2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship Officially Declared Open

Posted - News Posted for Fiji News, ISA News, World Surfing News.

26 National Teams set to compete at Fiji’s world renowned wave of Cloudbreak

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The 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship was officially declared open in Port Denarau, Fiji, marking the inauguration of the first-ever ISA World Championship in this island nation and another example of the ISA’s push to grow SUP globally.

FreeSurf_SeanEvans-8ISA President Fernando Aguerre officially declares open the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship along with a representive from each of the 26 participating nations. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The 26 National SUP and Paddleboard Teams present in Fiji will kick off the competition on Sunday, November 13 with SUP Surfing at Fiji’s world-renowned wave, Cloudbreak.

In attendance at the Opening Ceremony were 244 athletes that travelled from around the world to compete for Gold Medals and represent their nation.

Dignitaries present included ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Honorable Faiyaz Koya, CEO of Tourism Fiji, Matthew Stoeckel, ISA Vice Presidents, Karin Sierralta and Casper Steinfath, the latter of which will compete at the event for Team Denmark.

FreeSurf_SeanEvans-3Dignitaries present at the Opening Ceremony from left to right: Tourism Fiji CEO, Matthew Stoeckel, ISA Vice President, Karin Sierralta, Fiji Minster for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, and ISA President, Fernando Aguerre. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The ceremony began with the Parade of Nations, as each National Surfing Team marched along the marina at Port Denarau waving their national flags while ringing out national cheers in unison. The Fiji Police Band led the parade with a taste of local Fijian music.

Upon arriving to the Opening Ceremony stage the Fijian National Anthem greeted the international competitors.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, addressed the athletes and spectators:

“I would like to wish the athletes the best of luck for the week to come. A few of you will go home with medals, but each of you is a champion because you have earned the right to represent your nation in this international competition. When you go home, go home as an ambassador of Fijian warmth and culture.”

“We know about the incredible waves that Fiji is blessed with, but the most memorable part of the country for me has been the Fijians that have received us with their amazing ‘bula’ spirit.

Fiji’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Honorable Faiyaz Koya, followed and spoke to the crowd:

“SUP is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. I am confident that this event will contribute to the even stronger mainstreaming of the sport at international level.

“The venues and the race courses for the competition are incredibly beautiful, but this is only a fraction of what Fiji has to offer. Our many islands and beaches along with our unique culture and hospitality truly makes Fiji a special place. This is something I hope you all can take time to explore and experience.”

_EED8882Fijians perform a traditional dance to give the international field of competitors a taste of the local culture. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Next, two members from each team participated in the Flags of the World Ceremony in which flags of every nation were placed in a clear container to symbolize the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through SUP.

To conclude the ceremony, the flag bearer from every competing nation took to the stage and waved their flags with pride as ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, officially declared the competition open.

FreeSurf_SeanEvans-9Competitors from visiting nations unite with the local Fijians and celebrate the inauguration of the competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The schedule for the first day of competition is the following:

SUP Surfing – Cloudbreak
8am – 12pm: 12 heats Men Main Event Round 1
12pm – 2pm: 6 heats Women Main Event Round 1
2pm – 4pm: 6 heats Men Main Event Round 2
4pm – 5pm: 3 heats Women Main Event Round 2

The schedule for the remainder of the competition window is the following:

November 13-15: SUP Surfing, Cloudbreak
November 16: Technical SUP and Paddleboard Races, Cloudbreak
November 17-18: Distance SUP and Paddleboard Races, Cloudbreak to Musket Cove
November 19: Lay day
November 20: Relay Races, 500m Sprint and Closing Ceremony, Port Denarau

*Local time in Fiji. Schedule subject to changes

Tune into the live webcast November 12-20 here: http://isaworlds.com/sup/2016/en/

About the International Surfing Association
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).