The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced that the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games will take place in the picturesque beach town of Jacó, Costa Rica from August 6-14, bringing the competition back to the country for the first time since the very successful 2009 edition in nearby Playa Hermosa.
Team Costa Rica, the champion of the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games in Nicaragua, will have the opportunity to defend their title on their local waves, and attempt to win consecutive titles for the first time since Team Australia did it in 2008.
Uniting the top international Surfing talent since 1964, the ISA World Surfing Games is an Olympic-style team competition that features National Surfing Teams consisting of up to four men and two women. With 132 surfers representing 27 countries at the 2015 event, 2016 is expected to be even larger as athletes will flock to compete in the world renowned and powerful waves of Costa Rica for Individual Medals and the coveted World Team Champion Trophy.
The 2016 ISA World Surfing Games will take place on the back of the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include Surfing on the Sports Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With Surfing already having been recommended by Tokyo 2020 for inclusion, the IOC will make the final decision at the IOC Session in Rio this August. This could potentially lead the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games to be the first major World Championship to take place with Surfing as an Olympic sport.
Costa Rica, an emerging Surfing nation bountiful with young, world-class talent, has used Surfing and the hosting of the ISA World Surfing Games to grow the surf-tourism industry and develop their economy. According to Costa Rica’s Institute of Tourism, in 2013 over 200,000 tourists visited Costa Rica for surfing, leading to an economic impact of over USD $300 million.
The key impact of Surfing in Costa Rica and the Central American region as a whole has not gone unnoticed by the Olympic Movement, as it was recently announced that Surfing will be included on the Sports Programme of the 2017 Central American Games in Managua, Nicaragua.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“I am ecstatic to confirm that the ISA will return to Costa Rica for the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games and provide the world’s top surfers with the dreamy, impressive waves that their shoreline has to offer. Surfing is an integral and vibrant part of Costa Rican culture and the performance of their athletes at an international level attests to this.
“With Team Costa Rica defending their title in their home waves and the pending Olympic announcement, this event has all the elements to be a monumental milestone for Surfing.”
President of the Costa Rican Surfing Federation, Randall Cháves, said:
“The fact that the current Team World Champion will have the incredible opportunity to defend their title at home is amazing for the athletes as well as the fans of the sport in this country. We envision a record breaking World Championship like in 2009, but above all we envision an extraordinary opportunity for tourism by showcasing the waves, athletes and people of Costa Rica.”
The Costa Rican Minister of Sport, Carolina Mauri, said:
“It will be an honor and privilege to receive this ISA World Championship in Jacó so we can open the doors of our country to the rest of the world and unite through Surfing, sport, and culture.
“I encourage Costa Rica’s National Surfing Team to give their best effort in this competition where they will defend their World Champion title to make the people of Costa Rica feel proud.”
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 104 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).