Costa Rican Surfer Claims Title in Sao Paulo
Leilani MacGonagle of Costa Rica made waves as she crested through them at the Rip Curl GromSearch International in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the end of April 2015.
Groms, for anyone who might not know, are surfing youth usually between the age of 5 or 6 to 16 years old. Leilani, who hails from a well-known surfing family in Costa Rica, has claimed the top spot for Groms worldwide with the title she grabbed at Maresias off the coast of Sao Paulo.
Her brother, Noe Mar MacGonagle, brought home third place for the Dakine World Junior Surfing Championship held in Playa Venao, Panama, in 2012. His exploits may have been the first to make big news, but now his sister is holding it down internationally. Leilani was able to secure her win after being placed in the wild card spot, because Costa Rica was not in the regional qualifiers.
MacGonagle went up against an Australian, Miss Jaleesa Vincent, who knocked the American favorite Caroline Marks out to secure her place in the finals. Each boarder had two rides to vie for the top spot, and Leilani was able to pull out two good ones while Miss Vincent only got one good ride. The victory makes her the first champion to come from Costa Rica for this event.
The event held in Brazil was hosted by Gabriel Medina Pinto Ferrer who was this year’s World Champion of the World Surf League. He hails from Brazil, and helped to showcase some of the up and coming young riders along with sponsorship by GoPro.
Of the championship win MacGonagle said, “I’m really excited to be the first ever Costa Rican champion, it means a lot. It’s so cool to have my name on the winners’ list alongside my Hawaiian friends Tatiana Weston-Webb and Brisa Hennessy and all the other GromSearch winners!”