Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi, Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons Headline Top Talent to Compete in 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games

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World’s best National Surfing Teams head to Japan in preview of Olympic Surfing at Tokyo 2020

Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi and Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons are headlining the top talent that has committed to represent their nations at the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) in Tahara, Japan September 15-22.


Kanoa Igarashi will make his debut representing the nation of Japan at the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games. Photo: Kenyu

Igarashi, fresh off a second consecutive win at the Vans US Open of Surfing, will make his debut representing Japan in an ISA Global Event after the ISA accepted his change of nation request earlier this year. Igarashi, who previously surfed for USA, will lead a motivated home team of Japan, eager to build upon their strong fifth place finish at the 2017 edition of the WSG in Biarritz, France.

Fitzgibbons, currently the 8th ranked women on the World Surf League Championship Tour, will return to represent team Australia in the WSG after earning the Women’s Gold Medal in the 2008 edition in Portugal.

Sally Fitzgibbon (second from left) takes the Gold Medal for Team Australia at the 2008 ISA World Surfing Games in Portugal. Photo: ISA

Sally Fitzgibbon (second from left) takes the Gold Medal for Team Australia at the 2008 ISA World Surfing Games in Portugal. Photo: ISA

Other top athletes that will compete in Tahara include Brazil’s Ian Gouveia and New Zealand’s Paige Hareb. Full team rosters will be announced on September 5th.

An impressive number of athletes and nations are set to compete in Tahara – eager to provide a preview of the elite talent of Surfing that will compete in less than two years’ time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The 2018 edition will rival the record-setting participation marks that were set in Biarritz in 2017 when 245 athletes from 47 nations vied for the Gold Medals.

The 2018 WSG will also make history as the first edition to feature gender equality, offering equal competition slots for men and women. The 2018 VISSLA ISA World Juniors will follow suit in promoting gender equality, joining the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship as gender equal events and continuing the ISA’s longstanding commitment to gender equality.

The WSG was held in Japan in 1990, making a return to the country in 2018 after 28 years. Over the years, the WSG has been held in a diverse range of countries on all five continents, exemplifying the ISA’s strategy of global growth and development.

The popular surf destination of Long Beach in Tahara, Japan will be the site of the 2018 UR ISA WSG. Photo: Tahara LOC

The popular surf destination of Long Beach in Tahara, Japan will be the site of the 2018 UR ISA WSG. Photo: Tahara LOC

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:

“I am looking forward to previewing the top talent in Tahara – talent that we could very well see surfing for their countries in less than two years at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We are excited to partner with the local organizers in Tahara to promote Surfing in Japan, Asia, and all around the globe through the visiting delegations.

“Surfing culture is imbued in the spirit of the people of Tahara, which will make for an exciting, vibrant atmosphere when more than 40 countries from all continents of the globe unite at the ISA World Surfing Games.”

The schedule for the event will be as follows*:

  • September 14 – Press Conference, time and location TBA
  • September 15 – Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony, 10am at Tahara City Hall
  • September 16-22** – Competition at Long Beach, Tahara, 8am – 4pm
  • September 22 – Closing Ceremony at Long Beach following the close of competition

*Schedule subject to change due to conditions

** The Open Men’s Division will end no later than Friday, September 21 to accommodate athletes travelling to the WSL QS event in Portugal.

The 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games will be broadcast live on www.isasurf.org September 15-22.

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).