ISA Continues to Work Toward a Better Surfing Future
With the unparalleled support of the ISA, the sport of surfing was included, for the first time in history, in multi-sport events held under the Olympic Movement, including the 2003 South Pacific Games (Fiji) and the 2002 Bolivarian Games (Ecuador). In 2003, surfing was included in another highly relevant action sports event, the X Games and continues to dominate the program in terms of audience interest. The ISA effort behind this tremendous work has been steadfast at both the Executive Committee (EC) and NGB level. The aforementioned events are just some of the success that has resulted from years of hard work by all of the ISA leaders around the world.
The ISA hosts many of its own events including the upcoming XXI ISA World Surfing Games (WSG). This year, the ISA is thrilled to align with Surfing America as the hosts of the XXI ISA World Surfing Games on October 14-22, in Huntington Beach, CA. The WSG is positioned to be a spectacular, ground breaking event with the returning support of great hosts, as displayed in the widely successful ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in 2005.
The WSG tradition started in 1964 at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia, where surfers from around the world representing their home nation competed for men and women's surfing titles. The event became progressively larger over the years and has been acknowledged as the "Olympics of Surfing." Cultural identity, team spirit and moments of great personal triumph are hallmarks of the event. The top national surfing teams, including their top professional surfers, compete for the honor of representing their countries. The top four finalists will be awarded gold, silver, bronze and copper medals. Highlights of the past ISA World Surfing Games included the 2002 South African team championship win and the 2004 Australian win in Salinas, Ecuador.
During mid 2002, the ISA wisely decided to give the Junior division of the WSG it’s own annual event; the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. The plan was to provide double the amount of competitions and opportunities for the younger athletes as well as hosting a larger amount of nations within this unique event. In 2003, the inaugural ISA World Junior Surfing Championships held in Durban, South Africa and organized by Surfing South Africa was revered as a huge success. In this first year, 16 nations with over 170 team members were in attendance. In 2005, Quiksilver inked a 3 year deal with the ISA to sponsor the event. This agreement has since been extended until 2010. Each year the event has grown and in 2006 the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships (WJSC) in Maresias, Brazil organized by Confederacao Brazil de Surf saw an attendance of 27 nations and over 230 participants. The 2007 event will be held in Costa da Caparica, Portugal hosted by Federação Portuguesa de Surf.
For the 2006/2007 season, the ISA has added some great new events to the calendar in addition to the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships and the ISA World Surfing Games. This summer, the ISA sanctioned the inaugural ISA World Tandem Surfing Championships in Waikiki, HI, August 19-27, 2006. Later this year, the ISA is sanctioning several Aloha Cups with the support of the Asociacion Latinamericana de Surf (ALAS.) The concept for this event is comparable to the “Davis Cup” of golf, where athletes represent their respective countries as members of the official National Team. The events will take place in El Salvador on September 24, Venezuela on November 19, Dominican Republic on November 26 and the finals in Puerto Rico on December 3. In 2007, the World Kneeboard Surfing Championships will take place in January 2007 in Santa Cruz, Calif., and the ISA World Masters Championships in Rincon, Puerto Rico in January 2007, under a new format. Most notably, the ISA is proactively working towards securing hosts for future events such as the WSG 2008, 2010, WJSC 2008, 2009 and Masters 2009.
The ISA continues to promote surfing worldwide through new ISA events as well as expanding the development programs. To this effect, the ISA Adapted Surfing Committee was created in 2005 to bring awareness to surfers of all abilities. ISA President Fernando Aguerre heads this committee with Brazilian surfer Pirata. Pirata who lost one leg at a young age because of a drunk driver is not only an inspiration for people with disabilities, but for the whole surfing community. He embodies the spirit of the ISA mission as he spreads his love for surfing through adapted surfing demonstrations worldwide. The ISA produced the DVD “Surfing for All” in spring 2006 to supplement these demonstrations. The DVD outlines the importance of incorporating surfers of all abilities into surfing programs worldwide and is available to members and surfschools free of charge.
Also in 2006, the ISA announced the Individual Scholarship Program. The scholarship program awards five junior surfers who personify stories of goodwill with their experiences of surfing with a $1200 grant. The scholarship program is in conjunction with the annual ISA-sanctioned World Junior Surfing Championships which stages top athletes selected by ISA NGBs ages 18 and under to become members of their national teams. The ISA hopes to increase the potential for similar experiences in surfing, by selecting these five inspirational individuals who exemplify how surfing can change the life of a person. The Individual Scholarship Program’s main objective is to provide funds to facilitate these experiences in surfing while encouraging the importance of education.
The ISA is headquartered in San Diego, California. It is presided by Fernando Aguerre, first elected in 1994 in Rio, re-elected five times since and is up for re-election this October. The ISA’s four vice presidents are Robin de Kock (South Africa), Alan Atkins (Australia), Maile Aguerre (Hawaii) and Paul West (USA.)
The ISA is working towards a better surfing future by providing members with a variety of events and development projects and will continue to do so for the future.
For more information, visit: http://www.isasurf.org/