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2015 Nicaragua Unica… Original ISA World Surfing Games Close with Bang, Playa Popoyo Erupts in International Celebration

Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle dominates the Men’s Final to win the Gold Medal as well as lock in the Team World Champion for his country. Photo: ISA/Reed
Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle dominates the Men’s Final to win the Gold Medal as well as lock in the Team World Champion for his country. Photo: ISA/Reed

The final day of competition at the 2015 Nicaragua Unica… Original ISA World Surfing Games presented by Lafise and Claro ended with an international celebration for the sport of surfing. Twenty-seven National Teams flooded the sands of Playa Popoyo, Nicaragua alongside thousands of spectators to cheer on the action.

The entire day was full of fantastic surfing in overhead to double overhead waves.

The lineup for the Women’s Final included Tia Blanco (USA), Leilani McGonagle (CRI), Ella Williams (NZL) and Chelsea Tuach (Bar). 2014 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Bronze Medalist Blanco and Copper Medalist McGonagle took strong leads. However, by the end of the heat it was Blanco that would take the Gold Medal home for her country.

Tia Blanco is carried up the beach by her teammates after she won the Gold Medal in the Women’s Final. Photo: ISA/Ben Reed

“It means the world to me, to win this Gold Medal for the USA. I am so stoked!” exclaimed Blanco, still in the awe following her win. “Getting carried up the beach by my coach and Damien Hobgood was a dream come true — it was one for the memory book. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, I could not do it without you.”

The Men’s Final came next, and included defending 2014 Gold Medalist Leandro Usuna (ARG) and Bronze Medalist Shane Holmes (AUS), against the world renown talent of Nic Von Rupp (POR) and Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI).

Following his sister’s final, Noe Mar made quick work of the competition. Scoring two rides in the eight-point range before anyone earned even a three-point ride, it seemed to be in the bag for Noe Mar. Then, Noe Mar stepped it up again with a near-perfect 9.93 ride. The Gold Medal was his, but the win was for Costa Rica.

Noe Mar McGonagle de Costa Rica domina la Final de Hombres, asegurando la Medalla de Oro por Equipo para Costa Rica. Foto: ISA/Reed
Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle dominates the Men’s Final to win the Gold Medal as well as lock in the Team World Champion for his country. Photo: ISA/Reed

“I didn’t do it for myself, I did it for Costa Rica,” said Noe Mar, full of national pride. “We come to these ISA events to do the best for our country, and I knew a win in my heat would give us the points we needed for the team Gold. Costa Rica is a small country, but we have a big heart and the most supportive people. I dedicate this to them.”

With the combined effort of the McGonagle siblings in back-to-back finals, Costa Rica not only left with two individual medals but with the title of Team World Champion. The support of the people on the beach was powerful. During the closing ceremony, Team Costa Rica put their hands together near the front of the stage and were joined by fellow countrymen in the crowd for a final cheer of national celebration.

“This has been a historical week for surfing, the ISA and the beautiful host nation of Nicaragua. This partnership between Nicaragua and the ISA has produced best-in-class events year after year, while showcasing the perfection of its coastline to the world,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

“Twenty-seven nations came together from around the world, for a phenomenal week of surfing on extraordinary waves,” continued Aguerre. “I want to thank each and every athlete for surfing in the name of their nation. More than medals, I hope every person leaves here with memories of the outstanding ISA event and new friends from our international community.”

Men’s Surfing Results:
Gold Medal – Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI)
Silver Medal – Nic Von Rupp (POR)
Bronze Medal – Shane Holmes (AUS)
Copper Medal – Leandro Usuna (ARG)

Women’s Surfing Results:
Gold Medal – Tia Blanco (USA)
Silver Medal – Leilani McGonagle (CRI)
Bronze Medal – Ella Williams (NZL)
Copper Medal – Chelsea Tuach (BAR)

For the full results click here –

About the International Surfing Association:
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 96 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro and re-elected eight times since. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Layne Beachley (AUS), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).

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