Para Surfing to be considered for Paralympic Games inclusion

Published on 02/02/2023

Para Surfing has been shortlisted for additional inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics.

The 2028 LA Paralympic Games will retain the same 22 sports as the rescheduled Tokyo Games and the 2024 Paris program.

However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has given Games organisers the option of adding Para Climbing and Para Surfing to the schedule.

If either sport is put forward, the IPC Governing Board will make a final decision by the end of the year.

World Champion Para Cyclist and 3x World Champion Para Surfer, Matt Formston welcomed the news.

“I became a cyclist because I wanted to go to the Paralympics. I didn’t love cycling. I love surfing. To be able to wear the green and gold doing the sport I love is massive.”

Surfing remains in contention after a successful Para Surfing World Championships at Pismo Beach in California last year. The Irukandjis team returning home with a huge medal haul including a gold.

“We’ve got an extremely strong team already and it gets stronger every year. We’ve got the waves here, we’ve got the culture, with a bit of government funding – that would come as a result of Paralympic inclusion – and a goal to work towards, I think we’d be very deadly at a Paralympic level,” Formston said.

But he added that they’re not likely to include every category in LA.

“My gut feeling is that they’ll include two (out of nine) categories. It’s super exciting, but nerve racking too. If my category and my gender don’t get included in LA then hopefully it’ll get a run in Brisbane. My dream is to go to LA and retire as a professional surfer at the Brisbane Paralympics. My son will be 18, we can do a father-son team and I get to finish my career with a Paralympics at home.”

A total of 33 sports had applied to be part of the 2028 program.

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