For the first time in the history of the Pan American Games, Surfing and StandUp Paddle (SUP) athletes participated in the inauguration of the event at the festive Opening Ceremony on July 26 in Lima, Peru.
82 athletes representing 16 countries in the disciplines of shortboard, longboard, SUP Racing and SUP Surfing historically marched in the Opening Ceremony parade among nearly 6,700 total athletes from 41 countries.
An estimated 50,000 spectators were in attendance at the ‘Estadio Nacional del Perú’, including the President of Peru Martín Vizcarra, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, Panam Sports President, Neven Ilic and the President of the Lima 2019 Organizing Committee, Carlos Neuhaus (a former President of the Peruvian Surfing Federation and an active surfer himself).
The celebration, which featured various traditional displays of Peruvian culture, dedicated a portion to Surfing, highlighting both the current and historic role that the sport has played in Peruvian culture for thousands of years.
Barbados’ shortboard surfer Chelsea Tuach was granted the honor of bearing her nation’s flag during the ceremony’s parade, a position that only one athlete from each nation holds.
As the second largest Olympic Movement multisport event after the Olympic Games, the inclusion of Surfing and SUP in the Pan American Games is a milestone achievement for the sports and representative of their growing popularity and youth appeal around the globe, and more specifically on the American continent.
The inclusion of SUP solidifies its status as one of the top up-and-coming surfing disciplines that the ISA has been lobbying to include on the Olympic Sports Program. In 2015 SUP Racing was proposed for inclusion in Tokyo 2020 by the ISA, however, only shortboarding was accepted. SUP’s Pan Am inclusion (approved in 2015), which was achieved by the ISA, will serve as a springboard to build on the sport’s global momentum and achieve inclusion in more events within the Olympic Movement.
The surfing discipline competitions will take place from July 29 to August 4 at the world-renowned point break of Punta Rocas, south of Lima’s city center in Punta Negra.
The shortboard competition carries particular importance, as it will award two qualification slots for Surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020 – a slot for the highest eligible surfer of each gender.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“It was quite an emotional moment to watch the best shortboarders, longboarders, SUP racers and SUP surfers parading among the best athletes of the continent at the Opening Ceremony.
“For these athletes, walking into the stadium behind their national flags is a dream come true, so it is special to share this historic moment with them, especially after working so hard to make surfing a Pan American Sport.
“As the first time that surfing disciplines have featured on the Sports Programme, I am thrilled to showcase the value, youthful qualities, entertainment and connection to nature, that these sports will bring to such a high-profile, Olympic Movement event.
“With two athletes guaranteed to emerge from this event as Olympians at Tokyo 2020, this will be a can’t-miss competition full of drama and excitement.”
The competition will commence with the men’s and women’s shortboard and longboard disciplines on July 29th at Punta Rocas featuring the top talent of the continent.
To view the daily schedule, click here.
The Lima 2019 Pan American Games will run from July 26 – August 11.
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).