ISA President Reaffirms Paralympic Ambitions on Back of Surfing’s Successful Olympic Debut

Published on 30/09/2021

La Jolla, California, September 28, 2021 – Following Surfing’s successful debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the President of the International Surfing Association (ISA) Fernando Aguerre, continues to highlight the ISA’s pursuit and ambition to see Para Surfing included on the sports program of the Paralympic Games. The ISA previously applied for Para Surfing in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games but was unsuccessful. With the LA 2028 Games as the next potential opportunity to add new sports to the program, the ISA has its sights set on repeating the historic debut of Olympic Surfing on the Paralympic stage. From Dec 6-11 the ISA will hold the sixth edition of the 2021 Pismo Beach World Para Surfing Championship hosted by AmpSurf, a driving force behind the global growth and development of the sport, particularly at the level of elite competition. Since the event’s inception in 2015, athlete participation has more than doubled in the event, with the 2020 edition receiving 133 athletes from 22 countries across all 5 continents.

The World Para Surfing Championship spurred the growth of the sport throughout the ISA’s global member network, with new grassroots programs popping up in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, and South Africa, to name a few. 

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said: “After witnessing the excitement and youth that surfing injected into the Olympic Games, we are more motivated than ever to continue pushing for Para Surfing’s inclusion in the Paralympic Games. We know Para Surfing can deliver that same very positive and impactful engagement that Surfing brought to Tokyo 2020 – a game-changer for the Olympics. “We continue to maintain engaged dialogue with the IPC and attentively wait to learn about the process for selecting new sports for the LA 2028 Paralympic Games. We will once again put Para Surfing forward as a sport that can bring great, unique value, a connection with nature, and a new audience to the program. With LA 2028 and Brisbane 2032 on the horizon – both renowned surfing destinations – the runway could not be more perfect to add our dynamic sport to the Paralympics. 

“Since making the development of Para Surfing a core priority for the ISA, I am proud of the platform that we have created to provide an arena for the world’s best athletes to compete at the World Championship level, and call themselves World Champions – now that is special. “Most importantly, our Paralympic ambitions are about spreading the joy of surfing around the globe. Surfing is healing and therapeutic. Many people with physical challenges, regardless of their surfing skill levels, have discovered the sport and experienced its life-changing qualities. Continuing to increase the reach and audience of the sport through the Paralympic platform, will allow us to further spread the power of sport, on our mission to make the world a better place through surfing.”

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