Surfing To Be Included In The First Bali Asian Beach Games

Bali Asian Beach Games
Indonesian Surfing Federation
Bali, Indonesia
October 18-25, 2008

A major action sports festival, including many sports not on any ‘normal’ Olympic calendar and backed by the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) will fire up in Bali from October 18– 25 this year. The 1st Bali Asian Beach Games, after great efforts by the Indonesian Surfing Federation (ISF) members in Bali, President Bobby Radiasa, National Secretary Oom Arya, Pro Tour Manager Tipi Japric, will include surfing under the Olympic rings.

The Organizing Committee for the Bali Beach Games see surfing as a sport integral to the modern culture of Bali and indeed as a major tourism asset to all the island chain of Indonesia. There wasn’t a great deal of “selling” to be done on behalf of surfing to the decision makers about inclusion.

Indeed, Mr Wei Jizhong, Chairman of OCA Sport Committee, sees sports such as surfing as a major asset to the Olympic movement bringing youth high action sports participants and followers into reach.

Surfing takes its place alongside beach handball, pencak selat, beach soccer, beach volleyball, dragon boat racing, jetski sport, sailing, marathon swimming, windsurfing, triathlon plus a number of traditional Asian sports.

National teams are provided through their respective Olympic Committees, so our surfers have to develop these contacts. Currently we have only four ISA member national bodies (Japan, Indonesia, Maldives, Philippines) within the Asian Olympic Organization group of 45 countries.

Final entries will arrive in September but early indications are good to meet our goal of 12 countries and 96 competitors for surfing events. Meetings are on at the moment in Bali with visiting Olympic Committee delegates looking at logistics. Early indications in March of 6 countries and 28 surfer entries are very encouraging. Countries such as Iran, Thailand, Hong Kong, China have lodged entries. We are eager to hear from any surfer in the region interested in competing.

Divisions will be men’s shortboard, women’s shortboard, men’s longboard, men’s aerial, men’s team. Each country can provide 2 competitors in each individual event. A contest site will be constructed at “half-ways” and the contest has a window for most of the week, so we should get some good competitive conditions.

The ISA has been working with the ISF and the Organizing Committee in advance planning and will provide a Technical Director and Head Judge for the event. The judging panel will be ISA accredited judges from the Indonesian judging group, with the Contest Director and computer system provided by the ISF.

This opportunity is a big one for surfing which sees Asia as the last region to be organized in terms of national surfing associations recognized by their governments. We all know of the “surfing jewels” that exist throughout Asia for surf tourism, now the sport will see its first opportunity to set a solid Asian foundation.

For the ISA, increased member national bodies from Asia will complete its representation across the globe. More to come as we get closer to the event!