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The government of Costa Rica, on the authority of the President and the Minister of Sport, has decreed the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games a matter of public and national interest – meaning that the public and private sectors of the Central American nation can contribute economic resources to ensure the successful execution of the event which will take place in Playa Jacó, from August 6 – 14, 2016.

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Noe Mar McGonagle’s individual Gold Medal performance propelled Costa Rica to win the Team Gold Medal at the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games in Nicaragua. Photo: ISA / Nelly

In the Presidential decree, it was acknowledged that the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games presents a unique opportunity to:

  • Encourage physical and social development for Costa Rican citizens that will boost health and well-being through sport, recreation and physical activity
  • Provide young people with the opportunity to channel their energies through Surfing either by participating competitively or recreationally
  • Boost sports tourism in Costa Rica through hospitality and transportation services

The municipality of Jacó has also pledged strong support to the hosting of the Championship.

Coming on the back of the decision by the IOC on whether to include Surfing on the Sports Program for Tokyo 2020 at the IOC Session in Rio in early August, the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games could be the first major world championship to take place with Surfing as an Olympic sport.

Costa Rica has a rich Surfing culture and, according to Costa Rica’s Institute for Tourism, 10% of tourism in 2013 was due to Surfing – contributing USD $340,000,000. It is expected that the arrival of the teams and spectators for the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games will also provide a boost to the local economy.

Costa Rica spectacularly won the team competition at the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games in Nicaragua and Costa Rican Noe Mar McGonagle was also the individual men’s champion. The ISA World Surfing Games was also held in Costa Rica in 2009 where Jeremy Flores and Courtney Conlogue won the individual competitions.

Team Costa Rica will aim to keep the World Team Champion Trophy on their home soil in 2016. Photo: ISA / Nelly

Surfing in Costa Rica and the wider Central American region has had a big impact within the Olympic Movement following the announcement that Surfing and StandUp Paddle [SUP] will be included on the Sports Program for the 2017 Central American Games in Managua, Nicaragua.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“We are honored and delighted that the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games has been decreed as a matter of national interest by the President of Costa Rica. Surfing is a vibrant part of Costa Rican culture and this declaration underlines the powerful impact of our sport.

“Events like the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games are a wonderful showcase of Surfing’s youthful energy and unique culture – I can’t wait to see some of the world’s most talented athletes on the fantastic waves in Playa Jacó, during peak Surfing season.

“As we continue on our path towards Olympic inclusion, we are encouraged by our progress. We are embarking on a ground-breaking new era for our sport and it’s clear that Surfing has a very bright future.”

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), Layne Beachley (AUS), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).