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Adaptive Surfing History Is Made as All 69 athletes from 18 Countries Take to the Water

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USA_Alana_Nichols_ISA_Reynolds_smallRepresentative of Team USA, Alana Nichols, finds a glassy wave at La Jolla Shores.
Photo: ISA/Reynolds

Day one of competition of the 2015 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Adaptive Surfing Championship Presented by Challenged Athletes Foundation, Hurley, Stance and the City of San Diego was completed, as the global Adaptive Surfing community united at La Jolla Shores.

69 surfers from 18 countries took to the water, marking the largest international Adaptive Surfing competition of its kind to date.

The opening day of competition took place in clean, glassy conditions, as athletes competed for a chance to surf in the Finals on Sunday. Athletes from all four divisions, Stand, Upright, Prone and Assist, made the most of the 2-3 foot waves at La Jolla Shores, executing impressive carves and maneuvers.

The stand out surfer of the day was South Africa’s Antony Smyth, scoring the highest two wave heat total of 16.77. Smyth, who has paralysis in his right arm, will go on to represent his country in the Finals on Sunday for a chance to win Gold.

RSA_Antony_Smyth_ISA_ReynoldsSouth Africa’s Antony Smyth set the tone early with the highest heat score of the day.
Photo: ISA/Reynolds

Lucas Retamales, a blind surfer from Chile, put on an inspiring performance drawing a huge reaction from the crowd. He was able to sense incoming waves and get long rides from deep in the ocean to the beach. Having lost his surfboard in the recent Chilean tsunami, Retamales kept his composure and put on a spectacular effort on a borrowed board.

CHI_Lucas_Galarce2_ISA_Ferguson Blind surfer from Chile, Lucas Retamales, impresses the crowd in his round one heat.
Photo: ISA/Ferguson

On the women’s side, Danielle Burt, representative of Team USA, spoke about the union of the global Adaptive Surfing community after her Round 1 heat.

“In my next heat I get to surf with the guy who inspired me to get into Surfing in the first place, Alcino “Pirata” Neto. He was the first above knee amputee I’ve ever seen standing up on a surfboard.

“It was also great to meet Eric Welton. He started surfing after seeing pictures of me, which is what the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is all about, to inspire other people.”

HAW_Eric_Welton4_ISA_ReynoldsHawaii’s Eric Welton taking advantage of the clean morning conditions at La Jolla Shores.
Photo: ISA/Reynolds

ISA President Fernando Aguerre commented on the action packed first day of competition.

“The first round of competition was absolutely amazing! Seeing all of the athletes on the beach cheering and rooting for their country and the other countries was so inspirational. Every one of these athletes has a unique story that has led them to this ISA World Championship. It is a beautiful thing to see them in one place, forming new friendships and paving the road for the future growth and development of Adaptive Surfing around the world.”

The competition will resume on Sunday with the Finals and Closing Ceremony.

All day on Saturday, the athletes and team officials will gather for the Adaptive Surfing Symposium to discuss the best practices and the future of the sport. The Symposium will take place at Challenged Athletes Foundation headquarters from 10am-3pm.

Competition will continue on Sunday with the live webcast at 6:45am PST:

Friday, 6:45am San Diego, USA
Friday, 10:45am Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Friday, 1:45pm Paris, France
Friday, 11:45pm Sydney Australia

The event schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 26 – 10am-3pm: Adaptive Surfing Symposium featuring keynote speakers about the future development of Adaptive Surfing at Deni + Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center.

Sunday, Sept. 27 – 7am-5pm PST: Live webcast of competition Finals at La Jolla Shores to culminate with the event’s Medal and Closing Ceremony

To see Friday’s full results, visit:

To follow all the action, visit –

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. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Para 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; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).