Surfers from around the world kick off ISA championships with parade in Huntington Beach

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Oct. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Huntington Beach, Calif., also known as Surf City USA™, welcomed the best junior surfers in the world this morning at the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship opening ceremony.

A record-breaking 361 athletes and 136 team officials from 44 countries paraded through Downtown Huntington Beach to mark the beginning of the nine-day surfing competition, hosted by Visit Huntington Beach.

Daniel Etchells graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA honours degree in Media and Sports Journalism in 2010. Before joining insidethegames.biz, Daniel covered football for various national newspapers through the Wardle Whittell Agency and undertook placements writing for the official website of his beloved Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News and BBC Sport.

"Huntington Beach has been a part of ISA history for many years. It was here at this pier in 1996 that we awarded the first individual medals at the World Surfing Games," International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre said. "It was also the first surfing event attended by members of the International Olympic Committee, which planted the seed for surfing's eventual Olympic inclusion 20 years later."

Huntington Beach locals lined Main Street to watch the Parade of Nations, with each country dressed in patriotic garb and proudly waving their flags. The parade ended at Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, where the Opening Ceremony took place.

Following the parade of nations, the ISA celebrated its signature Sands of the World Ceremony in which two members from each team took to the stage and poured sand from their local beach into a glass container while waving their national flag.

To celebrate the unifying nature of surfing, ISA's signature Sands of the World Ceremony invited two members from each nation to pour sand from their local beaches into a glass container while waving their national flag. The USA Surfing Team poured sand from Huntington City Beach, where the competition will take place.

The 12 ISA scholarship ambassadors competing in the event also took to the stage to recognise the great strides they had made in their education and surfing since assuming their position. 

"You're going to surf the most consistent, year-round surf break right here in Huntington Beach. You're going to be able to add your name to a long list of people who have been crowned champion in Surf City USA — like past U.S. Open champions Brett Simpson, Courtney Conlogue, and Kanoa Igarashi," Visit Huntington Beach President and CEO Kelly Miller said.

“I would like to give a big thank you to VISSLA for believing in the power of junior surfing, and as well to the City of Huntington Beach for opening your arms, waves and beach to all of us.”

Since the inception of the ISA Junior Division, the event has given a glimpse into which young surfers will become the future stars of the sport. The ISA recently reaffirmed its commitment to surfing's long-term Olympic future and its inclusion at both Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, after the sport was named the official sport of California in August 2018.

“It was also the first surfing event attended by members of the International Olympic Committee, which planted the seed for surfings eventual Olympic inclusion 20 years later.

"Some of [these athletes] may be among the first Olympic surfers in history in two years' time at the Tokyo 2020," Aguerre said.

Hawaiis Sage Tutterow, Costa Ricas Malakai Martinez and the US Levi Slawson also put on strong performances to give their teams an early boost of momentum.

Huntington Beach, home to numerous elite surfing competitions, such as the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, last hosted an ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in 2005. The 2018 VISSLA ISA World Juniors will be the fifth ISA event held in Surf City USA.

"This is a city rich in surfing heritage. Every top competitive surfer has competed right here. You are in illustrious company, so please enjoy what this amazing town has to offer," VISSLA President Paul Naude said.

To finish off the Ceremony, the delegations were treated to a local display of song and dance by Surf City Singers from Huntington Beach High School.

After the Opening Ceremony, the competition kicked off with the under-18 (U-18) and under-16 (U-16) boys at the Huntington Beach Pier.

“I want you all to surf hard this week, re-visit friendships, make new friends, and go home as ambassadors of Huntington Beach and California.”

About the International Surfing Association:The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, 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; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012. ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 104 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA's four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).

He was joined by Mike Posey, the Mayor of Huntington Beach, and Kelly Miller, the President and chief executive of Visit Huntington Beach.

About Visit Huntington Beach: Visit Huntington Beach is the official destination marketing organization of Huntington Beach, Surf City USA®. One of Southern California's premier beach and surf destinations, Huntington Beach is the ideal location for a California family vacation, active outdoor sports and adventure trip or relaxing weekend getaway. With 10 miles/ 16 kilometers of wide-open white sand California beaches, Huntington Beach is a destination of choice for vacationers and business travelers alike. To plan your Surf City USA® vacation, or to learn more about Huntington Beach, see the Visit Huntington Beach website at www.surfcityusa.com, go to @SurfCityUSA on Instagram, or call 1-800-729-6232 for a free Visitors Guide.

Competing in the boys under-16 event, Ito earned the highest heat total of the day with 13.93 points at Huntington Beach Pier.

About VISSLA: Vissla is a brand that represents creative freedom, a forward-thinking philosophy, and a generation of creators and innovators. We embrace the modern do-it-yourself attitude within surf culture, performance surfing, and craftsmanship. We constantly strive to minimize our environmental impact and protect the oceans and waves that raised us. This is a surf-everything and ride-anything mentality. We are creators and innovators.

They held their flags high with pride, carrying with them with containers of sand from around the world.

The Sands of the World Ceremony was created by Aguerre in Huntington Beach at the 1996 ISA World Surfing Games.

The Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championships  kicked off on Saturday on the south side of the Huntington Beach pier.

“It was here at this Pier in 1996 that we awarded the first individual medals at the World Surfing Games.

The surfing team from Uruguay make their way across Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A team member from Nicaragua pours sand from their home country into a container during the Sands of the World Ceremony to be with sand from the 44 countries from around the world that are competing in the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team from Poland stands with sand from their local beach on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A surfer from Australia makes his way along Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfers from France gather on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A surfer from Australia shows off his colors on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surf team from Argentina makes their way along Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surf team from Australia, right, and others make their way along Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfing teams from a total of 44 countries from around the world make their way along Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, during the Parade of Nations as surfers gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfing teams from a total of 44 countries from around the world make their way across Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, during the Parade of Nations as surfers gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team from France chants as they arrive at the Huntington Beach Pier as a total of 44 countries from around the world gather on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, during the Parade of Nations and for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team from Canada gathers for a group photo on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team from Mexico gathers for a group photo on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team member from Norway stands on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfing teams from a total of 44 countries from around the world make their way along Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, during the Parade of Nations as surfers gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team from Mexico makes their way across Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, as surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world gather for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games and the Parade of Nations along Main Street in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A team member from the United States pours sand from Huntington Beach into a container during the Sands of the World Ceremony to be with sand from the 44 countries from around the world that are competing in the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Sands of the World in a container from the 44 countries from around the world that are competing in the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A surfing team member from Russia has a photo taken on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfing team members from Brazil have their photo taken on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfing team members from Israel have their photo taken on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A team member from Costa Rica pours sand from their home country into a container during the Sands of the World Ceremony to be with sand from the 44 countries from around the world that are competing in the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team member from Switzerland holds sand from her home country as she stands on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The surfing team member from Germany stands on Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018, just prior to the start of the Parade of Nations along Main Street along with surfers from a total of 44 countries from around the world as they prepare for the start of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A team member from Spain pours sand from their home country into a container during the Sands of the World Ceremony to be with sand from the 44 countries from around the world that are competing in the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Surfers marched down Main Street, toward the beach, carrying their country flags during the Parade of Nations.

Sands brought from various beaches around the world were layered on top of one another during a ceremony on the beach, signifying coming together for one common love: the sport of surfing.

As surfing gets set to make its Olympic Games debut in 2020, this competition will preview the format of that future event with athletes not only vying for individual medals, but also representing countries.

Team USA hopes to repeat their gold medal win from last year’s contest in Japan. The team also earned gold in 2015 when the event was held in Oceanside.

There’s plenty of talent to watch out for through the week, including San Clemente surfers Cole Houshmand, Taj Lindblad, Kade Matson, Jett Schilling for the boys, and Kirra Pinkerton, Samantha Sibley and Sawyer Lindblad for the girls.

Others on team USA include Taro Watanabe from Malibu, Levi Slawson from Encinitas, Alyssa Spencer from La Jolla, Makena Burke from Ventura, and Caitlin Simmers from Oceanside.

Surf looks promising during the first half of the event, with waves in the 3-to-5-foot range expected, before the swell drops to 2 to 3 feet for the final days of the contest.

The remainder of the event runs from Oct. 28 through Nov. 4. More information is available at isasurf.org.


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