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SURF CONTEST IN NOSARA, Costa Rica- August 9-10, 2003

SUNNY GARCIA was in Playa Guiones (the closest beachbreak to Nosara) last month to relax with his family and to judge a locals-only surf contest, hosted by Tim and Tyler Marsh of Safari Surf School. Over 40 participants surfed in four different categories - Open, Juniors, Longboard, and Women for new surfboards donated by Sunny himself. Tim Marsh told me the idea started as a "brainfart". "I knew there was a lot of hot surfers in Jaco, but none here were receiving any recognition. I knew Sunny from growing up with him, and he was into helping out. He's a very laid back individual, and he's 'O'hana' (Hawaiian for 'family') His brother Tyler at Safari Surf School led the effort to organize the contest. Tim also thanked Mike at Casa Tucan for hosting the guests, Charlie for his help during and after the contest, and Mango Surf Shop for helping to get the beach permits and donating some prizes.

Some of the hot surfers around Nosara include: Vibito, Christian, Brody, Gisella, Josenia, and Pio. The opening heats of the weekend had the best surf, offshore and overhead on the sets. By the last heat on the first day, onshore winds and a high tide rip made it difficult for competitors to find good waves. However, the final day had offshore winds through the finals and the 200 plus spectators had an excellent show of local talent. In the Open finals were Vibito from Garza, Choco from Samara, and Brody and Pio from Guiones. The Junior division winner received a 6.2 Akila Aipa Squash tail, the top woman got a replica Larry Bartleman shape, and the Open champion received one of Sunny's 6.3 Da Hui boards. Another board was a 6.4 Bamboo Boards Epoxy rounded pintail that was raffled off to a lucky visitor.

After the contest ended, I had a chance to speak to Sunny about his experience in Costa Rica:

GG - When was your first trip to Costa Rica?
SG - This year, I arrived only a few days ago.

GG - Where did you surf and how was it?
SG - I've only surfed around here in Nosara. I had some knee surgery a couple of months ago so I am still going easy on it, but it's been fun.

GG - What do like about Costa Rica?
SG - Everything. It's laid back, the people are mellow (most of them), and there are good waves.

GG - How was the idea started for a contest in Nosara?
SG - It was Tim and Tyler's (Marsh) idea. I was planning a trip down to visit them and they asked if I could help judge the contest. I said, "Sure, why not?"

GG - How do you feel on the level of surfing in the country?
SG - It's very good. There are kids ripping out there. And some of them could do even better if they had more resources, support from the surf industry, and more contests.

GG - When do you think someone from here will be ready for the WQS?
SG - Some of them are ready now. The difficulty of being on tour is that it's hard to get started. There are a lot of costs: places to stay, boards, and travel expenses.

GG - Any advice you would give to the groms who want to surf for their career?
SG - Just never give up. Never give up....

Sunny Garcia is currently sponsored by Da Hui, Backyard Boards, Spy, Boost Mobile, and Honda. He should be back next year when hopefully more participants from around the country will compete. Safari Surf School in Playa Guiones is a camp where guests are going to be in the water with the owners. They will get to hang with the locals and submerge themselves in the culture, eating meals and going on tours with the group, and ultimately becoming one of an extended family. (

1. Pio
2. Vibito

1. Luigi
2. Vibito

1. Gisella
2. Virginia

PHOTOS from the day's event:

Sunny Garcia and the Walsh brothers judging

Ah --- Las Chicas!

Florida spectators

Competitors getting ready

Guiones wave

More waves

Lone palm in Guiones







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