47 Countries Prepared to Kick off Historic Edition of ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France

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Jeremy Flores, Tom Curren, Mayor of Biarritz, dignitaries, and top athletes gather at official press conference

Watch the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games live at www.isaworlds.com.

The 2017 ISA World Surfing Games is set to kick off in historic fashion on Saturday May 20 in Biarritz, France. 245 surfers from a record-breaking 47 countries will participate in the Opening Ceremony and take to the water at Grande Plage, marking the start of the event that will run from May 20-28.

To see a full list of teams, visit: http://isaworlds.com/wsg/2017/en/teams/

Mexico’s Dylan Southworth fine tunes his skill at Grande Plage ahead of the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Competition will get off to a quick start at 7am CET on Saturday morning, followed by a break in the heats for the Opening Ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

The Opening Ceremony will officially inaugurate the festivities, featuring the Parade of Nations and the Sands of the World Ceremony at the Casino de la Grande Plage. All 47 national surfing teams will parade through the picturesque streets of Biarritz to the Opening Ceremony stage, where they will participate in the Sands of the World, an ISA creation and tradition in which every country pours sand from their home nation into a container to symbolize the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through Surfing.

The Women’s competition will then continue at Grand Plage as the Main Event and Repechage Rounds return to the water.

On Friday morning the official press conference of the ISA World Surfing Games took place at Radisson Blu Hotel in Biarritz. A panel of influential figures in the event organization and surf culture partook in the event, including the Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, ISA Executive Director, Robert Fasulo, President of the French Surfing Federation, Jean-Luc Arassus, surf legend and Honorary Patron of the event, Tom Curren, and three participating athletes: Jeremy Flores (FRA, ISA Gold Medal 2009), Bianca Buitendag (RSA), and Leandro Usuna (ARG, ISA Gold Medal 2014, 2016).

Panel of the official press conference from left to right: Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, ISA Executive Director, Robert Fasulo, President of the French Surfing Federation, Jean-Luc Arassus, member of Team France, Jeremy Flores, Honorary Patron of the event, Tom Curren, member of Team Argentina, Leandro Usuna, and member of Team South Africa, Bianca Buitendag. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

ISA President Fernando Aguerre opened the press conference via a video message and expressed his excitement to soon arrive in Biarritz.

“I am very happy that France is hosting the most important team Surfing competition in the world. This is a historic edition of the ISA World Surfing Games with a record amount of country participation, including many first-time competing nations that are all enjoying the wave of Olympic Surfing.

“Biarritz is an ideal destination, the birthplace of Surfing in Europe, and a very important part of Surfing world history. I am very honored to be welcoming all the international delegations from around the world.”

The Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, followed and spoke to the audience:

“We have given a lot of support to host this event because we are proud to have it here in our city. It is a fantastic opportunity to promote Biarritz and the Basque Country. I hope that all the visiting international competitors have wonderful memories of their time in Biarritz to take home to their countries.”

Jean Luc Arassus, the President of the French Surfing Federation continued:

“We have put in lots of hard work to make this event as great as it can be and up to the same standard of the Olympic Games. Surfing is a sport with values that perfectly align with the Olympics and the professional and successful organization of this event will be a key step in the road to surfing’s inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It’s amazing that this year’s event will have the most countries ever in the World Surfing Games. I wish the best of luck to all the visiting teams.”

Jeremy Flores, the captain of Team France and the 2009 ISA World Surfing Games Gold Medalist, expressed his feelings about representing his nation in the upcoming competition:

“One of the best memories of my Surfing career is winning this event in 2009. Winning the ISA World Surfing Games is different than other surfing contest because you do it for your team and the whole country is behind you.

“Surfing in ISA events can be tough because you face surfers that are undiscovered and hungry to make a name for themselves on a global stage. Many athletes can’t afford to compete in the qualifying series and travel the world to make a professional career out of Surfing. This event is where you find raw talent from many nations other than the traditional countries of USA, Brazil and Australia that can truly surprise and compete at a high level.”

Lastly, member of Team South Africa, Bianca Buitendag, shared her thoughts on Surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.

“Coming to an event like this, let alone the Olympics, is a huge opportunity. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your heritage and your sport, but also the power of sport that can make many things possible like it has in our lives.”

Competition at the ISA World Surfing Games will get underway at 7am CET on Saturday morning at Grande Plage in Biarritz. The schedule for the first day of competition will be as follows (all times Central European Time):

7am – 10am: 9 heats Open Women Main Event Round 1
10am – 11am: Break
11am – 1pm: Opening Ceremony
1pm – 3pm: Break
3pm – 6:40pm: 11 heats Open Women Main Event Round 1
6:40pm – 8:40pm: 8 heats Open Women Repechage Round 1

The schedule for the week-long event is as follows (Central European Time):

May 20 – Opening Ceremony, 11am Parvis du Casino de la Grande Plage
May 20-22 – Women’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 22 – Women’s Award Ceremony, Grande Plage
May 23-28 – Men’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 26 – World Premiere of “Shredding Monsters”, an Olympic Channel Production, 8pm at the Municipal Casino Theatre, Biarritz
May 28 – Closing Ceremony, Grande Plage

Watch the event live May 20-28 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).