The Costa Rica National Surf Team, for the third consecutive time in the three-year history of the Central American Surf Championship tournament, once again won the coveted trophy this weekend. The award was bestowed yesterday, in Playa Venao, Provincia de Todos Los Santos, Panamá, to the 15-member National Selection, who had finished three-days competition in the III Campeonato Centroamericano de Surf de Panamá 2008.

In addition to the overall title and trophy, Jaco’s Jason Torres and Nataly Bernold, surfed to 1st placed in the Open and Women’s categories and were rewarded for their work at the Central American Surf Championships. This, after two years in the tournament where both athletes managed to be left as runners-up—2nd place in 2006 and 2007.

The Open division’s final heat was filled entirely with Ticos. Torres, Matías Braun (Montezuma), and Luis Vindas (Jaco) stole the show for those who were waiting until the end of the event in Venao. Thus, Torres’ surge—obtained in strong onshore winds as the heat entered its last minutes—included two waves: one of 6.5, and one last one of 9.0. This left Braun as the 2nd place finisher, although, he was, without a doubt, the surfer who gave the public two days of spectacular surfing, including Saturday’s perfect 10.00 wave.

“All at the end of the Open heat, I remembered everything in the past two years, and I thought, this time, I could not waste the opportunity to finally be #1 in Central America. And, I did it,” said a euphoric Torres once he left the water.

For her Women’s division, Nataly Bernold, surrounded by Panamanians in the final heat, managed to demonstrate her talent and capacity to meet a challenge at critical moments of competition. This year, she added an international titled to her personal account. This was a major surprise, considering that two-time Central American Surf Champion Lisbeth Vindas (Jaco) did not manager to classify for the semifinals, where she was passed by Panamanians Sonia García and Tanya Correa. It looked like Vindas suffered from bad wave selection, and this resulted in her losing her title.

“To tell the truth, I am very I happy,” exclaimed Bernold. “I pursued this so hard, and after three years I obtained it. Now, I need to move ahead and get more international titles. That is my priority.”

In the Juniors, the only Tico left in the finals, Jaco’s Anderson Tascón, did not rise any further than 4th place, allowing the Nicaraguan Rex Calderón the much-deserved title with an exquisite handling of his board. In this category, the Juniors of Costa Rica who were in the semifinals—Jairo Pérez (Jaco) and Carlos Muñoz (Esterillos)—remained stragglers.

The female Bodyboarder Jimena Calvo (Jaco) surfed excellent for her country at the III Campeonato Centroamericano de Surf de Panamá 2008. She fought very hard in her final heat and harvested her first international title for Bodyboard Women’s. In the masculine Bodyboard division, Joan Mojica and Jeffrey Gómez (both Jaco) also made it to the finals. While their performances were of top-quality, just Mojica earned the subchampionship.

In Longboard, again the Ticos made the final heats with both Cedric Auffret (Tamarindo) and Mauricio Umaña (Jaco) surfing for the trophies. However, 1st place went to Wilbert Alvarenga of El Salvador.

“We obtained objective number one and we took the title for our country,” said José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica and the Technical Director of the Costa Rica National Surf Team. “Although we did not win every single individual category, that was not my favorite thing, Jason is the Open Champion and Nataly the Women’s Champion. And, we ARE the Central American Surf Champions and that is the reason we came!”

As to the feeling of Costa Rica National Surf Team themselves: “OE, OE, OE, OE, OE, TICOS, TICOS,” rang the shouts from the winners platform on Playa Venao as the Ticos raised their Central American Surf Championship trophy high above their heads.

Results III Campeonato Centroamericano de Surf de Panamá 2008:

1) Costa Rica

2) Panama

3) Nicaragua

4) El Salvador

5) Guatemala