The International Surfing Association has today reaffirmed its commitment to Surfing’s long-term Olympic future and its inclusion at both Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, after the sport was recently named the Official Sport of California.
Last month, California State assembly member Al Muratsuchi wrote and shepherded through the legislature that named Surfing as the official sport of California. While the new law acknowledges that Surfing was born in Hawaii, it makes clear that California helped revolutionise the sport into its current incarnation, is the biggest hub of the surfboard manufacturing industry and it hosts the ISA and the World Surf League (WSL) world HQ.
The announcement further highlights that Surfing would be an ideal fit for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. It underlines the important role Surfing has to play, both culturally and athletically, within the Olympic Movement.
In announcing the new law, Muratsuchi commented that “no other sport represents the California Dream better than Surfing,” adding that he estimates the sport generates more than $6 billion per year for the state. With Los Angeles 2028 now firmly on the horizon, the long-term establishment of Surfing on the Olympic Sports Programme would showcase California’s deep connections to the sport while celebrating the sport’s lifestyle and youthful energy.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“California is synonymous with Surfing. Across the state’s amazing coastline, countless world-renowned surf spots and authentic local surf culture, there is so much to celebrate as we look ahead to 2028. We are grateful to the state legislature for making official what many live every day – that this is the cultural home of modern-day Surfing.
At the ISA, we are committed to the continued promotion of surfing around the world while continuing to add value to the Olympic Movement, which is why Surfing and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games would be the perfect combination.
“This is an exciting time for Surfing. After the sport makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, our hope is to build on this success at Paris 2024, before what could be a very special homecoming in 2028. I am sure I speak for the whole Surfing community when I say we are stoked about our ongoing Olympic journey.”
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).