ISA unites global surfing community across all five continents to demonstrate the positive impacts of Surfing
International Surfing Association (ISA) Member Federations and surfers around the world have held celebrations to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). This unique milestone staged annually since 2015 on 6th April, highlights and promotes sport as a tool for social change, development and peace.
The ISA called on its members to participate in Peace and Sport’s #WhiteCard Campaign, an initiative promoting IDSDP that encourages athletes to post photos with white cards to symbolize peace and the power of Surfing and StandUp Paddle (SUP) to create a better world.
Surfers from all five continents took part in the celebration, sharing stories from countries including Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iran, Japan, Oman, Panama, Senegal, and Spain about the constructive roles that Surfing and SUP are playing in their particular communities.
In Colombia, the surfers of the Pacific coast village of Nuquí joined the #WhiteCard Campaign to display how Surfing has been providing an outlet for the youth of the local community to learn about the importance of taking care of their ocean and local environment.
In China, the Pangu Palm surf club displayed white cards to represent the positive impacts that Surfing and SUP have created in the Hainan province. Over the last decade, Surfing has rapidly spread and become socially accepted, supported by the government and National Olympic Committee, and it has opened doors for gender equality as the sport is practiced among both men and women. The island recently hosted the 2018 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship and ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, featuring the historic first participation of Chinese athletes in both events.
Tokyo 2020 Sports Manager Kimifumi Imoto joined the campaign to represent how Surfing’s inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has had resounding effects in Japan. Since inclusion on the Games’ Sports Programme, the sport has spread to a new generation of youth who now can pursue the dream of becoming part of the first wave of Olympic surfers.
The ISA, in addition to observing IDSDP, also supports the development of surfers throughout the year with its ISA Scholarship Program. The initiative sees child surfers from across the globe awarded financial aid for both educational and surfing purposes, and is given based on their need, dedication to Surfing, and academic excellence. The program has awarded USD $308,500 to more than 300 U-18 surfers since 2007.
Importantly, the Scholarship Program is aimed at helping under-resourced surfers achieve their dreams and reach the heights of the sport and, in 2018, seven Scholarship ambassadors represented their nations at the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championships, which were held in Huntington Beach, USA. Among them were Nicaraguan sisters, Candelaria and Valentina Resano, Colombia’s Marcelo Nakogui Barro, Peru’s Amaru Rodriguez, Samoa’s Pulieta Martin, Uruguay’s Nicole Leiva, and Venezuela’s Luna Marcano – all serving as clear examples of the ISA commitment to the development of Surfing across the globe.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“Surfing is not just a sport, but a tool that transcends racial and cultural differences to help bring people together. From seeing the stoke of athletes of all colours, creeds and nationalities surfing in peace together at ISA events to witnessing surfers from nations at war united by the ocean, I can personally attest to Surfing’s unique power to unite and heal.
“International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is the perfect platform to highlight Surfing’s power to create positive social change. With Surfing now an Olympic sport, we look forward to continuing to reach non-traditional surfing regions of the world and establishing programmes – just like our excellent Scholarship Program – so that the young surfers of the world can experience the same happiness and joy that we have all experienced from this beautiful sport.”
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).