Team Spirit on Full Display at Opening Ceremony of 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games

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Tokyo 2020 leaders show support for Surfing

World’s best National Surfing Teams kick off competition at 7:30am local time September 16 live on

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To view schedule and heat draws for September 16, click here.

The 2018 Urban Research ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) was officially inaugurated by ISA President Fernando Aguerre today in a display of team spirit and camaraderie in Tahara, Japan.

Thousands of locals took to the streets to cheer on the 42 nations represented by the 197 surfers participating in the event.


Kanoa Igarashi waves his flag with pride in his first ISA event competing for Japan. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Notably, The Chief Operating Officer of Tokyo 2020 Yukihiko Nunomura and the Sports Director of Tokyo 2020 Koji Murohushi were in attendance to show support for Surfing ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre addressed the visiting delegations:

“In a world of conflict and difficulties, it is great to see so many nations and surfers come together and to celebrate peacefully the power of Surfing to make a better world.

“The 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games are particularly special because we are in an Olympic cycle. For more than 20 years we paddled to catch that elusive wave and we finally did it, including Surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Games. Also, this edition is historic due to that fact that men and women slots are equal, showing our commitment to gender equality in Surfing.

“Some of you will go home with a medal around your neck, but most of you will not. However, everyone has this amazing opportunity to represent their country and make friendships that can last a lifetime.

“I wish you all the best of luck in the week’s competition and I hope that some of you become the first Olympic surfers in two years’ time.”


42 nations united in peace through Surfing. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The Parade of Nations kicked off the festivities, as each National Team marched through the streets of Tahara waving their flags and ringing out national chants.

The parade arrived at the Opening Ceremony stage, where the athletes were greeted by delegates of the ISA, Prefecture of Aichi, City of Tahara, the Title Sponsor Urban Research, the Nippon Surf Association, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Following the Parade of Nations, the ISA celebrated its signature Sands of the World Ceremony in which two members from each team took to the stage and poured sand from their local beach into a glass container while waving their national flag, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through Surfing.

The international delegations were treated to a traditional Samurai performance to give them a taste of the local culture and tradition of Tahara.


Barbados’ Chelsea Tuach embraces the support of the Tahara locals that came out to enjoy the parade. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Competition will get underway with the Open Men and Open Women divisions running on the dual podium format.

The schedule for competition on September 16 is as follows:

Podium A

  • 7:30am – 4:50pm: 28 heats Men Main Event Round 1

Podium B

  • 8am – 4pm: 24 heats Women Main Event Round 1

The schedule for the remainder event will be as follows*:

  • September 16-22** – Competition at Long Beach, Tahara
  • 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 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).