California: The International Surfing Association (ISA) has submitted its ‘declaration of intent’ to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the rapidly growing sport of Para-Surfing to be included on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Sports Programme.
Earlier this year, the IPC officially recognised the ISA as the International Paralympic Federation of Para Surfing. Following the International Olympic Committee’s historic decision to include Surfing on the Sports Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the ISA has reaffirmed its commitment to having Para Surfing in the Paralympic Games.
Under the leadership of the ISA, Para Surfing has grown in both popularity and participation worldwide. The Federation has hosted the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship for the past two years (2015, 2016), with each being bigger and better than the last. The 2015 edition welcomed 69 competitors from 18 nations, while 2016 saw 77 athletes from 22 countries take part. The 2017 edition, which will take place in La Jolla, California between 29th November and 3rd December, is expected to break participation records once more, with over 100 athletes from 25 countries and in a push to promote gender equality in the sport will include separate women’s divisions for the first time ever.
The ISA has driven the worldwide growth of Para Surfing forward by encouraging Member Nations to adopt the sport. Building on the momentum created by the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships, the ISA has encouraged National Federations in France, Australia, Chile, Brazil, USA, Hawaii, and South Africa to all hold their own National Championships.
On top of this, the ISA have also led the way in the technical management of Para Surfing, having developed an Adaptive Surfing Classification System, Para Surfing Rulebook and an ISA Adaptive Surfing Advisory Board.
The IPC Governing Board will identify which International Federations fulfill the application requirements and are considered eligible for Phase Two of the application process in February 2018. The IPC will then decide which sports meet the technical requirements for the Games in September 2018, before making a final decision on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Sports Programme in January 2019.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said: “This is another historic moment for the ISA. We are committed to the development of Para Surfing and to see it included on the Sports Programme at Paris 2024 would be an incredible success.
The growth of the sport in the last few years has been inspiring to see, and we are stoked to see where we can take it in the future. Adaptive Surfing is a vibrant sport infused with youthful energy and high-performance qualities that we think would add great value to the Paralympic Games.
The ISA is committed to inclusion, at any level, and that is why Para Surfing is so important to us. Everyone deserves the chance to Surf, and I am excited to continue this process with the IPC. We welcome the guidance, expertise, and support of the IPC to help create the better opportunities and wider accessibility for adaptive surfers to practice and grow the sport.”