Top athletes and dignitaries promote event launch
Opening Ceremony inaugurates competition Sunday at 10am
A record-breaking 103 surfers from 32 countries have gathered in Biarritz, France to represent their nations and compete for Gold at the 2019 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship.
The festive Opening Ceremony will inaugurate the event on Sunday at 10am. The athletes will march in the Parade of Nations from Place St Eugenie in the centre of Biarritz to the event site at Côte de Basques to participate in the ISA’s one-of-a-kind Sands of the World Ceremony.
The event’s official press conference took place on Saturday morning, gathering top athletes and dignitaries ahead of the competition.
The conference’s panel included Mayor of Biarritz Michel Veunac, Vice President of the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region Sandrine Derville, Departmental Counselor of the Pyrenees Atlantiques Department Maider Arosteguy, ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo, President of the French Surfing Federation and ISA Executive Committee Member Jean-Luc Arassus, Members of Team France Justine Dupont and Antoine Delpero, and Member of Team Brazil Chloe Calmon.
“It’s an honor to welcome this World Championship to Biarritz,” said Mayor of Biarritz Michel Veunac. “Biarritz is one of the European capitals of Surfing, the place where surfing was first introduced to the continent in 1957.
“We are working with the perspective that if Surfing is included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, that Biarritz could be a potential host location for the competition.”
Vice President of the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region Sandrine Derville followed, “I would like to thank all the competitors for coming to our region, but particularly the French Team, who are mostly from this region. They display the talent of our region all around the world with their participation in global competitions.
“Surfing is an important economic element of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The sport brings international tourism and employs 3,500 people in the region.
“I would like to thank the French Federation and ISA for making this event gender equal. This is important to us.”
Departmental Counselor of the Pyrenees Atlantiques Department Maider Arosteguy said, “Our main goal is to welcome and encourage the private sector to get behind sports and support them as we do in the public sector.
“I am especially happy to see the Delpero brothers and Justine Dupont representing our department. I’m wishing a great event to all.”
ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo said, “We are very happy to be back in Biarritz, which has an exceptional tradition for our sport.
“France has a growing role and importance in the Surfing world. We are fortunate to have such a professional, organized federation in France to support us with the organization of this event.
“The proposal by Paris 2024 to include Surfing in their sports program is an extremely important milestone for us. It gives us added momentum and excitement for the future. There is still some road to travel before we can say we are fully included, but needless to say this is a very important time for our sport as it continues to grow on a global scale.”
French Surfing Federation President Jean-Luc Arassus said, “Surfing is very important both economically and socially here in Nouvelle Aquitaine. Holding this ISA World Championship in France is important to support the sport and promote the city and region as a tourism destination.
“In one month the IOC Executive Board will vote on the proposal of Surfing in Paris 2024, so this is a particularly crucial time to promote surfing in general in France.
“I am really happy to be the captain of Team France, however, this is a team event. It’s important to support each other,” said Antoine Delpero.
“This is an amazing event because we have all the best longboarders in the world. I hope that the waves will be amazing.”
“The spirit of the longboard event is incredible,” added Delpero’s teammate Justine Dupont, who is also Chair of the ISA Athletes’ Commission and Member of the ISA Executive Committee. “In the water we are competitors, but outside we are all friends. We have a collective goal to promote and grow the sport of longboard as a whole.”
Team Brazil’s Chloe Calmon concluded, “Biarritz is a really special place for me. Nine years ago I left Brazil for the first time to come here to Côte de Basques. I was a little girl with a big dream to compete with the world’s best surfers. I am glad that I stuck with this dream so that I can represent my country once again.
“This event is important for all of us, especially for those from the Americas. Surfing will make its debut in the Lima Pan American Games, the second major sport event in the world.
“What I love about competing in the ISA is the friendship and union with all the countries. We are here to win medals, but mostly to share our experience and culture with everyone from all around the world.”