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Surfing symposium runs with ISA World Adaptive Champs

Alana Nichols, Dries Millard, Mike Coots, Ismael Araya, Alcino “Pirata” Neto and Bob Babbitt © ISA/Reynolds




ISA World Adaptive Surfing Champs
Presented by Challenged Athletes Foundation, Hurley, Stance & San Diego

International Surfing Association
La Jolla, California USA
24 - 27 September 2015

ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium lays foundation for growth | Español

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 September, 2015 - On Saturday, September 26th, the global Adaptive Surfing community gathered at the Deni + Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center in San Diego for the ISA Adaptive Surfing Symposium. The objective was to raise awareness, share best practices, and initiate a conversation about how Surfing can play an ongoing and vital role in enriching the lives of physically challenged athletes.

The Symposium goal is to build on the platform created by the inaugural ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship Presented by Challenged Athletes Foundation, Hurley, Stance and the City of San Diego.

The Symposium opened with words from ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

“We included the Adaptive Surfing Symposium as a part of this ISA World Championship to build upon this historic moment. In order to make progress in the discipline of Adaptive Surfing, we need to learn, share ideas and create a development pathway for the sport.”

Following Aguerre’s introduction, a panel of adaptive surfers featuring Alana Nichols (USA), Mike Coots (HAW), Dries Millard (RSA), Alcino “Pirata” Neto (BRA) and Ismael Araya (CRI), highlighted the diverse range of physical challenges and backgrounds of the competing athletes.

Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center in San Diego © ISA/Reynolds


Costa Rica’s Ismael Araya expressed, “When I return to Costa Rica, I want to bring hope back with me. There are no limits. I want to motivate adaptive surfers in Costa Rica and push them hard to make them believe that anything is possible.”

After the panel of athletes, Adaptive Surfing organizations took to the stage including Jesse Billauer from Life Rolls On Foundation, Cara Troy from AccesSurf, Betty Michalewicz-Kragh from the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and Luana Nobre from Brazil’s Adapt Surf. Michalewicz-Kragh explained how NMCSD has begun to prescribe Surfing lessons to patients to treat pain and mental illnesses. A medical case study was conducted which proved that less pain medication was needed for patients during periods where they consistently surfed.

The Symposium was rounded out by an introduction to the benefits of Adaptive Surfing, an equipment panel discussion about the advances in board shaping technology, a presentation on Paralympic classification, a talk by the French Adaptive Surfing Program and a Development Pathway Panel Discussion.

During the equipment panel discussion, Australia’s Mark “Mono” Stewart attested to the healing power of Surfing.

“I lost my leg in 1976 due to Osteosarcoma. I was told I had two years to live, but what kept me alive was surfing. This ISA World Championship has inspired me a ton to go back home and get things fired up in Australia.”



Sylvana Mestre, from the International Paralympic Committee and CEO of Play & Train, spoke about Adaptive Surfing and Paralympic classifications.

“An International Federation needs to do research, provide evidence, define technical requirements, create rules and enable equitable access to be considered for inclusion in the Paralympic Games. I believe in Surfing and I would love to see Surfing included in the Paralympic Games.”

Sunday will conclude the 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship with the Finals of competition.

The live webcast will start at 6:45am at La Jolla Shores, culminating with the event’s Medal and Closing Ceremony.

Sunday, 6:45am San Diego, USA
Sunday, 10:45am Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunday, 1:45pm Paris, France
Sunday, 11:45pm Sydney Australia

To see Friday’s full results visit this link 

ISA, International Surfing Association, ISA World Adaptive Champs, La Jolla, Adaptive, USA
Carlos Escaba

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