.m. The heat was postponed from today because of the power outage.
Later in the day, expect to see Round 5 of the Open qualifying heat 1 with Jason Torres.
To watch all the action of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games Costa Rica 2009, please go to www.surfingcr.net.
CARLOS MUÑOZ AT THE BILLABONG ISA WORLD SURFING GAMES COSTA RICA 2009
PHOTO BY FABIAN SANCHEZ