I checked in with International Surfing Association President Fernando Aguerre this week in Peru, where he is overseeing the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games.
I asked him some questions about the competition, and what it means for the sport’s quest to make it to the Olympics.
(To see more photos and video of opening ceremony: www.billabongisaworldsurfinggames.com.)
Fernando Aguerre: This is like the Olympics of Surfing. Over 30 national surfing teams compete for the honor of representing their countries, not for prize money.
Also, it’s the only worldwide surfing contest where surfers from the smallest surfing nations get to compete against the top stars of the world. It brings the surfing tribe together like no other surfing event.
FA: A big parade of over 30 national surfing teams, dressed in national uniforms, carrying their flags and very stoked about being there.
Sands of the World Ceremony is a total highlight: Every team sends a flag carrier and a selected athlete to pour one pound of sand from their country in a crystal box, signifying the union of the world in peace through surfing, an idea I first created in 1996, at the first World Surfing Games I organized as the newly elected president of the ISA.
FA: By showing our ability to have one global, universal contest, in great waves, and show how cool and influential surfing the sport is, and to show the surfing lifestyle as well.
On page 2: Why Peru, supporting the industry, and vice-versa