A successful meeting between ISA President, Fernando Aguerre and Panamanian Minister of Tourism, Mr. Salomón Shamah was held during the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica. Shamah showed a great deal of interest in letting the surfing community know that Panama is a “Surfing friendly” country. The campaign has already begun with an initiative by Panama´s main airline, COPA Airlines, by not charging extra fees for surfboards on most of their flights.
The promotion “Bring your Surfboard for Free to Panama,” runs between September 15 – November 15, 2009. It will resume on March 1, 2010 and run through May 30, 2010.
One board bag with a maximum of two boards inside is allowed per person on flights coming from the United States of America (Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, Washington, and New York), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Manaus) and Costa Rica (San José).
The only thing you have to do is call the COPA Airlines call center and let them know that you’re going to travel with surfboards.
According to ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, “”I congratulate Mr. Shamas for his support of surfing. Panama is certainly one of the greatest surfing destinations in the world. Add tropical weather, warm water, and the welcoming nature of the Panamanian people and you have a top place in the short list of destinations for any traveling surfer. Gracias Panama!”
Wave-rich Panama, home of the world-famous breaks Santa Catalina and Bocas del Toro, is providing the unique chance of going on an exotic surf trip without the added cost of surfboard baggage fees.
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).