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

The International Surfing Association (ISA) today launched its first Athletes’ Commission in a move that ensures the interests and views of the global community of Surfers are properly represented within the International Federation and the wider sporting movement.

usa_tia_blanco_54Tia Blanco joins the ISA Athletes’ Commission fresh off her Gold Medal performance at the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games. Photo: ISA/Nelly

The new ISA Athletes’ Commission also illustrates the development of the world governing body for Surfing as an organisation that embraces best practice principles of governance in line with the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines on athlete welfare and the protection of their rights.

Two-time StandUp Paddle World Champion and surfer Casper Steinfath, 21, from Denmark, who is also a Vice-President of the ISA, was appointed Chairperson of the ISA Athletes’ Commission. The Commission is composed of a further six athlete members from four continents of the world who will represent the rights and views of the global athlete Surfing and SUP community, ensure their voices are heard within the ISA and can manage relations with the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

tech_race_men10_Tweddle copy (small)ISA Athletes’ Commission Vice-Presidente, Casper Steinfath (right), joins hands with fellow Commission member Jamie Mitchell (left) at the 2013 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: ISA/Michael Tweddle

The additional ISA Athletes’ Commission members are:

Ms. Nao Omura (Japan)

Mr. Nic Von Rupp (Portugal)

Ms. Tia Blanco (USA)

Mr. Jamie Mitchell (Australia)

Ms. Leilani McGonagle (Costa Rica)

Mr. Greg Long (USA)

jpn_nao_omura_nelly_2Nao Omura, who has years of ISA World Championship experience, will join the ISA Athletes’ Commission. Photo:ISA/Nelly

Further details on the nominated members can be found below.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“The establishment of an Athletes’ Commission is a significant milestone in the global development of the ISA and it demonstrates our commitment to offering competing surfers from around the world a vehicle to express their views and raise matters that are important to them.

“The welfare of surfers and standup paddlers is the ISA’s greatest priority. It is vitally important that, as our sport continues its global growth, our athletes have an independent means to communicate with the ISA leadership and ensure their voices are heard by the international sporting community.

“As Surfing’s campaign for Olympic inclusion continues, the creation a formal ISA Athletes’ Commission also reaffirms our dedication to the principles of Olympism and the Olympic Charter. We have worked hard for many years to build an International Federation that functions with the highest standards of integrity and governance and with a focus on providing a duty of care to the people who matter most in sport – the athletes.”

POR_Nicolau_Von_Rupp_Reed_468Nic Von Rupp, 2015 ISA World Surfing Games Silver Medalist. Photo: Ben Reed

Casper Steinfath, ISA Vice-President and Chairperson of the ISA Athletes’ Commission, added:

“It is an immense honour to be appointed Chairperson of the ISA Athletes’ Commission. Athletes are the lifeblood of the sport and they are the reason why so many fans from around the globe love to watch and participate in Surfing.

“I’m thrilled that surfers and standup paddlers everywhere have a platform via this Commission to share their thoughts and views in a meaningful way. This will enable the ISA to engage and communicate with athletes of the world and empower them to make positive recommendations that will help our sport grow and develop further.”

CRI_Leilani_McGonagle_ISA_Reed_478Leilani McGonagle, 2015 ISA World Surfing Games Silver Medalist. Photo: ISA/Ben Reed

GregLong_Madagascar-681_AlanvanGysenGreg Long, the 2012/2013 Big Wave World Tour Champion. Photo: Alan Van Gysen

ISA Athletes’ Commission:


1.      Casper Steinfath (Denmark)

  • Vice-President of the ISA
  • Achievements:
    • StandUp Paddle (SUP) Technical Race Gold Medalist – 2013 and 2014 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship
    • 2015 European Cup Champion
  • 2013 European Cup Champion


2.      Nao Omura (Japan)

  • Achievements:
    • Gold Medal – Nippon Surfing Association Grand Champion Games
    • 5th Place – 2013 ISA World Surfing Games
    • 5th Place – 2014 ISA World Surfing Games

3.      Nic Von Rupp (Portugal)

  • Achievements:
    • Silver Medal and Team Silver Medal – 2015 ISA World Surfing Games

4.      Tia Blanco (USA)

  • Achievements:
    • Gold Medal and Team Bronze Medal – 2015 ISA World Surfing Games

5.      Jamie Mitchell (Australia)

  • Achievements:
    • 10 time champion, Molokai 2 Oahu – one of the most prestigious SUP and Paddleboard races in the world, a grueling 32 mile crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu
    • 2 time SUP Distance Race Gold Medalist – 2012 and 2013 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship

6.      Leilani McGonagle (Costa Rica)

  • Achievements:
    • Silver Medal and Team Gold Medal – 2015 ISA World Surfing Games
    • Won two medals at the 2014 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

7.      Greg Long (USA)

  • Achievements:
    • 2014 Billabong XXL Ride of the Year
    • 2012/2013 Big Wave Tour World Champion
    • 2008 Winner of Mavericks Invitational

The ISA’s website/social media details:





Join the conversation about the ISA’s campaign for Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020 by using the #SurfsUp hashtag.

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).