On Monday, April 6, the International Surfing Association (ISA) joined the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, and the international sports community participating in the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. This unique day recognizes the power of sport as a universal tool for positive social change. It also encourages a healthier lifestyle, wider access to sport, and peace building, while fighting against discrimination and gender inequality.
Surfing for Peace celebrated April 6 by organizing an intercultural surf trip in Brazil, uniting Israelis, Palestinians, Europeans, and Latinos. Photo: Surfing 4 Peace
The ISA contributed to the cause by promoting the participation of surfers around the world to show how Surfing in particular is making a positive impact in their lives and communities. Surfers from ISA Member Nations and the international surfing community in South Africa, Mauritius, Brazil, and Nauru sent in photos to showcase their support. The photos received exemplified the diverse nature of surfers from various backgrounds, races, and social status, and the numerous ways that Surfing can have a positive impact.
“It never ceases to amaze me how people can use the sport of Surfing to create positive change in the world that so infectiously spreads to those that surround it. Surfing is not only a great physical activity, but also a sport that transcends racial and cultural barriers, bringing together people that may have never thought such a thing was possible,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is a great way to tap into the power and potential that Surfing has to promote a great cause.”
To further develop the sport of Surfing, since 2007, the ISA has awarded 267 Individual Scholarships worth a total of USD $228,500 to under-18 year old budding Surfers from over 40 countries. The scholarship recipients received funds to go towards further education, travel to Surfing competitions, competition fees and Surfing equipment. These ISA Ambassadors represent the core values of the sport and act as positive role models for other young Surfers in their communities.
Below are a few examples showing how the global surfing community participated in International Day of Sport for Development and Peace:
All the surfers on the Surfing for Peace trip joined together to form a peace circle in the waters of Barra da Lagoa, Santa Catarina, Brazil, to showcase the power of Surfing. Photo: Surfing 4 Peace
Surfers from Salt Surfers Mauritius, an initiative that combines Surfing and Water Polo to keep youth off the street and build character, hold white cards to symbolize peace. Photo: Salt Surfers Mauritius
Young surfers from Aleph Surf display their white cards for peace. Aleph Surf uses Surfing as a tool to breakdown racial and cultural barriers to unite the people of South Africa. Photo: Aleph Surf
Nauru Surf Club participating with white cards on April 6th. Photo: Nauru Surf Club
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).