The International Surfing Association [ISA] has confirmed that junior surfers from 32 countries across all five continents have applied for the 2015 ISA Scholarship Programme highlighting the global reach of Surfing and its impact on young people across the world.
The ISA Scholarship Programme offers financial aid to surfers who are under 18 to further their education, pay for travel to surf contests, pay for contest and coaching fees and upgrade their surfing equipment. Athletes are considered based on their dedication to Surfing as well as their academic performance.
The ISA Individual Scholarship was established in 2007 and has awarded more than USD $228,500 in scholarships to further the education and surfing careers of 267 surfers. Scholarship winners have gone on to compete at national and international Surfing competitions with the help of the financial aid.
There have been many success stories as a result of the initiative including, Chelsea Tuach, a 2008 scholarship recipient from Barbados who has recently qualified for the 2016 World Surf League Championship Tour where she will compete amongst the world’s top 17 female surfers. Chelsea was also a bronze medallist at the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games in Popoyo, Nicaragua.
15 year old Sakunthala Hanumanthapa from India was an ISA Scholarship recipient in 2014. Due to the extreme poverty they were facing in their hometown in the Karnataka region of the country, Sakunthala’s family relocated to Kovalam in Kerala when she was very young. Unable to attend school on a regular basis due to language barriers, Sakunthala defied the social norms and became the only female surfer to join the Kovalam Surf Club where she became a role model for other girls who she encouraged to join the club. She continued to surf recreationally after receiving the ISA Scholarship.
The 2015 ISA Scholarship winners will be announced in early April 2016.
Speaking about the ISA Scholarship Programme, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“We are very proud of the ISA Scholarship Programme and we’re delighted that young surfers from 32 countries across all five continents have applied this year. This underlines the fantastic reach of Surfing and its popularity amongst young people all over the world.
“The ISA Scholarship Programme gives young surfers an excellent opportunity to pursue their Surfing careers but it also supports them academically. These young surfers are the future of our sport and whether they go on to compete professionally or continue to surf recreationally, it gives me great inspiration to see the love for Surfing globally. It would be wonderful to see some of our scholarship applicants Surfing on the waves at Tokyo 2020.”
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).