ISA Gains Historic Recognition from International Paralympic Committee

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Adaptive Surfing takes one step closer to Paralympic inclusion

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is delighted to announce that it has been recognized as the official International Federation for the sport of Para Surfing (also known as ‘Adaptive Surfing’) by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

77 adaptive surfers from 22 nations gather in La Jolla, California to celebrate the opening of the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

After the International Olympic Committee’s historic decision to include Surfing on the Sports Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Games in August of 2016, the ISA has continued with its ambitions to include Adaptive Surfing in the Paralympic Games, and this IPC recognition brings the sport one step closer to achieving that goal.

The ISA has been the global leader in the growth and development of Adaptive Surfing through organizing World Championships, Adaptive Surf Clinics, and Symposiums.

In 2015 the ISA held the inaugural ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship with the goal of giving the world’s best physically challenged surfers a platform to display their talent on a global stage.

The second annual edition in 2016, with the support of Stance as Title Sponsor, demonstrated the rapid growth that the sport is experiencing around the world, with a record-breaking 77 athletes from 22 nations taking to the water to represent their nations and compete for Gold.

The 2017 edition of the event, which is set to take place from November 30 – December 3 in La Jolla, California, is expected to have even greater participation and will feature the addition of the first women’s division in the event, reflecting the increase in participation of women in Adaptive Surfing.

The ISA have also spurred worldwide growth of the Adaptive Surfing by mobilizing partners across the globe and encouraging Member Nations to adopt the sport. Riding the wave of momentum created by the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship, ISA Member Nations such as France, Australia, Chile, Brazil, USA, Hawaii, and South Africa have all held their own National Championships to select teams for the event.

Brazil’s Davi Teixeira surfs on his way to being crowned the 2016 World Champion in the Assist Division. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The ISA has also led the way in the technical management of Adaptive Surfing, having developed an Adaptive Surfing Classification System and Rulebook and having assembled an ISA Adaptive Surfing Advisory Board comprised of experts in the sport from around the globe.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“I would like to thank the IPC for accepting us into the Paralympic family. The ISA is fully committed to the global development of Adaptive Surfing and will continue to work in unison with our 100 Members Nations, the global Adaptive Surfing community, and the IPC.

“We welcome the guidance, expertise, and support of the IPC to help create the better opportunities and wider accessibility for adaptive surfers to practice and grow the sport.

“Adaptive Surfing is a vibrant sport infused with youthful energy and high-performance qualities that we think would add great value to the Paralympic Games. We feel that Paralympic recognition is the next step forward in the ISA’s ultimate goal of seeing Adaptive Surfing included in the Paralympic Sports Program.”

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 103 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).