Para Surfing Head of Classification, Dr. Maureen Johnson

A Welcome Letter from the Head of International Classification for Para Surfing:

Welcome to ISA Para Surfing Classification,

Thank you for trusting us to provide you with an excellent classification process at ISA Para Surfing events.

At ISA Para Surfing, it is our goal to provide you with the most accurate and evidence-based classification process possible. Each classifier is an expert in their field of occupational therapy or physical therapy, they have received and passed an international certification program for Para Surfing classification, and they are surfers themselves.

We believe each surfer is a unique individual with distinct abilities. Our team of classifiers will assess you and classify you into your best surf class to ensure we have the most optimal leveled playing field for all competitors.

I personally want you to have the best experience possible and I look forward to watching you compete at such an elite level.


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Dr. Mo Johnson, PhD, MS, OT/L, BCPR, C/NDT, IC

ISA Para Surfing Head of Classification


Dr. Maureen E. Johnson, PhD, MS, OT/L, BCPR, C/NDT

Head of International Classification for Para Surfing

Dr. Mo is an occupational therapist with Board-Certification in Physical Rehabilitation and an Assistant Professor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Diego, California. Dr. Mo earned her PhD in Education and post professional Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. In addition, Dr Mo is Certified in advanced Neuro-Developmental Treatment. Dr. Mo began has worked in a variety of settings to include Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, California; Scripps Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation in San Diego, California; Peace Corps, Paraguay in South America, and Tijuana, Mexico. She has 30 years of clinical experience working with people with neurological involvement such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and strokes with the focus of helping these individuals return to their daily occupations and lifestyles. Years of experience has taught Dr. Mo that the most important thing in life is that people are living their lives to the fullest.

While attending surf competitions for her daughters, Dr. Mo encountered and met several adaptive surfers and learned the true meaning of passion as she observed these athletes competing at such high skill levels despite their physical obstacles. Dr. Mo began volunteering to assist the athletes navigate the beach and ocean terrains. As the number of athletes increased, she started bringing her occupational therapy graduate and doctorate students to help volunteer as well.

At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, Dr. Mo teaches Anatomy Applied to Occupations, Patient/Client Care Management, and Assistive Technology. In the Assistive Technology course, Dr. Mo aligned the student community volunteer hours and course assistive technology project with adaptive surfing. From their volunteer experiences, the occupational therapy students have been inspired to create designs with 3D Printing for surfing technology, adapt surfboards, adapt wetsuits, adapt beach towels, adapt beach clothing, and one student is responsible for designing Access Trax which are portable mats to go over sand. All these versions of assistive technology were inspired by the adaptive surfers to help promote the independence of the athletes.

With her love for surfing and shared passion for advancing the sport of para surfing, she joined the Stoke for Life Foundation as Director of Classification for the US Open Adaptive Surfing Championship (ASC) and was instrumental in leading the structure for the surf classes at the US Open ASC. Dr. Mo used the success of this structure in collaboration with the ISA and the Adaptive Surfing Classification Review Committee to form the Para Surfing Sport Classes that are now in use.

Dr. Mo enjoys spending time with her husband and three children in, on, or under the ocean surfing, sailing and SCUBA diving. Surfing is a strong part of her family’s lifestyle. Many of her family’s best moments and connections are in the water together.

As ISA Para Surfing Head of Classification, Dr. Mo is honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve the international competitive para surfing community. For the past three years, she has gained experience and researched knowledge on Paralympic Classification for the development and progression of para surfing within the Paralympic movement. Dr. Mo believes each surfer is a unique individual with distinct abilities. Dr. Mo’s primary purpose is to ensure each surfer is classified professionally and accurately so surf contests have fair and equitable competition. She is currently conducting four separate research studies to investigate the efficacy of the Para Surfing Sport Classes.