Historic Opening Ceremony Continues Longboard Legacy in Biarritz

Posted - News Posted for France News, ISA News, World Surfing News.

Record 102 surfers from 31 nations inaugurate ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship with Parade of Nations and Sands of the World

Women highlight world-class talent as competition gets underway

France’s duo of Justine Dupont and Alice Lemoigne lead the pack with high heat totals

Download high res photos, video highlights, and video news release here.

View schedule and heat draws here.

A historic Opening Ceremony officially inaugurated the 2019 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship in Biarritz, France, continuing the rich legacy of longboard at Côte des Basques, where the sport was first introduced to the continent in 1957.

The record breaking 102 athletes from 31 nations* marked another important milestone for the history of surfing in Biarritz, which has held numerous world-class events over the years, most recently the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games, also a record edition for athlete and country participation.

31 nations united in peace through surfing celebrate the opening of the event. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

31 nations united in peace through surfing celebrate the opening of the event. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The first heats of competition kicked off on Sunday, with the women demonstrating the first taste of the world-class talent in the event. France’s Justine Dupont and Alice Lemoigne impressed and earned two of the three high heat totals of the day.

The national delegations from all five continents of the globe participated in the ISA’s unique Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony.

The Parade of Nations marched along the city’s picturesque coast to the event venue of Côte des Basques, as thousands of spectators enjoyed the festivities in the streets of Biarritz.

Each nation brought sand from their local beaches to pour into a glass container on stage for the Sands of the World Ceremony, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through Surfing.

Dignitaries present at the celebration included Mayor of Biarritz Michel Veunac, President of the French Surfing Federation Jean-Luc Arassus, Councillor of Pyrénées-Atlantiques Department Maider Arostegey, and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo.

The Parade of Nations follows the coast at Côte des Basques in Biarritz. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

The Parade of Nations follows the coast at Côte des Basques in Biarritz. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, who was unable to attend the event in person, recorded a message for the National Teams.

“Welcome everybody to the 2019 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship in Biarritz at Côte des Basques. I wish the very best to all the competitors and delegations that have come to celebrate the incredible evolution and explosion of longboard around the world.

“This year longboard will take part in the Pan American Games, with the highest ranking man and woman in this event earning a slot. Surfing is in its first Olympic cycle, and it looks very positive that a little over a year from now we will have an incredible celebration in Tokyo.

“I would like to thank the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for recommending surfing for inclusion on their program. We are honored and committed to making that an incredible celebration as well.

“Good luck to all. Enjoy your existing friendships and create new, long-lasting ones as well. Only a few will earn medals, but you all will have the honor of representing your nation in this competition.”

The host nation France participates in the Sands of the World Ceremony. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The host nation France participates in the Sands of the World Ceremony. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Mayor of Biarritz Michel Veunac said:

“I would like to welcome all competitors here in Biarritz for this international event. Côte des Basques is one of the important beaches in Europe because surfing was first practiced here in 1957.

“Surfing has been important to life in Biarritz, bringing a new youthful energy to the city.

“I would like to send a big thanks to the ISA for bringing this edition of the World Longboard Surfing Championship to Biarritz and I promise you a week of excellent waves.

“I enjoy watching longboard because of its wonderful movements on the waves. Good luck to all the competitors.”

President of the French Surfing Federation Jean-Luc Arassus said:

“This week of competition will allow us to show that surfing is a critical part of the social, economic and cultural legacy of the city, region, and country.

“The southwest of France is renowned for its surfing beaches and this competition will demonstrate the quality of organizing international events in the region.  The competition will also enable us to show our pride for beach culture and the values of friendship, tolerance and mutual respect.”

“So, to all you gathered here – I say good luck and best wishes for a great competition.  Enjoy yourselves and may the best surfer win!”

Capping off the festivities, the competitors were treated a local performance by the Choir of Oldarra, singing a song in the local Basque language and performing a local Basque ballet dance ‘Aurresku’.

Jean-Luc Arassus officially declared the event open, setting the stage for competition to commence.

As competition got underway in the afternoon, the world’s best women longboarders put their elite talent on display.

The host nation duo of Justine Dupont and Alice Lemoigne led the charge, with Dupont earning the highest total and Lemoigne the third highest of the day with 11.96 and 11.60, respectively.

France’s Alice Lemoigne gets five on the nose en route to winning her round 1 heat. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

France’s Alice Lemoigne gets five on the nose en route to winning her round 1 heat. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Australia’s Emily Lethbridge (11.66), USA’s Lindsay Steinriede (11.33), Brazil’s reigning Silver Medalist Chloe Calmon (10.40), Peru’s Maria Fernando Reyes (10.27) and Japan’s returning Copper Medalist Natsumi Taoka (10.26) were among the top performers, advancing through to Main Event Round 2.

The women who did not advanced in the tricky conditions on the first day of competition are not eliminated in the event, as they will get a second chance to advance in the elimination Repechage Rounds.

After a great showing from the women, the men will kick off day two of competition at Côte des Basques with Main Event Round 1.

The schedule for Monday’s competition is as follows:

  • 3pm – 8:20pm – 16 heats Men’s Main Event Round 1

Schedule is subject to changes.

Follow the action live on www.isasurf.org.

*Note that the ISA originally announced 104 athletes from 32 nations, but due to two competitors removing themselves from the competition, there is now 102 athletes from 31 nations.

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, 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, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.

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).

For more information, please visit www.isasurf.org

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