(Left to right) Alejandro Hernandez Lopez, Alex Hernandez, Dorian Torrez, Alex Gomez and Andrey Lopez Grommet will represent Samara in the National Surf Circuit’s first event in Jaco this weekend, January 22 and 23. (Photo provided by team sponsor Zona de Confort)
Five Samara locals teamed up to take on some of Costa Rica’s best surfers in Jaco Beach January 22 and 23 at the opening competition of the Circuito Nacional de Surf 2011 (2011 National Surf Circuit).
Alex Hernandez took second place in Mini Grommet and Alex “Choco” Gomez placed fourth in long board. Andrey Lopez and Dorian Torrez also made it to semi-finals, earning them points toward the overall circuit rankings.
“We did a good job, since it was the first [competition],” said Team Captain Gomez after the competition Sunday. “Always being in the finals is good.”
Costa Rica’s National Surf Circuit consists of five events. The next event will take place February 26 and 27 at Playa Palo Seco, followed by competitions April 2 and 3 in Guiones Beach, Nosara, April 30 and May 1 at Santa Teresa Beach and the Grande Finale June 10-12 at Playa Hermosa, Jaco.
Costa Rica’s National Surf Circuit consists of five events. The next event will take place February 26 and 26 at Playa Palo Seco, followed by competitions April 2 and 3 in Guiones Beach, Nosara, April 30 and May 1 at Santa Teresa Beach and the Grande Finale June 10-12 at Playa Hermosa, Jaco.
Alex Gomez, better known as Choco, is the team captain. At 35 years of age, he has the most maturity and the most experience on the team. He is competing in Longboard and Masters Open. He has competed in the national circuit for four years now, proving himself to be among the top surfers in the country. Two years ago, Choco finished 2nd in the circuit, but he has yet to place first. Maybe this will be his year. “There’s always hope,” he said.
Choco said he enjoys surfing because “it’s a sport where one relaxes a lot. You don’t think about anything, when the wave runs, it’s a good feeling.” After working for years as a surf instructor, he opened Choco’s Surf School two years ago.
Alejandro Hernandez Lopez, 26 years old, is competing in the Open category. He’s been surfing for five years now after watching friends surf and finally deciding he could do it too. “You feel something different in the water,” he explained. “You only think about surfing, doing everything you can do, only hearing the waves. You don’t hear any other sound.”
He prefers short boards because he can do more tricks. He likes doing aerials and 360s. His favorite beach is Marbella near Ostional because of the strong waves with tubes. Alejandro competed nationally two years ago but said he wasn’t really ready then. “Now, yes, I believe I’m ready,” he said.
Dorian Torrez, 15 years old, is competing in the Boys category. Dorian has been surfing for three and a half years. He said he liked how his brother Exon surfed and then his brother taught him. Dorian said he loves the way waves run and he is motivated by people on shore watching him surf. His favorite surfing trick is the aerial and his favorite beach is Guiones because the waves there are big, strong and perfect.
Dorian competed in three national tournaments a year ago but said he didn’t have help and didn’t do very well. Now with the support of a team and a sponsor, he hopes to do better. “Now I’ve practiced a lot and I’d like to end up champion,” he said. He’s been practicing two hours a day.
Andrey Lopez, age 14, is competing in Grommet. Two years ago, he was the Mini Grommet Champion in the National Surf Circuit. Andrey taught himself how to surf when he was 11. His brother had boards and gave him one and explained how to surf to him and then he hit the waves, watching how others surfed and imitating them. Then when his brother injured his knee and stopped surfing, Andrey bought his brothers boards. He said Alex Gomez (Choco) encouraged him a lot, giving him another board and taking him to the circuit competitions.
He especially loves doing aerials, jumping the waves. This year he plans on going back to school, starting 7th grade at the high school in Torito.
Alex Hernandez, age 12, is competing in Mini Grommet. In November, Alex placed first in juniors in a local tournament. This is his first time competing nationally and his first time traveling to Jaco. He’s a little nervous but also excited. Alex said his parents are proud of him. He started surfing two and a half years ago after watching other people surf. A cousin taught him, and he was able to stand up on the board on his first attempt. Then he started to ride the waves and catch waves and do tricks. His favorite trick is the cut.
Although he’s surfed other beaches, he said that Samara is his favorite because it’s calm and there’s no danger. He also taught his 9-year-old brother Junior to surf. Alex is in 6th grade at Samara School. His favorite subject is mathematics.
The team is being sponsored by Zona de Confort. When asked about three of the team members being employees, Janet Park-Brogan, owner of the business, said that they are among the best surfers around and just happen to be her employees as well. She said she hopes the team does well in the competition.