The International Surfing Association (ISA) has been proud to receive reports from around the world of the positive impacts that its Solidarity Fund has had on communities that it aimed to support.
With the support of the ISA Solidarity Fund, positive stories have emerged from challenging situations across four continents, such as food supplied to families who had lost their income during the pandemic, private tutoring and classes for students who had been unable to attend classes due to school closures, and support for programs that help marginalized children gain access to surfing and education.
See the details of each project below.
In October of last year, the ISA announced that 11 National Federations had been selected to distribute USD $35,000 in financial support to fund projects within communities that had been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Federations selected were Afghanistan, Angola, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Venezuela.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“Receiving these encouraging stories of how our solidarity program has been having real impact across the globe is a source of pride and emotion for us.
“These surfing communities, no matter the size, are the backbone of our sport and they embody our mission to make the world a better place through surfing. In these challenging times, when we saw the financial effects of the global health crisis, we felt it was our duty to do what we could to help our ISA family.
“The pandemic may have kept us all apart physically, but it has highlighted our global, human connection through the common love of the ocean. There have been so many inspiring, selfless stories of people looking out for each other. We are happy to continue to play a positive role in those efforts.”
In Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Surfing Federation distributed essential items to families in coastal communities. 80 supply packages were delivered to families in the provinces of Puntarenas, Limón, and Guanacaste, impacting a total of roughly 450 people. Pictured, Greivin Suárez Ortega receives his supplies in Puntarenas.
In Ecuador, the Ecuadorean Surfing Federation distributed 125 packages of supplies and food, each weighing 52 kilograms, to families in the heavily Covid-19 impacted areas of Mompiche, Engabao, Salinas, Playas, Canoa, Manta, Santa Elena, and Montañita. Pictured, surfers from Manta receive their supplies.
In El Salvador, the El Salvadorean Surfing Federation provided scholarships to 21 athletes training for their national surfing teams. Each athlete was awarded USD $42/month for four months. In addition to the pandemic, El Salvador also experienced a strong storm that caused great damage in the coastal communities. These scholarships were able to help these surfers support their families and continue to pursue surfing on their country’s national team.
Bryan Perez (pictured), a Lima 2019 Pan Am Medalist, was among the recipients of the scholarship created from the solidarity fund.
In the wake of the pandemic in March 2020, all schools were closed in Senegal. Unfortunately, many students were unable to continue their education when an online alternative was not offered. As a result, the Senegalese Surfing Federation used the solidarity funds to arrange for private tutoring and “catch-up” classes for students that had fallen behind while schools were closed. Thus far, 24 students have received a combined 1,500 hours of private lessons.
Pictured, Senegalese students attend classes to get caught up on missed material.
With the support of Surfing South Africa, solidarity funds were distributed to a great range of causes around the country that included supporting marginalized coastal communities, mentoring, educating, and feeding young surfers, and promoting youth uplift programs to keep kids off the streets.
Pictured, members of Local Surf Lounge Academy of Muizenberg give their thanks for funding their mission of coaching, mentoring and caring for surfing youth.
In Venezuela, the Venezuelan Surfing Federation distributed food, supplies, and medicine to surfers and families in need. In addition, the federation donated ocean rescue gear to lifeguards, set up plastic recycling drop-offs, and supported the ‘Donate a Board’ campaign to introduce young girls and boys to surfing. Thus far, they have been able to reach 600 people who were in need.
Pictured, a family receives supplies in the coastal community of La Guaira.
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).