Team Hawaii rides wave to gold

Sunny Garcia and Team Hawaii take top honors at ISA World Masters Surfing Championship

The surf picked up for the final days of ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, but Sunny Garcia and Team Hawaii rose to the challenge to win the tournament Sunday afternoon, beating 26 other participating countries, including Nicaragua.

On the final day of the tournament, Team Hawaii, led by Garcia (who won gold in the Grand Masters Finals category), bested Team USA to take top honors.


Team Hawaii brought honor to their flag (photo/ Tim Rogers)

For some reason not immediately apparent to or perfunctorily investigated by The Nicaragua Dispatch, Team USA and Team Hawaii compete under two different flags on the world surfing circuit, which may explain Donald Trump’s addlepated “birther” argument against President Barack Obama.

Though the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship was Garcia’s first trip in Nicaragua, he told The Nicaragua Dispatch last week that it was love at first sight. “The country is beautiful, the water is warm, the waves are good, the people are nice, thefood is good—you can’t ask for a better place to come,” the Hawaii native said.

As the international surfers pack up their boards and head home today, the Nicaraguan Tourism Board (INTUR) hopes the beneficial effects from last week’s ISA World Masters Surfing Championship will be felt for years to come.

“This will have an extraordinary impact for Nicaragua,” Tourism Minister Mario Salinas predicts.

  • ricardo

    Where were all of the tourists? The event looked pretty empty.

  • Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde

    I got to go for the last three days, Fri/Sat/Sun and it wasn’t all that crowded. The finals were fairly well attended. Some foreign tourists but not too many as far as I could tell. Just the staff and volunteers running the event and attending surfers and their families had to number in the hundreds. So that had to have boosted the local economy for a week or two.

    But the long term effects are what is important and this will bring additional surf tourism, especially among the older demographic which has a higher daily spend then the mochilero crowd.

    I think part of the reason why it didn’t feel real full was that they had a big stage/tent thing that housed the food and drink area far from the contest area on the south side and lots of the locals ended up just staying there and not actually watching the surfing. Since few had been to a surf contest, perhaps some basic information on how they work would have been helpful?

    In that bar/food area, not one big screen showed the simulcast where this large group of mostly Nicaraguans were enjoying the day; I had the feeling it was just another beach party for lots of attendees.

    The event itself was very well organized; the ISA and other organizers had the entrance, parking, and shuttle service working rather well. Red Cross had lifeguards there, fireman, and plenty of tourist police were on hand, but everything was very relaxed. Kudos all around.

  • Armel

    Kudos to the organizers for a well run event. No kudos to the promotion staff. Not many tourists and not many locals. I am not quite sure who was responsible for marketing and promotion but they could have used some help. This was a chance to bring real tourists down and show off our country and beaches and we missed the boat.

  • Calvin James

    I am very disappointed that Nicaragua was unable to field a National Team. The only person registered had to be in Chicago on his first heat date…no alternative…no other team members…no real effort to organize a National Team…I personally know Nationals who would qualify by age…They might be the best in the world, but Nicaragua would still show up for their own contest..I think someone at INTUR dropped the ball…What do you think ????

  • armando

    Nicaragua did not have a team in the event is a disgrace but this is not INTUR’s fault. The Nicaraguan surfing community is at fault for not working together to bring a team to the party. INTUR forget to field the fans not the team. They did communicate the times and clearly tell us to get there. Their marketing team was too busy probably surfing and forget to market.