Leilani McGonagle of Pavones, Costa Rica Achieving International Glory May 06 2015

Costa Rica's Leilani McGonagle of Playa Pavones, just won her fourth and most outstanding international medal to become the first Costa Rican to achieve this level of success.

This past week, Leilani won the Ripcurl Grom Search 2015 International Final held in Maresias, Brazil, an acclaimed event hosted this year by ASP number one ranked surfer of 2014, Brazil's own Gabriel Medina. Surfers arrived from around the globe to compete in this prestigious event. Leilani won the sub 16 division, putting up a fight to emerge with an excellent combination score to surpass Australia's Jalessa Vicente. Leilani also had the best two wave combination score in the semi finals, a 15.50.

Leilani said the victory was especially meaningful because winners from previous years have gone on to compete on the World Surf League professional tour. Some of these well known surfers include Australian Tyler Wright and Hawaiians Tatiana Weston Web and Alana Blanchard. 

Leilani's other three international medals include two from the ISA (International Surfing Association) Junior World Cup and one from the ISA Mundial in China. Besides being stoked by the level of success achieved by previous winners of the Rip Curl Grom Search International Final, Leilani was proud for the Costa Rican flag to be raised for a new international title.

Congratulations on your continued hard work and successes, Leilani. You are a role model for surfers and young people everywhere by your humility and perseverance in the midst of all your accomplishments and challenges. 

Special thanks to Carlos Brenes and the Federación de Surf Costa Rica for information to help write this article, as well as ripcurl.com. Photos provided by the Federación de Surf Costa Rica. 


Kate is the owner of Pura Vida Board Gear, a surf brand that promotes surf and a quality, positive lifestyle. Currently living near Playa Jacó, Costa Rica. she enjoys connecting with the culture and diversity of the community. Connect with her on instagram @puravidaboardgear Find Pura Vida Board Gear on Facebook. Subscribe to email list here.  Photo: Jorge A. Russell, Playa Jaco