(QCOSTARICA) The Essential Costa Rica Open Pro (QS 3,000) round of the World Surfing League (WSL) had to be put on hold on Wednesday, making it in the history books because of an unexpected visit by a crocodile during the second round of the tournament taking place in Esterillos Oeste (Parrita).
Costa Rican Dennis Picado was precisely disputing the ninth heat with Australian Reef Heazlewood and Dylan Southworth from Mexico and Jacome Correia of Portugal, when the sighting alarm was given.
“Actually I was focused on doing my best work and saw nothing. It was the Australian (Reef Heazlewood) who had to complete the series. All went normally. He (Heazlewood) said he seen a very big fish in the water, but then we realized that it was actually a crocodile, which surprised us all, ” said Picado.
“On a couple of occasions, training in Jaco or Hermosa, I have seen crocodiles and I immediately leave the water. If I had been first to see the first crocodile I will not have hesitate to leave the water, ” confessed the 18-year-old from Jacó.
This kind of thing does happen in Costa Rica. “We know that crocs along Central America’s Pacific coast are a possibility — and it seems that possibility took place today,” event director, former pro and Costa Rican legend, Diego Naranjo told Surfline.
Naranjo added that prior to start of competitions there will be patrols and constant monitoring to avoid repeating.
The problems of crocodiles is due to real estate development of the area, say officials of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). However, Naranjo believes it is due to an overpopulation of crocs. “I have been surfing in the this area for over 10 years and this has never happened,” Naranjo told La Nacion.