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ISA Holds First-Ever Olympic Solidarity Supported Course in Fiji

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  • Twelve surf coaches from Oceania receive their ISA certification via the ISA’s first Olympic Solidarity course in Fiji. Photo: Fiji Surfing Association

The International Surfing Association (ISA) recently took a big step in the global development of Surfing and held its first-ever Olympic Solidarity supported coaching course in Fiji from July 20-27. Olympic Solidarity is a global development initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that is aimed at supporting National Olympic Committees (NOC) around the globe, particularly those with the greatest need. With the IOC’s decision to include Surfing on the Sports Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Games in August of 2016, Surfing is now able to access the IOC’s initiatives which help to support the global development of the sport.

Olympic Solidarity offers support for technical courses for coaches, scholarships for athletes, and programs that promote the values of Olympic Agenda 2020, such as sustainability, gender equality and diversity, and social development.

The ISA Surf Level 1 and Surf Level 2 courses that took place in Fiji were done in collaboration with the Fiji Surfing Association and the Fijian National Olympic Committee. The support from Olympic Solidarity allowed the courses to open to surf coaches from countries throughout the Oceania region and the course was an incredible opportunity to improve the standard of surf coaching in throughout the region and to give these coaches access to a higher level of surf coaching training and methodology.

The courses took place on Malolo Island, just a short distance from the world-class Fijian reefbreaks of Cloudbreak and Restaurants, providing the coaches with world-class waves to surf and practice the delivery of their coaching lessons. Six of the participating surf coaches came from Fiji, three from Vanuatu, and three from Samoa, with the expert instruction of ISA Course Presenter from New Zealand, Lee Ryan.

The ISA plans to build on the success of this first Olympic Solidarity course in Fiji, with plans in the near future to hold courses in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. The ISA aims to strengthen its collaboration with Olympic Solidarity, its National Federations, and their corresponding National Olympic Committees across all five continents to develop the sport in traditional and non-traditional Surfing nations that lack adequate funding.

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ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“We are grateful to Olympic solidarity and the IOC for supporting the ISA and our friends in Oceania on this debut of our collaboration.

“Olympic Solidarity represents a fantastic opportunity for the ISA, our surf coaches and surfers around the world to benefit from surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games through such coaching courses. The ISA is committed to working closely with the IOC and Olympic Solidarity to maximize this collaborative opportunity and to help contribute to the growth and well-being of the sport.

“This is one of the numerous examples of the positive, global impact of Olympic surfing.  Olympic Solidarity will be a key tool in bolstering support for surf programs in traditional surfing nations as well as reaching new surfers in non-traditional nations that wish to practice the sport.”

ISA Course Presenter Lee Ryan from New Zealand said:

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“The ISA Courses held in Fiji with the support of Olympic Solidarity were a milestone for the development of Surfing in Oceania and a huge step for improving the coaching standard in the region. The knowledge and new skills gained over the past few days in Fiji by the participants during these courses will help them further develop surfing in their respective regions. I am excited to be apart of this important development initiative and am looking forward to helping the ISA train more instructors in the Oceania region in the future.”

To learn more about Olympic Solidarity support for Surfing from the ISA and how to apply, click here.

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 101 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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