On Wednesday, April 6, the International Surfing Association (ISA) united its 98 Member Nations to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. This unique day encourages wider access to sport and underlines the power of sport as a universal tool for social change, development and peace.
ISA Member Nations contributed on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by participating in the White Card Campaign, a symbolic movement where athletes post photos with white cards to represent peace and the positive impacts that sport has had in their lives. Surfers from the ISA Member Nations of Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Sierra Leone and India took part in the celebration, underlining how Surfing has uniquely created positive social impact in their countries.
Exemplifying the far-reaching and powerful effects of Surfing, the 98th and newest ISA Member, Sierra Leone, engaged the Surfing youth to take part in the White Card Campaign. The Sierra Leonean surfers displayed their white cards to show how Surfing in Sierra Leone has acted as an outlet for joy and happiness, helping the country and especially the youth overcome the difficult times caused by civil war and the Ebola epidemic.
India, a developing surfing nation like Sierra Leone, also utilized April 6th to highlight the benefits that Surfing has provided their country. With a diverse range of ethnic and cultural groups, the White Card Campaign represented how surfers in India have taken the initiative and assumed the responsibility to be the face of social change. Surfing has united these groups and celebrates their multi-cultural heritage by sharing a common passion for the sport.
The ISA has committed to utilizing the sport of Surfing as a tool to create positive social change through the ISA Scholarship and Coaching Programs. Since 2007, the ISA has awarded 267 Scholarships worth a total of USD $228,500 to underprivileged, young surfers from over 40 countries to further their education and progress their surfing ability. Furthermore, the ISA Coaching Program has certified over 5,000 surf and SUP instructors world-wide, providing a standard for safety, quality and efficacy for the development of the sport in these countries.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“Surfing is not just a sport. It is a lifestyle and a tool that has the incredible proven ability to transcend racial and cultural barriers, unite people of different backgrounds and create social change. We are stoked to participate in International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. It’s an amazing day to bring to light the enormous power of sport to bring a better world through peace, love and respect for each other.”
See more photos from International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on the ISA’s Facebook page.
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).