International Adaptive Surfing Community gathers at Symposium to promote growth and development of the sport
The 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship presented by Vissla and the City of San Diego is set to kick off tomorrow, December 8 with an Adaptive Surf Clinic and the traditional Opening Ceremony at La Jolla Shores beach in California, at 2:30pm Pacific Time.
76 athletes with physical challenges from 22 countries have confirmed their participation in La Jolla to represent their nations in world-class competition. They will compete for individual medals and stake their claim as the first Adaptive Surfing Team World Champion in history. Breaking the record for participation that was set in 2015 with 69 athletes from 18 countries, the 2016 edition will be the largest international Adaptive Surfing competition in the world to date.
To view the countries that have confirmed their participation and complete team rosters, visit: http://isaworlds.com/adaptive/2016/en/teams/
The Stance ISA Adaptive Surfing clinic hosted by Junior Seau Foundation Adaptive Surf Program and presented by Challenged Athletes Foundation will get the festivities underway on December 8 at La Jolla Shores. The clinic creates an opportunity for beginning to intermediate adaptive surfers to receive instruction from top adaptive surfers and qualified instructors.
The Opening Ceremony will be featuring the Parade of Nations and traditional ISA Sands of the World Ceremony. During the Parade of Nations, each country will march down the ocean front boardwalk at La Jolla Shores displaying their national pride. They will gather at the ceremony stage and participate in the Sands of the World Ceremony. During the ceremony each team will pour sand from their local beaches into a container, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of the nations of the world through Adaptive Surfing.
On Wednesday evening, the ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium gathered the international community to build on the profile and platform of the World Championship. The goal of the symposium was to raise awareness, share best practices and continue the conversation about how Surfing plays an ongoing and vital role in enriching the lives of physically challenged athletes.
The symposium commenced with a welcome from ISA President Fernando Aguerre:
“Welcome everyone to La Jolla and to the historic second edition of the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship. This is a very special day, the first day that we all get together before the start of the event and talk about the advancements and developments in Adaptive Surfing happening around the world.”
“During this symposium and the competition ahead, remember that you, the athletes, are the teachers and we, the ISA, are the students. We have learned immensely from the first edition and we intend to keep building upon this platform with the goal of eventual inclusion in the Paralympic Games.”
The symposium continued by highlighting three successful Adaptive Surfing Programs around the world. Jade Wheatley of Adaptive Surfers of Australia, Sandy Coffey of Adaptive Surfing South Africa and Luiz Phelipe of Adaptsurf (Brazil) spoke about their respective programs.
“The inaugural ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship created a global explosion in Adaptive Surfing,” said Jade Wheatley. “This growth can be witnessed with Surfing Australia, the ISA’s National Federation in Australia, which has built on this momentum and recognized the talent of our athletes to develop a high performance Adaptive Surfing Program.”
A showcase of influential Adaptive Surfing organizations followed featuring AccesSurf, Life Rolls On and Challenged Athletes Foundation.
“It’s important to start off slow and small,” said Jesse Billauer, adaptive surfer, Founder of Life Rolls On and 2015 ISA Adaptive Surfing Gold Medalist, when giving advice to others in the audience looking to grow programs of their own. “Organically your program will grow and naturally get a lot of attention, however at the bottom of it all is a core group of passionate volunteers. This is crucial to a program’s success.”
Wrapping up the Symposium was a discussion about Paralympic classification and a workshop to brainstorm and set goals for the development of the sport. The Paralympic classification discussion featured keynote speaker, Dr. Jessica Tidswell, an International Paralympic Committee Classifier and professor at the University of Utah.
“The inclusion of Surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is huge,” Tidswell explained. “Surfing is now on the world stage and a lot more people are going to know about it. The ISA is taking all the right steps to get Adaptive Surfing into the International Paralympic Committee. The next step is getting approved as a Paralympic sport.”
The schedule for the four days of the event is as follows:
Thursday, December 8:
- Stance ISA Adaptive Surf Clinic hosted by Junior Seau Foundation Adaptive Surf Program, presented by Challenged Athletes Foundation: 9am – 1pm (La Jolla Shores)
- Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony:
2.30pm (La Jolla Shores and Kellogg Park)
Friday, December 9 – Sunday December 11:
- World Championship Competition: 7:30am-4:30pm (La Jolla Shores)
All times in Pacific Standard Time.
Catch all the action on the live webcast December 9-11 on www.isaworlds.com.