Waves of Tico Talent Ready To Fire At WSL Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro October 02 2018

In a couple days, the largely popular Costa Rica surf town of Playa Jaco will be buzzing as it hosts the much anticipated Essential Costa Rica Pro. Surfers will compete from October 4th - 7th at the beach break in front of the Best Western on the north end of town. The spectacle is completely free for the public. 

The break in front of the Best Western, Playa Jaco (Courtesy Cassio Carvalho) 

The event will be the 11th stop for men and 6th for women on the World Surf League(WSL) Qualifying Series North American Tour. It is a 1500 point event that has drawn the participation of several of the best national and international competitors, including a field of 22 male and 8 female Costa Rican surfers. Carlos Muñoz is currently the highest ranked national surfer, in 55th position on the 2018 International Qualifying Series Tour. Following not too far behind is Noe Mar McGonagle, in 65th position overall. He also will be representing Costa Rica.

Carlos Muñoz, Vans US Open, Huntington Beach (Courtesy WSL/Sean Rowland)

International Recognition 

RPMTV is the producer of the Essental Costa Rica Surf Pro together with the World Surf League (WSL). The Federation of Surf Costa Rica brings both endorsement and support to the long awaited return of an event of this level to the country.  The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) is the main sponsor. 

Manrique Mata, President of RPM TV, explains that the event will allow "local surfers the opportunity to be seen internationally." 

Professional surfer Carlos Muñoz expounds on this point:

"It's important for surfers at the international level to know Costa Rica not only as a world destination for its beaches and very variable and perfect wave conditions, but also to know our culture. Now for us as Costa Ricans it is incredible to be integrated into the tour."  - Carlos Muñoz, Professional Surfer, Costa Rica 

Carlos Muñoz, Pull & Bear Pantin Classic Galicia Pro (Courtesy WSL/Damien Poullenot)

The last WSL QS Event to be held in Costa Rica was back in 2016 for a similar event in Esterillos Este. North American Tour Manager (WSL) Brian Robbins says he is "happy to see the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) step up again to give competitors a platform in their own backyard." 


The top three male surfers on the North American Qualifying Series (QS) Tour will contend for high scoring waves at the Essential Costa Rica Pro. Kevin Schulz of the United States, Lucca Mesinas of Peru, and Josh Burke of Barbados all are expected to challenge the field of male participants. Lucca Mesinas also holds the 44th position in the International World Qualifying Series Rankings. 

Kirra Pinkerton (Courtesy WSL/John Ferguson)

International women surfers signed up include Gabriela Bryan of Hawai, currently 35th on the World Qualify Series Tour and Kirra Pinkerton, in 36th position. Kirra also holds the number one spot on the North American Junior Tour for Women. Baily Nagy of Hawaii and Tessa Thyssen of France are also expected to add some heat to the ladies competition. 

Costa Rica female phenomenon Leilani McGonagle, ranked 18th on the Women's International World Qualifying Series Tour, unfortunately can not be present due to her competition schedule abroad. 


National and Local Shredders Time to Shine 

All six members of Costa Rica's National Open Surf Team are expected to perform: Men's national champion Anthony Fillingim, Jair Perez Quiroz, Tomàs King, Eva Woodland, Coral Wiggins and Zulay Martinez. Zulay drew one of the three wildcards chosen by RPMTV. The Aloha Cup team of Anthony, Jair, Eva and Coral earned a third place finish at the recent ISA World Surfing Games in Tahara, Japan. 

Zulay Martinez and members of Team Costa Rica at ISA World Surfing Games 2018 (Courtesy Federation of Surf Costa RIca) 

For some local surfers the Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro will be their first ever QS event, like 15 year old Darshan Antequerra of Playa Jacò and Cedric McCrackin of Playa Cocles, Limòn. 

"To be able to surf a World Qualifying Series event is a great priviledge and a dream for me, and even more I am happy that it is in my backyard" - Darshan Antequerra 

Darshan Antequerra, Playa Escondida (Courtesy Salt Life Pics) 

 Cedric McCrackin, Salsa Brava (Courtesy, Yilber Cortez)

Cedric is 16 years old and has been competing on the national circuit for the past five years. "This is my very first QS that I'm going to compete in. I'm excited because its in my home country and all of my friends will be there to support me," he says. Paulina Summers, Auxiela Ryan and Oscar Urbina are all from the Caribbean coast and ready to represent in top form. 

Paulina Summers, Playa Hermosa (Courtesy Alfredo Barquero) Paulina was runner up in Girls Sub 16 at the 2016 Central American Games in Playa Jacò 

"I like the waves at this break. They have really open faces and are fun to do turns on, especially at mid and high tides." - Paulina Summers 

Wild Card Entries Solid Choices 

National sub 16 boys champion, Aaron Ramirez, Top 3 Boys Kenneth Peralta and National Surf Team member Zulay Martinez were chosen as the three wild card entries on behalf of RPM TV. The Federation of Surf Costa Rica picked Anthony Fillingim and Rubiana Brownell for the other two wild card spots. Already seeded in the event, the two national champions decided to give away their wild cards to Junior Men's surfer Sebastian Mora and 12 year old dynamo Rachel Aguero.

Rubiana Brownell, Playa Avellanas (Courtesy, Avellanas Surf Photos) Rubi donated her wild card to Rachel Aguero. 

"This is my 3rd QS. I'm really looking forward to this event for the opportunity to be able to compete with all of the international talent in an atmosphere I'm comfortable in and on a wave I really enjoy surfing." Rubiana Brownell

Rachel Aguero, Playa Jaco  (Courtesy, Megwyn Saunders)

Aaron Ramirez, Playa Hermosa (Courtesy Alfredo Barquero)

Get Excited For A Great Show Of Surfing  

We look forward to seeing you this week at an event you don't want to miss. Come support our local, national and the international surfers visiting this Thursday, October 4th through Sunday October 7th at the Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro. Come early and find parking where you can as there is no designated parking area. There are excellent restaurants and shops in the area for you to enjoy all week, plus a happening night life. Step out and shine with us. 

The Aloha Cup Team, Team Costa Rica, ISA World Surfing Games (Courtesy, Federation of Surf Costa Rica)

Costa Rica Male Competitors 

Carlos Muñoz, Noe Mar McGonagle, Tomàs King, Jair Perez, Anthony Fillingim, Malakai Martinez, Andy Chacòn, Esteban Chaves, Carlos Urbina, Aldo Chirinos, Bruno Carvalho, Carlos Brown, Darshan Antequera, Axel Castro, Oscar Urbina, Sam Reidy, Bruno Moggi, Cedric McCrackin, Anthony FLores, Sebastian Mora, Aaron Ramirez, Kenneth Peralta 

Costa Rica Female Competitors 

Eva Woodland, Coral Wiggins, Zulay Martinez, Auxiela Ryan, Rubiana Brownell, Paulina Summers, Nataly Bernold, Rachel Aguero 


 Special Thanks to RPM TV, Adriana Hernàndez, the Federation of Surf Costa Rica and the World Surfing League for all your help contributing to the facts of this article.

Author Kate Hanley, Pura Vida Board Gear