Circuito Nacional Kolbi 2019 (Costa Rica Surf Contest) – Everything You Need to Know!

Circuito Nacional Kolbi 2019 (Costa Rica Surf Contest) – Everything You Need to Know!

The Circuito Nacional or National Costa Rica surf contest! This is exciting news for surfers and vacationers alike because surfing competitions are always fun, whether you are out in the water participating or on the beach cheering people on and enjoying the good vibes. This competition is unique because it travels, so there are dates in a number of different locations around the country. So no matter where you are coming to Costa Rica on vacation, there is probably a part of the circuit near you to go check out!

costa rica surf contest
Photo: Fede Surf CR

This is the third consecutive year that the Costa Rican Surf Federation has organized the Circuito Nacional in Costa Rica. There are seven dates during the next couple of months around the country where locals, visitors, and professionals alike can compete to try their hand at some of the most iconic Costa Rican surf breaks. The dates are as follows:

Enero/January: 26 y 27, Dominical, Osa

Febrero/February: 23 y 24, Puerto Viejo, Talamanca

Marzo/March: 23 y 24, Guiones, Nosara

Abril/April: 27 y 28, Santa Teresa, Cóbano

Mayo/May: 25 y 26, Avellanas, Santa Cruz

Junio/June: 29 y 30, Jaco, Garabito

Julio/July: 26 al 28, Hermosa, Garabito

Iguana Surf is located in Tamarindo, so if you are planning on coming here to surf with us the closest location of the surf circuit is Avellanas on May 25th and 26th. Avellanas is just about a 30-minute drive south of town and it is a beautiful beach that is worth checking out even if it isn’t to watch the circuit! It is a fun beginner/intermediate surf break and a lovely spot to hang out for an afternoon. There is also a restaurant there called Lola’s which is a delicious place for lunch, a couple of drinks, or dinner as you watch the sun go down.

The surf circuit has served as a platform for many of the professional surfers from Costa Rica today to practice competing and have some fun on the amazing waves that they are so lucky to have in their home country. Surfers like Carlos Munoz, Noe Mar

McGonagle, Leilani McGonagle, and others have all participated in the circuit. There are even some guys in the shop and friends around Tamarindo that have competed! There was a total of around 450 participants in the circuit last year. Combined with the other two circuits that the Costa Rican Surf Federation puts together, there were more than 600 athletes linked to their competitions in 2018. For folks who want to come surf, you can pay to participate and get a spot in the competition. More info about that can be found at For those who just want to come and watch the festivities, all of the beaches are in beautiful towns with lots of visitors so that you can have an awesome vacation while watching the surfing.

Costa Rica surf contest
Photo: Fede Surf CR

Last year alone there were almost twenty thousand visitors among the seven beaches where the competition was held. This is a pretty big influx of people for Costa Rica! It makes the atmosphere fun and tourism helps out the local people who live here. The same following is expected for this year, and perhaps even more because another destination that is very popular for competitors and followers is being added to the lineup this year – Playa Guiones. Located in the tranquil, beautiful surf town of Nosara on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it is definitely a fun place to visit. This is also not a far jaunt from Tamarindo and well worth the drive. If you continue south past Avellanas, it is about another hour, so about an hour and thirty minutes total driving from Tamarindo. It could be a day trip if you leave early and come back in the evening, or it is worth taking a weekend to go explore the little town.

There is even more hype than usual for the circuit this year because of the anticipation of the Tokyo 202 Olympics. “We really feel the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics. 2019 and 2020 will be two years that will demand more from our athletes than ever before, and that is why the circuit will be fought hard in all categories,” said Randall.

Chaves, the president of the federation. The Costa Rican team is waiting with excitement for the 2020 Olympics, and they have a good shot of placing well because Costa Rica produces so many talented surfers. As the team is picked and starts to prepare, results of the circuit will surely be taken into consideration.

According to the Costa Rican Surf Federation, there will be a total of nine different categories entering the water. The categories are:

Men: Open, Junior, Boys (under 16), Under 14, and Under 12.

Women: Open, Junior, Girls, and Under 12.

Costa Rica surf contest
Photo: Fede Surf CR

The 2019 circuit is going to be extra exciting because, for the first time, the Surf Federation had the means to invest in infrastructure for the competition. There will be level A platforms for the judges, which will improve their judging ability with height and a better angle for the judges to see the surfers in the water. The improvements in the infrastructure also mean that there are going to be new categories implemented at four of the different locations. The management has decided to add them in the places where there is the highest concentration of surfers – the locations are Cocteles Beach, Puerto Viejo, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Cobano, and Playa Hermosa, Jaco.

Additional Categories:

Male Bodyboard (Open)

Female Bodyboard (Open)

Male Bodyboard Junior

Master Male (35+)

Male Longboard

Female Longboard

Costa Rica surf contest
Photo: Fede Surf CR

Watching these categories should be very interesting and add a fun, more relaxed twist to the circuit in these locations! And it means that even if you are not a super advanced surfer, you could still join the completion on a bodyboard or a longboard!

Obviously, Costa Rica is a popular destination for many reasons – incredible scenery, great food, and some of the nicest people around. But surfing is one of the things that it is most known for, which is showcased in the National Circuit. With deep roots for many of the best surfers from Costa Rica, this is going to be a true display of the talent here. What better way to experience the culture of Costa Rica than experiencing a local surf competition? And don’t be afraid to register and give it a try. However, if you have never surfed, it is a great chance to watch the pros and get an idea of how it works. And you can also book a Tamarindo surf lesson at Iguana to get started, so maybe you can join a Costa Rica surf contest! We will see you in paradise soon!

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