Costa Rica will host the World Surfing Games this August in the city of Jacó. The gold medal winners of last year’s games, which were held in Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s “Dream Team” will have a chance to defend their title in their home country. Costa Rica hosted the World Surfing Games in 2009 and the country is hoping to do a better job than the previous games, which drew over 100,000 spectators.
Surfing is a major part of Costa Rican culture and while the popular sport draws thousands of visitors each year, the games will see an even larger influx of visitors to the Pacific coast and give Costa Rica a chance to reaffirm its position as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. According to the Costa Rican Surf Federation about 20 percent of the 400,000 tourists that visit Costa Rican annually do so for surfing, highlighting the importance of the sport in Costa Rican culture.
The World Surfing Games will be held August 6th through the 14th and will be held in Jacó, in the canton of Garabito. Home to some of the best waves in the world, and some of the best surfers in the world, Costa Rica has been a major surf destination for years and hosting the games for a second time is a honor that the country is very proud of. With the recent announcement of surfing being included in the 2020 Olympics, to be hosted in Tokyo, this year’s World Surfing Games will be getting even more attention than the event has had in the past.
The 2009 World Surfing Games were held in Playa Hermosa, just south of Jacó. Due to the high volume of traffic and the less than prepared infrastructure there were complaints about entering and exiting the region, as the area is only accessible by Highway 27 toll road leading from San Jose to the Pacific coast. This year, Marvin Elizondo, mayor of Garabito, and Sports Minister Carolina Mauri are working together to ensure that the traffic situation runs more smoothly and that all the institutions will be up to standard in order to accommodate all those in attendance. The 2009 event was the most attended sporting event in Costa Rican history up to the point and the 2016 games will likely draw an even larger crowd as “The Dream Team” defends its title.
The Costa Rican team consists of brother and sister duo Noe Mar and Leilani McGonagle, from Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone, Pavones, Anthony Fillingim from Malpais, Carlos Munoz of Esterillos, and Lisbeth Vindas and Jason Torres, both from Jacó. The other top teams from last year’s event were Portugal, The United States, and Peru, who won the gold medal in the 2014 games. With the announcement that surfing will be an Olympic sport in the 2020 games, this year’s World Surfing Games will provide athlete’s a chance to show the world just what an awesome sport surfing is. This event will help set the tone for the future of surfing, and the future of Costa Rica.