The 2015 Costa Rica SUP Race and SUP Surfing Circuit kicked off this last weekend for the first event of the new season. This year the CR Surf and SUP Federation also added Masters Surfing and Long Board Surfing to the same venue, intermixing Surfing heats, SUP Surf heats, and SUP Races all in the same event.. The event took place in Uvita, which is a little beach side tourist town, also known as “Bahia Ballena” which means “Whale Bay”. The event turned out to be very challenging for the SUP Racers, as they set up the start of the race in the center of the Bay where the waves are the biggest, so racers had to enter and exit through the impact zone of Uvita. There was a swell of 2 to 3 meters the days before the event, and fortunately the waves dropped just enough on Saturday to hold the races, barely. Wind conditions were light fortunately, but Whale Bay always has a lot of side bump, back wash waves, and currents which make this venue even more challenging.

Edith Garcia, who is part owner of SUP Costa Rica and also two time National Race Champ (2013 and 2014) kicked off the season with a convincing win in Uvita. The 9 K race didn’t start out the best for Edith, she struggled to get through the surf with her newly designed advanced race board which is 25 wide, by 4 1/2 thick. The narrowness and low volume of the new race board proved to be quite challenging to stay standing while trying to break through 1 to 2 meter waves (something she will have to practice more at!). Edith was the last racer to make it out of the surf, but that didn’t stop her from passing all the ladies in the race, and also a a few of the men. The only paddlers she didn’t pass were the two top Men Racers in Costa Rica, Rolando Herrera, and Geovanny Espinoza who were both National Race Champs last year, “Rolo” in the shorter distance category and “Geova” in the longer distance category. So this meant that Edith came third over all against the men in the race.

he SUP Surfing Division is a new addition in 2015, and as it turns out there were just enough Costa Rican SUP Surfers to hold a Semi final, then a final, eight SUP Surfers in total. Edith was fired up to enter, but it turned out there was no womens division for SUP Surf, so she entered in the mens division and had a good time in here heat, but didn’t find her way to the final. Edith was just happy to get some experience, as she plans to compete more in the future in both Race and SUP Surf. Edith has been surfing now for 16 years, so her SUP Surfing skills are improving at a very fast rate.

The next event will be held in the North Pacific of Costa Rica in the famous tourist town of Tamarindo, on the 11th and 12th of April. The waves in Tamarindo are a lot smaller and weaker than Uvita so Racers will have an easier time getting out, but the North Pacific is famous for strong offshore winds every day in the dry season, which creates for very challenging conditions. Edith will be looking for the windiest conditions to train in the next month in Mal Pais to be ready for this next challenging race. If she wins the next event in Tamarindo, she will have secured her spot on the Costa Rica SUP Selection Team which will compete in May at the ISA World SUP Games. Edith wants to compete in the long distance 18 K race at the ISA, and is hoping to compete in the Womens SUP Surf category as well.