THE 2013 REEF ISA WORLD SURFING GAMES IN PANAMA KICKS OFF SATURDAY WITH THE OPENING CEREMONY AND PRESS CONFERENCE

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Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle taking advantage of the great pre-event conditions to warm up as he gets ready to face the world’s best surfers. Photo: ISA/ Rommel Gonzales.

All 24 National Teams will Parade Through the Streets of Soná and the Games will Officially be Declared Open

The 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama begins Saturday with the Opening Ceremony, featuring the traditional Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony, followed by the official Press Conference.

All 24 National Teams and over 150 participating athletes and team officials will gather in the Province of Veraguas, an hour drive from Santa Catalina, to parade down the streets of the town of Soná, in front of government officials, and thousands of local spectators and supporters of surfing.

“All teams have arrived in Panama and are warming up in the world-class reef break in Santa Calatlina,” remaked ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “I am very happy and honored to have an ISA Championship for the fourth year in a row in Panama. Especially, I would like to thank you President Martinelli and Tourism Minister Shamah for their long term commitment and support to the development of surfing in Panama as part of sustainable tourist industry. I wish the best of luck to all of the competitors.”

On Saturday, the Opening Ceremony will officially mark the start of the World Surfing Games, and will feature the ISA’s traditional Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony. This ceremony allows each participating nation to come to the stage waving their national flag while pouring sand from their local beach into a glass container symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations through the love of surfing.

Following the Opening Ceremony, government officials, dignitaries, and dozens of Panama’s local media outlets will get together in the Municipality of Soná for the Official Press Conference.

Competition will officially start on Sunday in Santa Catalina, where the world’s best surfers will compete for the Fernando Aguerre World Team Champion Trophy, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President’s Trophy and Individual and Team Medals.

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Argentina’s Leandro Usuna flying high across one of the many different sections that the wave at Santa Catalina offers. Photo: ISA/Rommel Gonzales

This will be the inaugural year that the Trophy named and donated by the long-time ISA President will be awarded. Aguerre, who has elevated the stature of surfing and the ISA during his tenure, was first elected President in 1994 and has been re-elected 7 times since.

Additionally, in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean, the World Team Champion will be awarded the “Copa V Centenario Del Descubrimiento Del Oceano Pacifico,” or 5th Century Cup of the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean. This commemorative trophy marks the discovery of the Pacific Ocean during the colonial era by the Conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

The live webcast of the Opening Ceremony begins at 10am on Saturday, local time and can be viewed on http://www.isawsg.com/live

Here is the Opening Ceremony Schedule:
Saturday, 10am Santa Catalina, Panama
Saturday, 8am West Coast USA
Saturday, 5pm Western Europe
Sunday, midnight Sydney, Australia

About the International Surfing Association
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).