The International Surfing Association (ISA) today has welcomed Surf Association of Myanmar (SAM) and American Samoa Surfing Association (ASSA) as new Member Nations.
The two new National Federations bring the ISA’s member total to 108, underlining the ISA’s efforts to grow the sport of Surfing in all its disciplines across all continents of the globe, particularly in non-traditional surfing nations.
The ASSA will make history and field the first American Samoan athlete to compete in an ISA event at the upcoming 2019 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) presented by Vans September 7-15 in Miyazaki, Japan. 16-year-old Liam Wilson will represent his nation with a chance to earn qualification for Surfing’s debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In addition to competing in the WSG, ASSA is organizing a national competition schedule to promote and grow the sport in the country.
In Myanmar, SAM will send athletes to compete at the Philippines 2019 South East Asian Games later this year, the first surfers from the country to participate in an Olympic Movement multisport event.
SAM held the inaugural Myanmar Surfing and StandUp Paddle (SUP) National Championships May 25-26 in Ngwe Saung with the participation of 32 competitors, also underlining the role of SUP in the ISA community.
With the mission to foster a positive community to promote surfing and related water sports, SAM aims to establish a strong foundation for surfing in Myanmar with a focus in developing the youth of the country. SAM has been training 30 children between 8 and 17 years of age to surf in the Ngwe Saung area since 2018.
As a long term goal, SAM intends to create a national team to participate in international competitions.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“Our ultimate vision is to see the joy of Surfing reach all corners of the globe. We want people to be able to feel the happiness that comes from connecting with the ocean and riding a wave.
“We are proud to welcome Myanmar and American Samoa with open arms to the ISA family – an international community of surfers that stretches across all continents of the globe.
“We look forward to working hand in hand with the leaders and surfers in these National Federations, their National Olympic Committees, and the public and private sectors in those countries to further grow and develop the sport so eventually they could field full national teams and potentially contend for inclusion in future Olympic Games.”
President of Surf Association of Myanmar, Phone Kyaw Moe Myint, said:
“It is with great pride and pleasure to be part of the ISA family and to begin our journey in the surfing world. It has only been three years since surfing was introduced in Myanmar and many of the local communities, primarily kids, have really embraced the sport. In the past, parents of local beach communities have always feared the ocean as it has claimed many lives, however, when surfing was introduced, this all changed and people began to realize the joy the ocean can bring.
“With the backing of the ISA and our national government, surfing has now become more than a hobby but potentially an outlet for young kids to have a bright future in sports. We look very much forward to working closely with the ISA in the future and to help grow this sport in our country, which has nearly 1700 miles of beach coastline that is yet to be explored for great waves. We look forward to catching awesome waves to come both on and off the water.”
President of American Samoa Surfing Association, Ben Goodwin, said:
“Becoming a member of the ISA is a door open to the world that we exist and have a beautiful island to enjoy the sport of Surfing. Our people now realize that they will be recognized and known by the world that they love the water and utilize surfing to help them to stay focused and fit.
“Our young surfer Liam Wilson is so excited to finally represent us and hopes to show the world that he has been waiting for this moment to join other young surfing athletes.
“We look forward to get to know other member nations and hope that one day we will host an international event that everyone will enjoy.”
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).