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ISA celebrates 50th Anniversary

ISA Opening Ceremony 2012 © SA/Rommel Gonzales



Industry Updates

ISA begins a new era & celebrates 50 years

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 December, 2013 -- The start of the New Year marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the International Surfing Association (ISA), which has been crowning Men’s and Women’s World Champions since 1964.

The first ISA World Champions were Midget Farrelly and Phyllis O’Donell at Manly Beach, Australia. Since then, a long list of living legends have followed from Felipe Pomar, Fred Hemmings, Joyce Hoffman and Nat Young to Tom Curren, Sunny Garcia, Taylor Knox, Carlos Burle, Lisa Andersen, Sofia Mulanovich, Layne Beachley and current sensations Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, Owen Wright, Jamie Mitchell, Alejo Muniz, Jeremy Flores, Cristobal de Col, Kalani David, Casper Steinfath, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Courtney Conlogue, and Jordan Mercer.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the ISA will award commemorative Gold Medals to all past ISA World Champions at a special gala event in 2014.

Additionally, the 50th Anniversary ISA World Surfing Games will commemorate the first ISA World Championship in 1964, and will take place November 1st to the 9th at Punta Rocas, Lima, Peru. There will also be several other events and presentations around the world during 2014 to celebrate this key milestone.

“Reaching fifty years of life and having crowned more than 240 World Champions thus far, is a giant achievement for the ISA and for the sport of surfing,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “What started in 1964 with a handful of countries has grown into a mature and globally supported organization with members in 78 countries across five continents."

"Since 1995, the ISA has been recognized by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), and we have built very strong relationships within the Olympic Movement, and we continue advocating to fulfill Duke Kahanamoku’s dream of surfing as an Olympic Sport”.

“More than anything, I am privileged to lead an organization filled with thousands of volunteers, that has not only achieved so much and given thousands of athletes the opportunity to compete on a world stage, but has also helped create inspirational global ambassadors through our scholarship program, many in places where competing in a sport like surfing would have been impossible without the ISA’s support.”

The ISA President continued, “Today, there are over 35 million surfers in more than 100 countries globally. The ISA has had an active role in the consolidation of surfing in North America and Europe, the surfing boom in Latin America over the last decade, and it is now playing the leading role in developing the sport throughout Africa and Asia."

"It’s a tremendous honor to be part of an organization that has helped spread joy to so many lives and will continue to do so. As we see more surfers in more countries, we’ve seen more people who appreciate taking care of their natural resources, who enjoy riding the wave of life, and want to help spread peace in each of their countries.”

The ISA began as an organization created to organize world surfing championships and to crown the world’s best surfers as World Champions.

With 78 National Federations as members (only one per country is recognized), the ISA has grown over the last 50 years to be recognized by the IOC as the “World’s Governing Authority” for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves and on flat water using wave riding equipment.

The ISA’s first President was Peruvian Eduardo Arena, who attended the inaugural World Surfing Championship in 1964 held at Manly Beach, Australia. The ISA founding meeting occurred during this event. The current ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, was first elected in 1994 and has been re-elected seven times since.

Under Aguerre’s tenure, the IOC recognized the ISA in 1995, and membership has grown from 28 to 78 National Federations, with the goal of reaching 100 by the end of 2014. Additionally, the ISA has been delivering global educational programs for surf instructors and judges, providing opportunities and tools for the development of surfing around the world.

Today, national governments and National Olympic Committees recognize ISA member federations. ISA members field official National Surfing Teams to ISA World Championships and regional events, like the Pan American Surf Association (PASA) and the European Surfing Federation (ESF) Championships in the Americas and Europe, respectively. Surfers and Standup Paddlers already represent their National Olympic Teams in Olympic Movement regional multisport Games around the world, such as the Asian Beach Games, the South American Games and South American Beach Games, and the Bolivarian Games and Bolivarian Beach Games.

Under Aguerre’s vision and leadership, in 2007, the ISA Scholarship Program was created. It has awarded $178,500 to 192 under-18 male and female surfers, many who would have otherwise not been able to complete school or compete in surfing without financial assistance. Some of these surfers have gone on to become National and World Champion athletes.

“It was an incredible amount of both fun and hard work to launch the ISA and crown World Champions back in 1964, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine where the sport and the organization would be 50 years later,” said Arena, the ISA’s founder. “Congratulations to my dear friend, Fernando. I am very proud of everything that has been accomplished.”

The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and 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) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and will crown its first World Skimboard Champions in 2014.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 78 countries in five continents. It’s headquartered in La Jolla, California and is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro and re-elected seven times since.

The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Alan Atkins (AUS), Karín Sierralta (PER), Debbie Beacham (USA) and Layne Beachley (AUS).

ISA Opening Ceremony last year © SA/Rommel Gonzales

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