Opening Ceremony Celebrates the Power of Para Surfing in La Jolla

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

World-class competition underway at the 2020 AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship

Team Brazil starts strong, looks to reclaim Gold 

The Opening Ceremony officially inaugurated the 2020 AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship on Wednesday in La Jolla, California, USA.

22 nations take to the stage to celebrate the opening of the competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

22 nations take to the stage to celebrate the opening of the competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

A record-breaking 131 athletes from 22 nations participated in the Parade of Nations and iconic Sands of the World at La Jolla Shores beach, displaying the joy and healing power of Para Surfing for athletes with physical challenges. 

Representatives from each nation took to the stage for the Sands of the World Ceremony, pouring sand from their nations into a container to symbolize the peaceful gathering of nations through Para Surfing.

Dignitaries present included ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo, Founder and President of AmpSurf Dana Cummings, and Director of Park and Recreation of the City of San Diego Andy Field.

Team South Africa participates in the Sands of the World Ceremony, making their presence known with a boisterous team cheer. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

Team South Africa participates in the Sands of the World Ceremony, making their presence known with a boisterous team cheer. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

A message from ISA President Fernando Aguerre

ISA President Fernando Aguerre could not attend in person as he heals from a broken leg, but he sent an audio message to address the international delegations in attendance. 

“This is a very special edition of the event as we welcome AmpSurf as the Title Partner for the first time,” said Aguerre. “Not too long ago para surfers had no platform to compete for national and world titles. Now that has completely changed. 

“We are happy to be the leading organization that has given the initial key to this movement.

“Over the past few years we have been in touch with the International Paralympic Committee in order to create the possibility for Para Surfing to be a discipline in the Games of the future. We are absolutely committed to its inclusion. 

“I hope that you all have an incredible week of friendship and competition. I encourage you all to continue being ambassadors of Para Surfing, sharing the hope and excitement with others.”

Parks and Recreation Director Andy Field presented ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo with a proclamation to recognize the significance of the AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship taking place in the City of San Diego.

World’s best para surfers hit the water

The opening rounds of competition kicked off the race for Gold Medals in the afternoon with 9 heats of men and women standing and kneeling divisions taking to the water.

Team Brazil, the 2016 and 2017 World Champions, put on a strong showing in their attempt to reclaim the Gold Medal.

Roberto Pino asserts himself as an early Gold Medal favorite with the highest wave scores and heat total of the opening day of competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Roberto Pino asserts himself as an early Gold Medal favorite with the highest wave scores and heat total of the opening day of competition. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Three Brazilian athletes earned the highest totals of the day, with impressive surfing from the past ISA Gold Medalist Alcino ‘Pirata’ Neto (13.83 points), Malu Mendes (10.5 points), and Roberto Pino (16.83 points).

Pino was the standout performer of the day, earning the only two waves in the excellent range with single wave scores of 8 and 8.83.

Canada’s Victoria Feige, a defending ISA Gold Medalist, surfed well for her nation, earning the second-highest women’s heat total with 9.10 points.

Mexico’s Barbara Garcia made her debut appearance in the event, beaming with excitement as she exited the water having represented her country for the first time on an international stage.

“I am so surprised about all the talented surfers that are competing in this event,” said Garcia. “I am very proud to represent Mexico for the first time.

“I was a surfer prior to my accident and now that I am an amputee, I haven’t let it stop me. Surfing has allowed me to heal my mind, my soul, and my body.

“Being around surfers like myself from all around the word is so valuable to learn from other amputees about which boards to ride.”

Barbara Garcia full of pride as she represents her country of Mexico. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

Barbara Garcia full of pride as she represents her country of Mexico. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

The AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship uses a round robin format, where each surfer competes twice before the top surfers move onto the single elimination rounds.

Schedule:

Thursday March 12 – Sunday March 15

  • Competition 7:30am-4:30pm at La Jolla Shores 

Sunday March 15

  • Closing Ceremony following the close of competition at La Jolla Shores

The 2020 AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship can be viewed live on www.isasurf.org March 11-15.

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).
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