2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Breaks Country Participation Record on Road to Tokyo 2020

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

Opening Ceremony to inaugurate first ISA World Championship in Japan in 27 years

The 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship has broken the participation record for number countries in the event’s 38-year history. 306 athletes from 41 countries will take to the water and compete in Hyuga, Japan, surpassing the mark set in 2016 of 39 participating countries.

The world's best junior surfers test the newly arrived swell at Okuragahama beach prior to the competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The world’s best junior surfers test the newly arrived swell at Okuragahama beach prior to the competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

To see all participating nations and their rosters, click here.

Featuring the world’s best junior surfers, the event will serve as a precursor and a significant step in the road of Olympic hopefuls towards representing their nations when Surfing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Among the record-breaking amount of nations set to compete are five nations competing in the event for their first time, evidence of the growing global reach of the sport after Surfing’s Olympic inclusion.

Channel Islands, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Fiji, and Samoa, the ISA’s 103rd and newest Member Federation, are the first-time competing nations.

The ISA World Juniors has historically proven to be an indicator of which surfers will go on to become the future stars of the sport. Ever since Surfing legend and three-time ASP World Champion, Tom Curren, was crowned the first ISA Junior World Champion in 1980, countless surfers have followed in his footsteps and used the event as a platform to burst into the international spotlight.

Several current star surfers have followed Curren’s legacy as ISA Junior World Champions, including the 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA, 2010), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW, 2014, 2013), Filipe Toledo (BRA, 2011), Tyler Wright (AUS, 2010, 2009), Alejo Muniz (BRA, 2008), Laura Enever (AUS, 2008), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS, 2007), Julian Wilson (AUS, 2006), Owen Wright (AUS, 2006), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS, 2005, 2004), Matt Wilkinson (AUS, 2004), Jordy Smith (RSA, 2003), and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA, 2015).

The competition will be inaugurated on Saturday afternoon with the Opening Ceremony in the lush, coastal city of Hyuga. The National Delegations will participate in the traditional Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony, pouring sand from their local beaches into a container to symbolize the peaceful gathering of nations through Surfing.

Hyuga, Japan is a surf destination located on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu known for its breathtaking views. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Hyuga, Japan is a surf destination located on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu known for its breathtaking views. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

On Friday morning the official press conference of the event took place in Hyuga, featuring various dignitaries from the parties involved in the event’s organization. Among the dignitaries present were ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, Mayor of Hyuga City, Toya Kohei, and President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Sakai Atsushi.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“This is a very special time for the sport of Surfing. In three short years the best surfers in the world will come to Japan to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Japan will forever hold a significant place in the history of the sport as the first host of the first Olympic Surfing competition.

“The level of talent that we will witness this week between the boys and the girls is incredible. Many future Olympic surfers may be participating in this edition of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.

“I would like to thank Vissla, the organizing committee, the leaders of the event, and the people of Japan for making this possible. The last time an ISA World Championship was held in Japan was 1990, we are extremely happy to be back.

“In a world shocked by conflicts, once again we bring the world together in peace through Surfing and our love for the ocean.”

Dignitaries were at the press conference in Hyuga from left to right:  Director of the Nippon Surfing Association, Kimifumi Imoto, Event Director, Katsumi Tateyama, Mayor of Hyuga City, Toya Kohei, wife of Fernando Aguerre, Flor Gomez Gerbi, ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Sakai Atsushi, Member of Costa Rica’s National Surfing Team, Leilani McGonagle, Member of Japan’s National Surfing Team, Yuji Nishi, and Friendship Ambassador of the event and 3-time Olympic swimming medalist, Takeshi Matsuda. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Dignitaries were at the press conference in Hyuga from left to right: Director of the Nippon Surfing Association, Kimifumi Imoto, Event Director, Katsumi Tateyama, Mayor of Hyuga City, Toya Kohei, wife of Fernando Aguerre, Flor Gomez Gerbi, ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Sakai Atsushi, Member of Costa Rica’s National Surfing Team, Leilani McGonagle, Member of Japan’s National Surfing Team, Yuji Nishi, and Friendship Ambassador of the event and 3-time Olympic swimming medalist, Takeshi Matsuda. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Mayor of Hyuga City, Toya Kohei, said:

“I would like to give a special thank you to the whole event staff, including the ISA and the Nippon Surfing Association.

“Hyuga, is a relaxed surf town and we would like to give the visiting international competitors a warm welcome. We pride ourselves on being an accommodating, excellent destination for surfers around the world.

“Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremony here in Hyuga featuring the traditional Japanese “Hyottoko” dance and great involvement from the local community. I hope to see you all there.”

President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Sakai Atsushi, said:

“Japan has an abundant, rich Surfing culture that is the oldest in all of Asia. Holding the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Japan is a historic moment for Surfing at a national level and also for the whole world.

“We are hosting the Olympics in three years, so the world will have their eyes fixed on this World Championship.

“I hope that the competitors enjoy the waves of Hyuga and put on a great performance for all to see.”

The event will be streamed live on www.isaworlds.com September 23 – October 1.

The full event schedule will be as follows:

September 23: Opening Ceremony, Hyuga, Japan
September 24 – October 1: Competition at Okuragahama Beach
October 1:  Closing Ceremony, Okuragahama Beach

The view the official Surfline forecast, click here.

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. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, 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, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 103 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). ƒ