Sayulita Dominated the CONADE Sport Circuit 2024

Sayulita Dominated the CONADE Sport Circuit 2024

In 2019, Surfing, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), and Bodyboard were introduced to the CONADE sports circuit, with Longboard making its debut in this year’s event. Allowing junior competitors, ages 12-18 from each state to compete at a national level. And as time goes by, it has been made clear that competitors from a small surf town on the Nayarit coast have their finger on the pulse, bringing the energy of Sayulita itself to the waters of this career-changing national competition. 

The Sayulita competitors dominated this year’s event in the Shortboard, SUP, and Longboard disciplines, taking home a total of 13 medals (4 bronze, 2 silver, and 7 gold) back home with local pride and large smiles. 

This year’s event took place this past week in Manzanillo, Colima. A total of eight states were present at the event, shown during the inauguration ceremony where each state hand-picked a competitor to deliver the sand of their state. Already, Sayulita had a large presence, with two of the sand bearers being from our small town. Mateo Cadena (representing the state of Nayarit in men’s Sub18 Shortboard) and Trace Ostrowski (representing the state of Jalisco in men’s Sub18 SUP) started their CONADE careers in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Since then, they have become unstoppable forces in their events, making them deserving of their sand bearer title. 

From left to right: Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Nayarit, Veracruz, Colima, Sinaloa, Oaxaca, Michoacán.

Leading up to the event, the Sayulita paddlers trained tirelessly with Fernando Lorenzo and Julio, and Papas Gonzales. With additional strategic help from Alex Ostrowski, who herself had a successful 3-year career during her time in the CONADE scene. Thanks to Sayulita’s year-round variable conditions and experienced coaches, the competitors arrived in Manzanillo with an inventory of skills and one goal: to leave the event undefeated. 

Sayulita had a strong start early in the event week, the second day of competition was the SUP 200m sprints, where competitors were lined up in heats of 4 to put their paddling speed to the test. Sayulita ended the 200m Sprints with 6 medals (3 gold and 3 bronze). In the girl’s Sub14, making her debut this year, Summer Sage finished the sprint in 3rd and Frida Martinez took home the victory, ending the race in 1st. In the boy’s Sub14, Maximiliano Plascencia completed the sprint in 3rd. In the boy’s Sub16, both making their debut, Oliver Martinez completed the sprint in 3rd, and Cohen Rutherford completed the sprint in 1st. Lastly, in the boy’s Sub18, Trace Ostrowski completed his sprint in 1st, now making him the three-time reigning champion of this race, showing no signs of stepping down from his title.

Trace Ostrowski (red) celebrating with Jalisco silver medalist, Juan Pablo Melendres

Oliver Martinez (red) and Cohen Rutherford (yellow) during their final sprint heat

The awards ceremony for the sprints took place that evening. All of the competitors that placed received their medals with no shortage of smiles and applause. And despite the Sayulita competitors being spread out between two states, they made sure to celebrate together.

Frida Martinez (middle) and Summer Sage (right)

Maximiliano Plascencia (right)

Oliver Martinez (left) and Cohen Rutherford (middle)

Trace Ostrowski (middle)

From left to right: Summer Sage, Cohen Rutherford, Maximiliano Plascencia, Oliver Martinez, Frida Martinez, and Trace Ostrowski.

Team Nayarit celebrating their 200m Sprint medals

The SUP competitors had no time to rest, as the next day, the long-distance races took place. Each category had its respective distances. The Sub14 paddled 6 km, the Sub16 paddled 9 km, and the Sub18 paddled 12 km. Distance races are known to be challenging. It requires mental strength as well as physical endurance. These races are known for placing the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses at the forefront, therefore strategy is necessary for the completion of these types of races. Yet despite having to paddle these long distances, the Sayulita paddlers successfully completed their races without batting an eye. The Sayulita competitors completed their races with a total of 5 medals. In the Sub14 girls, Frida Martinez was on her way to 1st when, at the last minute, Summer Sage took the gold medal, leaving Frida with silver. In the boy’s Sub16, Oliver Martinez got 3rd and Cohen Rutherford got 1st, making Cohen the 2024 overall boy’s Sub16 national champion. And lastly, in the boy’s Sub18 category, continuing his 2-year reign, was Trace Ostrowski, finishing his 12km race in 1st. 

Trace Ostrowski (right)

Summer Sage crossing the finish line in 1st

Frida Martinez (left) and Summer Sage (right) cooling down after their race.

Frida Martinez (left) and Summer Sage (middle)

Cohen Rutherford (middle) and Oliver Martinez (right)

Trace Ostrowski (middle)

While the Sayulita Paddleboarders were completing their races, the Sayulita shortboarders were hard at work. Advancing from heat to heat as the days went by, the Sayulita surfers showed that they were a force to be reckoned with. Many of the surfers have been preparing weeks if not months in advance for this competition. With training several days a week with Papas Gonzales as well as receiving advice from Nayarit coach Tzahui PooVazquez, they were ready to take on the mediocre waves Manzanillo had to offer.

The Sayulita surfers showed their fierce nature. Kyra Polishuk, making her CONADE debut this year in the girl’s Sub14, successfully made it to the quarterfinals before getting ruled out of the semifinals. Kyra showed a promising future in last week’s competition and is sure to come back next year with a growing hunger for a podium position. Costa Muñoz also showed significant promise, ending his CONADE competition in the semifinals of the boy’s Sub16 shortboard category. Kai García showed strong determination, reaching the final heat of the boy’s Sub16 shortboard category, and finishing his run in 4th place. However, Kai was not done yet. He successfully made it to the finals in the boy’s Sub16 Longboard, landing himself a 2nd place podium finish in his CONADE debut competition. And lastly, Mateo Cadena showed no fear in the boy’s Sub18 shortbard. Landing himself a 2nd place finish. However, he was not done. Mateo successfully received the first-place gold medal for “Best Wave,” an award given to competitors who received the highest wave score during the event. Mateo reached an incredible score of 7.73 on a wave during one of his heats, ensuring that no one could successfully beat that score for the rest of the event. On the last day of the event, these surfers received their awards, indicating an end to the 2024 CONADE Surfing and SUP event.

Costa Muñoz

Kai García

Mateo Cadena

Mateo Cadena (left) on the podium

Kai García (left)

It goes without saying that Sayulita has curated many of Mexico’s best water people. With the variety of conditions and perfect location, Sayulita has allowed the new generation to rise and succeed in their disciplines. This competition not only showcased incredible athleticism and skill but also fostered a strong sense of community among its participants. As the competitors come back home, we hope that the community sees their triumph and inspires both older and younger generations to push their limits and embrace the love of the ocean that all of us share.

written by Alex Ostrowski