Starting to get Olympic fever, but wish there was something for surfers? Well, surfers from around the world have their own version of Olympic competition. The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship begins tomorrow, July 14, with the Opening Ceremony, Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony in Rivas, and competition along Nicaragua’s pristine coastline at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana to commence the following day. Team USA will be defending its gold medal.
The International Surfing Association hosts contests through the year in various categories of surf – including juniors, SUP, and longboarding divisions. The ISA, established in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the world governing authority for surfing, but the sport has yet to make its breakthrough at the official Olympic Games.
During the first year of the event (2007), 66 athletes from 12 nations participated. When competition begins at the 2012 Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship on July 14th, there will be 150 surfers from 27 nations, both ISA Masters records. The caliber of athletes who are competing in Nicaragua include national champions and local legends to former professional surfers and Pipeline Masters.
This year, for the first time in the five-year history of the event, an Asian country will be participating, with Japan sending a team to compete.
Last year, the USA sent a team to compete in the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship for the first time and came home with five individual medals and the Team Gold Medal. Team USA is set to prove that last year’s dominance was no fluke. The athletes will be competing for individual medals, team medals and the perpetual Eduardo Arena Trophy, which will be awarded to the Gold Medal-winning team.
One of the goals of the ISA is to take competitions to developing regions to showcase surfing, to help boost economy and get governments involved. It also helps various cultures and all walks of life have a chance at the podium.
The idea is for surfers to make friends with others in various parts of the world, perhaps stay at each other’s houses during future surf trips, and make friends that will last a lifetime; just as many who are entered in the ISA World Masters Championships have done.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre has been a longtime advocate for surfing to one day be a part of the Summer Olympics, and thinks it can change the event the way snowboarding has for the Winter Olympics.
“I don’t embark on things I don’t think are possible,” said Aguerre, a co-founder of the surfwear brand Reef.
Who else thinks it’s only just a matter of time for surfing to become an Olympic sport? In the meantime, check out more of the action and info here: isawmsc.com.