2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship Spurs Worldwide Development of Adaptive Surfing

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National Championships held in five continents to select Adaptive Surfing teams to compete December 8-11

The 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship, set to take place from December 8-11 at La Jolla Shores beach in California, has spurred worldwide development of Adaptive Surfing as the global community prepares to unite and represent their nations in competition.

South-Africa-Championship_Sandy-CoffeySouth Africa held their first Adaptive Surfing National Championship in October and selected their team to compete at the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship. Photo: Sandy Coffey

As a result of the historical inaugural edition of the event in 2015, National Federations from five continents have organized national championships to select their Adaptive Surfing teams for the 2016 edition.

France, Australia, Chile, Brazil, USA, Hawaii and South Africa are among those that have held National Championships to field teams to compete in California.

In October, South Africa held their first-ever National Championship which marked a milestone moment for Adaptive Surfing in the country.

Members of Team South Africa at the 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship, Antony Smyth, who won the Silver Medal in the Stand Division, JP Veaudry and Dries Millard will return to represent their nation again in 2016 along with four new competitors, including Caleb Swanepoel, who only recently took up Adaptive Surfing after a shark attack nearly took his life in June of 2015 and resulted in the loss of his right leg.

The global growth spurred by the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship can also be observed in Australia, where their first Adaptive Surfing National Championship was held in June and more recently a High Performance Adaptive Surfing Camp was held with the members of the Australian Adaptive Surfing Team. The ISA Gold Medalist in 2015, Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart, who lost his leg due to bone cancer when he was 14, took first place and will represent Australia again in 2016 in the AS-2 Division.

Jake Matthews_Surfing-AustraliaJake Matthews competes in the inaugural Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles. Photo: Surfing Australia

In June, the USA held their Adaptive Surfing National Championship which featured 30 athletes, growing from 9 competitors in 2015. Dani Burt, who lost her right leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident 12 years ago, was crowned champion of the AS-2 Division and will represent the USA in December, filling their woman’s slot.

Dilan-Bernales_Lucas-Retamales_Chilean-Surfing-FederationDilan Bernales and Lucas Retamales rejoice after qualifying to represent Chile in the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in the AS-1 and visually impaired divisions, respectively. Photo: Chilean Surfing Federation

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“The 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is creating waves around the world and inspiring the growth and development of new Adaptive Surfing programs and championships. It is amazing to watch the increase in global access and participation of the sport introducing athletes with physical challenges to Surfing and its healing powers.

“This progress is truly remarkable and is just the start of something much bigger and wider reaching. The ISA is fully committed to the development of this important discipline and sees these efforts ultimately as a pathway to Adaptive Surfing’s inclusion in the Paralympic Games in the future.”

President and COO of Stance, John Wilson, said:

“Stance is ecstatic to join forces with the ISA for the second consecutive year and step up our support to provide surfers with physical challenges a platform to compete in world-class competition. The supportive and inspiring spirit of this event is something that closely aligns with Stance’s core values and we are honored to stand behind these athletes.”

The inaugural 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship gathered the global Adaptive Surfing community to provide surfers with physical challenges with a platform to compete for their country and display their talent with the goal of growing and developing the sport. It was the biggest international Adaptive Surfing competition to date with 69 surfers from 18 countries.

The 2016 edition will feature new improvements as there will be team medals awarded and two new divisions have been added – a visually impaired division and a new standing division that will separate the standing and kneeling surfers into two divisions based on the level of their impairment.

The divisions will be as follows:

  • two athletes AS-1 (Surfers that ride in a standing or kneeling position)
  • two athletes AS-2 (Surfers that ride in a standing or kneeling position)
  • one visually impaired athlete
  • one athlete Assist (Surfers who need assistance catching waves)
  • one athlete Prone (Surfers who ride lying down)
  • one athlete Upright (Surfers who ride a waveski and sit in an upright position on the board propelled by a paddle)

Additionally, each team will be required to field a female athlete in one of the aforementioned divisions, or their team will only be allowed to field seven athletes as opposed to eight.

The event schedule will be as follows:

  • December 7 – ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium
  • December 8 – ISA Adaptive Surfing Clinic and Opening Ceremony
  • December 9 – 11 – Competition
  • December 11 – Closing Ceremony

All events will take place at La Jolla Shores beach, with the location of the ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium to be determined.

The action will be streamed live December 9-11 on www.isaworlds.com.

The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).