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International Surfing Association Unveils Host Cities for Two Premier World Events in 2018

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  • Tahara, Japan, home to many quality beach and reef breaks, will host the 2018 ISA World Surfing Games from September 15-22. Photo: NSA
  • The Buzios peninsula provides great venues for both SUP Surfing and Racing. Photo: Fernando Lucena
  • After a successful edition of the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Hyuga, Japan, the 2018 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan will serve as a key stepping stone towards Surfing’s Olympic debut in the country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: NSA

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has unveiled Tahara, Japan and Buzios, Brazil as the host cities of two of its flagship events, the 2018 ISA World Surfing Games and the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, respectively.

The 2018 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG), the sport’s premium event for national teams, will take place in the south coast city of Tahara tentatively between September 15-22, and comes following the successful hosting of the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Japan earlier this year.

Surfing is set to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and hosting the 2018 WSG in Japan will not only offer Surf fans and athletes a further insight into how the sport will look in 2020, but also be the first edition to feature complete gender equality.

Building on the exceptional success of this year’s ISA SUP Worlds in Denmark, the ISA has also announced that the 2018 World SUP and Paddleboard Championship (WSUPPC) will head to Brazil for the first time ever.

The fastest growing event in the ISA World Championship Series, the WSUPPC will descend upon the idyllic east coast city of Buzios tentatively between November 23 – December 1, with the picturesque Brazilian coastline set to offer the perfect backdrop to elite SUP competition.


Arranged in partnership with the Brazilian Sports Ministry, the City of Buzios and the Brazilian Surfing Confederation (CBSurf), the event is set to tap into one of the world’s most fastest growing SUP markets, and builds on the success of elite SUP surfer Luiz Diniz, who took home Brazil’s first ever Men’s SUP Surfing Gold at the 2017 ISA SUP Worlds, held in Denmark.

Under the guidance of the ISA, the sport of SUP and Paddleboard has flourished, with participation worldwide nearly tripling since the first ISA SUP Worlds in 2012. The ISA’s commitment to the global development of the discipline has led to its inclusion at a host of major multisport events, including the 2019 Pan Am Games and the 2017 Central American Games, held in Nicaragua.

Discussing the landmark dual announcements, ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:

“We are excited to announce excellent locations for two of our major events in 2018. Brazil and Japan are symbolic of the historic inclusion of Surfing in the Olympic Games, as the official vote by the IOC to include Surfing in the Olympic Sports Programme took place in Brazil, and Japan will be where Surfing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

“We are expecting the world’s best surfers will be looking to get a leg up on their competition in riding the wave to Tokyo 2020. The momentum and anticipation around the surfing competitions in Tokyo is growing every day.  Bringing our flagship event back to Japan just two years before the Games with surely add to that excitement.


“On top of this, bringing the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship to Brazil, one of the world’s top Surfing and SUP markets, will provide a great opportunity for the growth and development of the sport. The Brazilian Minister of Sport, Leonardo Picciani, has given the event his blessing and full support to grow the sport of SUP and contribute to the economic development of the region.

“We have experienced great success for SUP with inclusion in major multisport events and will continue to lead SUP down the correct path with the goal of Olympic inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games.”

President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Atsushi Sakai, said:

“The ISA World Surfing Games are an excellent platform to display the world-class waves, beauty, and culture of Japan to a global audience. We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s best surfers to experience the waves and hospitality that we have to offer.

“With the event to take place less than two years out from Tokyo 2020, it will be a precursor to the high-performance Olympic surfing and surely will feature multiple stars of the sport who will become the first Olympic surfers.”

Brazilian Minister of Sport, Leonardo Picciani, said:

“It is with great pleasure that the city of Armacao dos Buzios hosts the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship.

“We are strongly interested in the organization of the event and in building relationships that can contribute to the delivery of this championship in the city of Buzios, considering that the area is naturally devoted to the practice of water sports and is home to many high-performance athletes in various disciplines.

“This Ministry considers it essential to carry out events of this size in the city, which is important not only for the development of the sport, but also for the economic development of the entire region.”

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 103 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). 

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