Courtesy of WSL North America
– Carlos Munoz brings men’s event title back to Costa Rica
– Rachel Presti overtakes events threats to claims maiden qs victory
– Tia Blanco and Costa Rican Noe Mar McGonagle earn runner-up finishes
– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM
|JACO, COSTA RICA (Sunday, October 7, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) Men and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 crowned Carlos Munoz (CRI) and Rachel Presti (DEU) its 2018 victors in fun, three-to-four foot conditions at Playa Jaco. It was a dream realized for Costa Ricans as one of their own brought the Essential event title back to home soil after Munoz overtook fellow Costa Rican Noe Mar McGonagle in a tight Final. This also marks a special occasion for Presti, 16, as her maiden QS victory against an in-form Tia Blanco (USA).
The Tico presence was palpable on finals day with three of its most esteemed surfers included to start Quarterfinal action as Jairo Perez (CRI) joined Munoz and McGonagle. But, it was the people’s champion Munoz who rose to the occasion and earned an excellent 8.17 (out of a possible 10) to all but solidify his second-career QS victory over finals day standout McGonagle. Munoz’s early lead was challenged by McGonagle, but his fellow Costa Rican’s backhand laid waste to the lineup in front of a massive crowd on hand to witness this momentous occasion as McGonagle then showed top class and helped chair Munoz up the beach.
“It’s just amazing and it felt like I was in a futbol stadium or something with all the noise and everybody cheering so to share this moment with them, especially my daughter and family, is incredible,” Munoz said. “Noe (Mar McGonagle) is such a great surfer and we always push each other so to have that heat with him was amazing. I’ve won a QS 1,000 and now a QS 1,500 so it’s that next level up and I hope I can continue that this year or next year. After Spain, only getting a 3-point heat total, this was a second chance and I just tried to surf it smart, and I’m just super happy to win here.”
Munoz tore through finals day starting with a tough battle against event standout Wesley Leite (BRA) in the Quarterfinals before taking on new North America No. 1 Lucca Mesinas (PER) in a wave-starved Semifinal that Munoz was still able to find a solid 14.23 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The 25-year-old now sets his sights on a much bigger dream as he prepares for the upcoming Triple Crown of Surfing this winter.
“I think it’s the first time in QS competition that this many Costa Ricans made it this far which is really exciting,” Munoz added. “For me it wasn’t a lot of pressure just being on the opposite side of the draw and I just sent good vibes that way for them because I had to surf against a Lucca (Mesinas) and Wesley (Leite). I’m going to take advantage of this win and now I’m thinking about doing the QS 1,500 in Peru to gain even more momentum, but I’ll be heading to Hawaii with my dream to qualify.”
In a stacked women’s field, 16-year-old Presti was able to overcome big odds that pushed her all the way to her first-ever QS win. Presti was in disbelief coming out of the water after eliminating one of the event’s best, Blanco, in as afternoon conditions began to deteriorate from pumping Playa Jaco just hours before. A slow start from both competitors culminated with Presti finding a near-excellent 7.50 before solidifying her victory with an 8.10, leaving Blanco in a combination situation with no time left to recover.
“I’m so excited, this such a great feeling to actually win a QS and just crazy to think about right now,” Presti said. “I wasn’t nervous at all actually just being my first Final and there was no pressure it felt like. I’ve just been trying to save my energy throughout my freesurfs to put all of it into the heats and this win gives me a lot of confidence knowing I can win these kind of contests. Every time I come into these events it’s against the bigger girls and it’s a little nerve-racking so this feels really good.”
Presti’s run to the Final started with a fellow event dark horse, 14-year-old Valentina Resano (NIC), before taking on the event standout Meah Collins (USA) in a slow, gritty Semifinal. But, the Floridian showed her perseverance throughout the contest and a massive finals day run to earn a well-deserved break from events.
“I was really nervous going into that Semifinal just because I wanted to make the Final so bad,” Presti added. “Meah’s so good and we all want to make that Final so I just tried to stay focused and calm. It was a little mushy and inconsistent out there so you had to be on the good ones. Now I’ll get to be at home for a little bit and it’ll be nice to let this soak in.”
Costa Rica had plenty to celebrate today as McGonagle not only made it an all-Costa Rican Final, but smashed his way through finals day with two near-perfect scores along the way. The 22-year-old earned a 9.77, the day’s highest, in his Quartefinal heat to put Jose Lopez (VEN) in need of an 8-point ride before taking on fellow Tico Perez in Semifinal action — earning another 9.00. It was an almost perfect ending for McGonagle as he now prepares for a big winter alongside his countryman, Munoz.
“It’s amazing to have a big event back here and the fans are amazing, we now how to put on a good show,” McGonagle said. “I’ve been trying to work on not peaking too soon and I admire Cali (Munoz) and the work he’s done through the years using that strategy. We always talked about what a dream it would be to surf against each other in a QS Final and to do it here is perfect. I felt like I kept getting better each heat and the Final had that high tide which made it really close.
“This is incredible for the younger kids, especially sponsorship wise as it’s really tough to get that support here, so for them to get some points here and try to make it out in the world isn’t easy but this makes it possible,” McGonagle added. “I’m super stoked and thankful, now it’s time to get ready for Hawaii.”
It’s been over two years since Blanco’s last Final appearance where she earned runner-up at the Shoe City Pro and, unfortunately for the San Clemente, California, competitor, it was déjà vu. But, the 21-year-old is taking all the positives away from a great weekend of competing that witnessed herself hit a new level of surfing the jersey and is looking for a big finish to 2018.
“This was a very fun contest for me and I think it was the first time I got a 9-point ride in a QS so I was bummed not to get those in the Final, but I’m so happy for Rachel,” Blanco said. “It’s really well-deserved and I’ve got a few more contests to do with the Corona Pro (Pro/Am) in Puerto Rico before the QS 3,000 in Japan then the QS 6,000 to end the year. It was great to make it back in the Final and I’ll try to build on this momentum, but it was all good vibes here and I’ll take that with me.”
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Final Results:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Final Results:
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Semifinal Results:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Semifinal Results:
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Quarterfinal Results:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro Quarterfinal Results:
ALL RIGHTS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED ABOVE ARE RESERVED BY WORLD SURF LEAGUE.
|About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com