For years, Nosara's surf talent was never really recognized because not many kids from here competed on the national circuit. However, that is changing thanks to Esteban Lopez and Luigui Montiel, and some very dedicated local parents, like the Moberlys. It is because of their hard work, funding and countless hours of driving that we now have an established Nosara Surf Team. Since last season, these local kids and parents have been traveling all over the country to the tournaments on the Circuito Nacional de Surf presented by the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica.
The current Nosara Tico Surf Team is made up of 11 local surfers and coached by Montiel and Lopez. The kids range in age from about 10 to 26 years old.
The team riders are: Kevin Montiel, Aldair Hernandez, Walter Suazo, Colin Reidie, Christian Santamaria, Dakota Smith, Stone Van Timmeren, Storm Van Timmeren, Selena Moberly and the youngest of the group, Sam Shook. Each of the surfers competes in different divisions depending on their age, and Santamaria specializes in the Longboard category.
The team has been very successful so far with many kids bringing home trophies. Esteban Lopez and Luigui Montiel hold training session four to five times a month. They practice their surfing maneuvers and also analyze each other on video. They will train together during the Nacional Circuit and after, until August. They break for September and October and return to training again in November, before the Circuit starts again. The goals of the team are to improve their skills and competitive surfing, but they go beyond that as well. Lopez explains, "We are really focusing on the younger kids, the 13 and 14 year olds because we want to encourage them to stay away from things like drugs. Instead, we keep them busy and encourage them in school and surfing."
Many of these kids have a very bright surfing future ahead of them. In fact, Christian Santamaria is the first surfer from Nosara to be on the National Surf Team, and the only current surfer from Guanacaste. He recently competed in the Longboard division at the Billabong ISA (International Surfing Association) World Surfing Games in Peru in October. He is also the first surfer to gain some national sponsors in Cushe Footwear and Hot Lava Surfboards. Christian proofed that local surfers from Nosara can get sponsored and receive national recognition. So, now it is the job of these younger kids to carry on the torch and keep representing Nosara on the national surfing stage.
Many of these team riders have placed well and made the podium in the first two events of the season, including Christian winning the Longboard division in Jaco and Kevin winning the Grommet division in Palo Seco. Below are their current standings on the Circuito Nacional de Surf:
- Kevin Montiel – 2nd in Grommet, 8th in Boys
- Selena Moberly – 4th in Junior Women and Grommet Girls
- Christian Santamaria – 2nd in Longboard, 18th in Open
- Sam Shook – 5th in Mini-Grommets
- Dakota Smith – 9th in Grommets, 15th in Boys
- Stone Van Timmeren – 7th in Grommets, 19th in Boys
- Storm Van Timmeren – 9th in Grommets, 21st in Boys
- Dakota Smith – 9th in Grommets
- Aldair Hernandez – 24th in Boys
- Walter Suazo – 12th in Boys
- Luigui Montiel – 14th in Open
- Esteban Lopez – 31st in Open, 12th in Longboard
The biggest challenge for the team thus far has been funding. Half of the kids on the team are relying solely on a few local sponsors to help pay for their trips to the contests. These local businesses have been generous enough to give the Tico team members that cannot afford the many expenses, some money to help pay for travel, lodging, meals and contest registration fees. Local sponsors include: Coconut Harry's Surf Shop, Tica Massage, Nosara Tico Surf School, Surfing Nosara, Casa Tucan and Harry Heinke.
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