32 participants from 14 countries lay foundation to further grow and develop Adaptive Surfing across the globe
The International Surfing Association (ISA) today celebrates the success of its first-ever Adaptive Surfing Instructor Certification Program, a major development in the growth and professionalization of the discipline around the world.
The program, which ran online December 7-11, included 32 participants from fourteen countries, setting a foundation to create a global standard, guidelines, and best practices for the instruction of adaptive surfers.
Developed in partnership with AmpSurf, Surfability UK, and the Foundation for Global Sports Development, the program participants featured key regional and global leaders of the sport and surf therapy organizations, as well as past ISA World Para-Surfing Champions, such as Victoria Feige (CAN) and Adi Klang (ISR). The course, delivered by ISA Presenters Ben Clifford, Dana Cummings, and Andy Joyce, received excellent feedback from the participants who learned valuable insight to apply to their adaptive surf instruction.
The ISA is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the International Federation for Para Surfing, also known as Adaptive Surfing. Since 2015 the ISA has been crowning Para Surfing World Champions and building a global network within its 108 National Federations to provide more access to Adaptive Surfing – competitively, recreationally, and therapeutically – for surfers with challenges or disabilities.
The goal of the Certification Program is to create a global standard for those leading Adaptive Surfing or surf therapy programs around the world, ensuring that instructors are adequately trained and have the skillset to work with adaptive surfers.
To learn more about Para Surfing, click here.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“Making surfing more accessible for people with physical challenges has long been a major priority for us at the ISA. From working at the grassroots level, to hosting the first World Championship, to now standardizing the discipline’s instruction, it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come.
“Surfing has a therapeutic power to heal and bring joy. It’s a gift that needs to be spread around the world to those who need it. Knowing that we now have our first wave of certified instructors to ensure proper practices and techniques, I am confident that we will continue to see the sport touch more lives worldwide and see increased competitive level among the surfers.
“This is one more big step along the path of growing and developing the discipline, a path we hope – and deserves to – one day earn a spot on the Paralympic stage.”
ISA Para Surfing World Champion and program participant Victoria Feige (CAN) said:
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking the first ISA Adaptive Surf Instructor certification course. This course reinforces that surfing is for everyone. It lays a foundation of inclusive instruction and coaching with excellent manuals, videos, and experienced course leaders. Adaptive surfing requires knowledge, creativity, and balance of risk and safety. This past week has provided an awesome framework to help get other adaptive surfers into the water and riding the waves. I can’t wait to put these skills into practice.”
Ben Brondsema (NED), founder of Surfivor Surf Therapy Program said:
“As a former police officer that founded Surfivor in 2019 to serve veterans, first responders, and care takers who are dealing with PTSD, I was thrilled with the opportunity to participate in the first-ever ISA Adaptive Surf Instructor course. Last year our team evaluated the need to include adaptive surfing into our programs since many of our target group have some sort a traumatic disability. The ISA Adaptive Surf Instructor course was a perfect step to learn and add Adaptive Surfing to our regular programs.”
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).