Costa Rica Open men’s team

Since 2003 (R6 WRC in Czech), this R6 team has only missed WRC 2007. The team now consists of eight members: Manuel Segura Amador , Bustos Marlon Araya , Juan Carlos Loaiza Jimenez , Walter Alvarado , Davis Oviedo Ortega , Daniel Bustos Araya Araya , Pablo Leiva and Walter Centeno Brenes.

CRC OM3Being successful in going to the WRC means they were successful in winning their local selections each time which makes them one of the most successful Costa Rican teams. In 2006 and 2008 they also participated in the Pan American Champs, taking third and second place.

Since most of them come from Turrialba and Sarapiqui they train on the Pacuare River. This country, as well as rivers, are well known to us after two WRC competitions there (1998, 2011). Their next goal is to go to WRC R6 Indonesia and so we speak to Walter Centeno Brenes about their preparations and expectations.

CRC OM5Walter, how is your team preparing for the WRC?

“We are trying to train as much as we can…4  Mornings in a lake from 5 to 7 am… Down River on Pacuare River once a week…”

Do you find it difficult to balance your personal duties with training and going to the WRC?

“Yes, year after year it’s been so difficult to deal with our jobs and families.

As soon as we get the qualification for the WRC our big challenge starts! Trying to get the money for the tickets, hotel, visas…

We need to sacrifice our sleep time, wake up early (5 am) to go to train, come back home to help our wives to prepare the kids for the school, (Pablo, Juan, Marlon, Daniel),  set up the rafting trips and go to work (rest of the team) around 8 am.

In 2005 the WRC was in Ecuador, but often it has been far away (Korea, Bosnia, NZ, now Indonesia..). We couldn’t get to Korea (2007)  but since then we thankfully have friends all around who help us to find cheap places to stay or to camp.”

CRC OM2Which discipline does your team like the most or you feel you are best at?

Our favourite one is the Down River, it is where we feel strongest.”

How do you get information about the rivers you are going to? 

“You tube is our huge friend. Of course, we must thank the IRF and the teams who load videos and pictures of the rivers. As soon as we see the rivers and their different features we will get ready for that.”

Since none of you have been to Indonesia before, do you have any expectations?

“Knowing how the other teams work,,, our goal is to be in the top ten…”

Which team do you see as a potential first? – We talk about the other teams, and we try to learn from the best of them and improve. We regularly look at Brazil, Japan and the Czech Republic – the top three in our personal opinion.”

Will you be able to stay after competitions?

“October is when our high season starts, so we cannot stay too long in Indonesia, we need to come back to our jobs”

But when you are back on your home rivers – it’s not so bad?! ;)

“It is not bad at all .. We will come back to the best job at the most beautiful office we can ever have.. Pacuare River! :) “

CRC OM1You work as raft guides, but in addition to that you have a professional MMA fighter in your team and you also spend your free time riding mountain bikes, kayaking, doing crossfit…. active in all respects.

“We all started rafting and kayaking as teenagers. We took it as our job later on because that was what we knew how to do very well. But it is more than a job, it is our passion, what we love to do! That’s why even when we discover new jobs and sports we still do this as much as we can. We just try to find the time and make it work !”

CRC OM4I saw that you made a speech at a school in Mollejones, tell me more about it?

“When the WRC 2011 was at the Pacuare River, we got in touch with the Mollejones people and talking to them we found out they didn’t know anything about rafting being a sport. So, what better way to let the locals know about our sport by talking to the kids and letting them take these new ideas home with them. It was an awesome experience for us as we did some visits to the Mollejones school and had a dinner with the people of the town.  After the WRC 2011 we learnt about the impact of the WRC on the locals and how important it is to let the world know about our sport. That’s why when someone is interested in our sport we offer a speech we titled: RAFTING – NOT A TRADITIONAL SPORT”

Many teams struggle to finance getting to the WRC. Do you have sponsors or others you’d like to thank?

“We have no sponsors for WRC 2015 and haven’t looked for them. One way that we make money is doing rafting trips to the Pacuare River. Thats how we hope to get the money for the registration for WRC 2015.

But we really want to thank those companies that have been helping us through our history, GRACIAS Y PURA VIDA…”

It was nice to talk to you, Walter. We wish all the best to your team, and we hope that you will be able to collect the money for the WRC.

We call all sponsors, and all people of good will in Costa Rica to help the team to participate in the most important and most prestigious rafting competition of the year.

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