In the last decade, the sport of surfing went through substantial growth, as proven by many indicators: Amount of participants in every country, amount of countries where the sport is practiced, amount of people interested in the sport, amount of people attracted to surfing lifestyle and culture, type of waves and equipment they ride.
Latest movies are full of surfing actions, from the James Bond movie, to Blue Crush, from Sheryl Crow videos, to cartoons in TV.
At the June 1994 BGM in Rio de Janeiro, during the ISA World Titles, Fernando Aguerre attended as the President of the recently founded Pan American Surfing Association.
Up until that day, he had never been elected to any position in the ISA. During that meeting, he was nominated and elected as the ISA first ever Latin American Chairman in the long history of the ISA.
Only a year later, the ISA was recognized by the IOC as the International Federation for surfing and wave riding. The position of Chairman was replaced by the position of President of the ISA. He was re-elected to head the ISA as President in 1996 (Huntington Beach), 1998 (Lisbon), 2000 (Recife), and 2002 (Durban).
The recognition of the ISA by the IOC in 1995 opened a decade of great events for the ISA and the NGB’s. This was followed by recognition of many ISA NGB by their respective National Olympic Committees. In many cases this came along with NOC or Government funding.
Many NGB evolved from Associations to Federations, in the process becoming the true leading force behind the growth of surfing in their countries.
The ISA World Surfing Games were held in California in 1996, and for the first time ever were attended by IOC Officials, and opened with a message from the President of the United States of America. That same year, the ISA incorporated several clauses of the Olympic Charter into the ISA Constitution, opening the doors for participation in ISA events to any surfer in the world, without discrimination for financial considerations.
At the same time, the sport of surfing was included, for the first time in history, in multi sport events held under the Olympic Movement: The 2003 South Pacific Games (Fiji), the 2002 Bolivarian Games (Ecuador).
Last year, surfing finally made it to the other very relevant sport event in the World, the X Games, held in California, and seen by millions of people around the world.
The ISA efforts behind this tremendous work have been enormous, at both Executive Committee (EC) and National Governing Body (NGB) level. The above events are just some of the success stories that have resulted from years of hard work by all of the ISA leaders around the world.
As the ISA approaches the ISA Annual and Biennial Meetings to be held during the WSG in Ecuador, the ISA would like to take this opportunity to briefly report about the ISA’s achievements in the past two years and on its vision forward.
World Surfing Games 2004:
The ISA is very glad that the FES (Federacion Ecuatoriana de Surf) under the wise leadership of Manolo Lozano, is hosting the 2004 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG). The ISA believes these WSG will be spectacular, exotic and history making, in a warm weather, warm water location, with great hosts, as seen in their successful hosting of the Pan American Games in 2003.
ISA World Junior Surfing Championships:
During mid 2002, the ISA wisely decided to hold the Junior division of the WSG in its very own event, and to be held annually.
The plan was to provide with twice the amount of competitions and opportunities for the younger athletes as well as for a larger number of hosting nations to hold this unique event.
The inaugural Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships 2003 held in Durban, South Africa and organized by Surfing South Africa in August 2003 was a huge success, and one in which the ISA looks forward to supporting and organizing each year. 16 nations with over 170 team members were in attendance.
2004 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships (WJSC)
After securing support from the Tahitian Government as well as Quiksilver and other Sponsors, the FTS (Federation Tahitienne de Surf), secured the hosting rights for the 2004 WJSC.
In November 2003, the ISA President met in Papeete with Pascal Luciani, President of FTS, at the Tahitian Olympic Committee HQ. In attendance were several print and TV media and the Tourism Minister of Tahiti.
The event will be held during the first part of December of 2004, in a North Swell facing surf break in the island of Tahiti. Accommodations will be provided in a very nice hotel nearby.
The ISA wishes the very best to the FTS and will continue to work with them to insure the success of the event.
World Bodyboard Games:
The ISA is very interested in finding hosts for running the Inaugural World Bodyboard Games. The ISA believes that Bodyboarders deserve an event of their own, including waves that lend themselves better for bodyboarding.
As soon as a host is secured, the ISA plans to increase the amount of surfing athletes in the WSG teams. Some ideas are inclusion of more longboarders, even female longboarders. This will only be decided once the WBBG organizer is found.
ISA World Kneeboard Championships:
To be held in July of 2004 in Tahiti, the ISA World Kneeboard Championship are the response to Kneeboarders worldwide desire to have their very own and specialized event. This event should provide for a great place to highlight the unique characteristics of Kneeboarding, with Kneeboarding judges and officials. Best of luck to all participants.
The recent success of the WSG games and WJSC in Durban has shown that the strength and camaraderie of all competing member nations is continuing to grow. These recent events have been the showcase of the quality of event management and officiating needed and have set a precedent for all future ISA events.
As agreed at the Durban AGM in 2002, the ISA focused some resources in supporting the education of NGB’s on matters of Judging, Coaching and Technical Direction.
The ISA donated 50 percent of the costs of funding Seminars at the last Pan American Surfing Games, 2003. The Seminars included a Judging, Coaching, Surf school and Technical Direction seminars. These courses were a huge success and the participants were very pleased with them. These courses will allow NGB’s to continue to advance in their development programs, professionalism and in gaining recognition from national sport authorities.
Based on the success of this program, the ISA be will be funding and running a Judging Seminar in the days just before the WSG 2004.
The ISA hopes to continue these seminars at each ISA major event, since this is a great way to give value back to the attending NGB’s as well as creating a uniform technical preparation around the world.
This EC is assisting in the development and endorsement of an International Accredited Judging System, developed by Surfing Australia. Surfing Australia has appointed a representative to run the ISA Judging Seminar before the WSG 2004.
The ISA also revised the regulations for the selection of judges and team requirements at major ISA events in order to increase the level of judging, professionalism and expertise to the event. The ISA has created a Selection Panel to be in charge of selecting the best judges for events, based on judge applications submitted to the ISA Headquarters. Because the WSG now has a larger percentage of bodyboarders, the ISA will also select a Bodyboard Head Judge and ensure that the rest of the panel has sufficient number of judges with prominent bodyboard judging experience.
Since the AGM 2002, this EC has been working with several potential NGB’s in their ISA application process, thus increasing the number of ISA members. There will be new NGB’s as well as regional surfing organizations, included on the
BGM 2004 Agenda for ratification of membership.
The EC has included (as prescribed in the ISA Constitution) a presentation by a USA based organization, Surfing America in the Agenda of the Biennial General Meeting to be held during the WSG in March. This organization has petitioned the ISA for recognition as ISA NGB for the USA. A vote for recognition of Surfing America will only happen after a motion in this direction is moved by a voting NGB, and is seconded by another NGB. If no NGB moves for a vote, no vote on this matter shall be held. The USSF has been advised of the process, and has been given copy of the presentation in advance, to prepare a proper response.
The EC has been assisting several other organizations in finalizing their application package to become recognized ISA members. Due to the ISA’s acceptance of the 2002 motion to substantially facilitate the admission of smaller, developing NGB’s, the ISA has been able to establish communication with many new nations who plan to apply for ISA membership in the near future. The ISA is working with these nations, offering advice and encouragement for the further development of their NGB.
On the Olympic Front:
ISA Vice President Maile H. Aguerre continues to act as the ISA’s liaison with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the General Association of International Recognized Sports Federations (GAIFS), the International World Games Association (IWGA), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and other regional and multi-sport event organizations. She attended several meetings in 2003 and has developed stronger relationships with key Olympic leaders, including the IOC President and the PASO President (Pan American Sport Organization). She just attended the IOC’s Conference on Women and Sports, held in Morocco from March 7 – 9, 2004.
This EC is intensively lobbying for inclusion of surfing in the Olympic Games and several other Multi-Sport/Regional Games by submitting applications, reports and attending annual meetings.
The IOC sent out a new questionnaire to all the Sports Federations for re-evaluation. This is good news for the ISA because the ISA “family” has grown in strength and size since its original application. The IOC will re-evaluate the whole Summer Olympic Programme after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Our medium term goal is to gain inclusion in the Pan American Games, the second largest multisport event in the Olympic World, to be held in Rio in 2007. The ISA is working with the Confederacao Brasilera de Surf on this matter.
In 2003, the ISA signed the agreement with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and accepted the IOC approved World Anti-Doping Code, which is in full force. The ISA will continue to promote the values of good sportsmanship, fair play, and anti-doping.
Since the ISA began anti-doping testing in 1996, there have not been any positive test results. All of the athletes tested at all the ISA Surfing Games have been drug-free, according to Olympic Code.
In 2003, the ISA had some great new events added on the Calendar in addition to the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. During 2003 the ISA sanctioned the inaugural ISA Masters World Surfing Titles in New Zealand, the Lion Red Trans-Tasman Surfing Challenge and the World Kneeboard Surfing Championships, which will take place in July 04. The ISA appointed a representative from Australia to attend and assist with the South Pacific Games 2003’s Surfing event in Fiji.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, the ISA is proactively working towards securing hosts for future events such as the WSG 2006, 2008, WJSC 2005, 2005.
The current President, and three of the four VP are going to stand for office in the next elections to be held in March, in Ecuador. During the EC meeting in January 2004, ISA VP Moncho Gil (Spain) decided not to run for re-election due to the workload of his job as President of the Spanish Surfing Federation, as well as other work related commitments. CV and Resumes were also received from several other candidates interested in being a part of the ISA Executive Committee. Results of the Elections will be included in the next ISA Monthly Press Release.
Finally, the ISA Executive Committee and staff would like to thank all its member nations, media and surfers around the world for their support and participation over the past year, with the prospect of a prosperous continued relationship in 2004.