The International Surfing Association (ISA) today heralded the decision for Surfing to be included on the Sports Programme for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru as a significant moment in the history of the sport and a clear sign of the strength of Surfing’s presence and appeal in the Americas.
The decision was made by the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) General Assembly yesterday in Toronto, Canada following a recommendation by the PASO Executive Committee and a request submitted by the Lima organisers.
While the exact events have not yet been defined, based on discussions with PASO and Lima 2019, ISA expects to include Shortboard and Longboard Surfing and StandUp Paddle (SUP) racing in the Games programme.
The ISA has been working hard to promote and grow the sport and its structures in the Americas in recent years, developing a vibrant and active membership in the region. The ISA has also held a multitude of World Championships on the continent hosting world class events across a diverse range of countries including; Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, USA and Venezuela.
Anali Gomez is carried up the beach after being crowned Women’s Gold Medalist of the 50th Anniversary ISA World Surfing Games in her home country of Peru, which will be the location of the 2019 Pan Am Games. Photo: ISA/Rommel Gonzales
Surfing has a rich history in Peru with Peruvian Surfers excelling at the ISA World Championships since 1965 when Felipe Pomar won the Gold Medal in the Open Men’s Division. Peru’s Sofía Mulanovich won Gold in the ISA World Surfing Games Open Women’s Division in 2004, and Peru won Team Gold at the ISA World Junior Championships in 2011 – demonstrating the exceptional progress of the Latin American nation in the sport, and also setting an excellent example for surfers across the Americas.
The addition of Surfing at the Pan American Games is also seen as a key moment for the sport, highlighting Surfing’s ability to adapt to a major multi-sport event with world class athletes competing as part of a national team on an international stage. Surfing is currently in the shortlist of 8 sports being considered for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games.
Speaking from Toronto about the landmark moment ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“This is a great moment for Surfing and I’d like thank our friends at PASO and Lima for their support and for providing us with the opportunity to participate in such a prestigious event as the Pan American Games. Surfing has a rich heritage in Peru and across the Americas and we’re excited to see the top Surfing athletes showcasing their unique skills and incredible athletic ability in Lima in 2019. The continent is host to some of the top surfing nations in the world, such as the Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru and USA.
“It’s wonderful to see Surfing underlining its compatibility with a multi-sport format, where athletes can compete with pride and passion in unison with compatriots under their national flag. This adaptability is another strength that Surfing can draw on as we also aim for inclusion in the Olympic Games.
“Surfing has incredible youth appeal. Its unique core strengths and its global lifestyle and culture will add huge value and excitement to Lima 2019. The world-class competition involving young, cool athletes, who can connect with youthful audiences, will provide great entertainment for the local and international fans and the TV viewers across the region and the world.”
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).