SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 29, 2017 – Adaptive surfers join a rising tide of adaptive athletes contributing to the enormous growth of adaptive sports, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In the United States alone, an estimated 48.9 million people have a disability. Another 24 million people have a severe disability; and 34.2 million people have a functional limitation.
In addition to this large segment of the population, factor in the large number of returning servicemen and women injured in the line of duty who aren’t giving up the active lifestyle they enjoyed prior to their injuries. They are pushing medical science beyond its current boundaries, finding new ways to compete at the elite level without compromise.
Among this growth, the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship brings the world’s best adaptive surfers to the shores off La Jolla, California to compete from November 29 to December 3.
One hundred and nine athletes from 26 nations will compete in the world’s largest international surfing competition for parasurfing (or adaptive surfing). Parasurfing has ambitions of joining other popular sports such as swimming and skiing in the Paralympic Games. The International Surfing Association (ISA) was recently recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the official international federation for the sport, an important step toward inclusion in a future Paralympics, perhaps as early as 2024 in Paris.
See a preview video of adaptive surfers in action here.
“The ISA is proud and excited to make surfing more accessible to those with physical challenges,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “These world-class athletes deserve a world-class platform to compete, share best practices, and crown world champions.”
Just two years ago in 2015, the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship became the first-ever world championship for surfers with physical challenges.
“We have watched Adaptive Surfing blossom before our eyes at the last two editions of the event,” said President and Co-Founder of Stance, John Wilson. “Each athlete has an inspiring story of perseverance, courage, and determination that epitomize our core value of human originality. We are looking forward to contributing to this incredible community in a positive way and being part of the sport’s journey towards Paralympic inclusion. We know that with hard work these athletes can make their countries proud and get to the world’s greatest sporting stage.”
Returning to this year’s event for a second year is the team competition format that debuted in 2016. Team Brazil will be back to defend its-Adaptive Surfing Team World Championship against competitors from France, Australia, Chile, Brazil, USA and South Africa.
Women Now Breaking Barriers As Adaptive Surfers on Breaking Waves
Although women have participated in past events in mixed gender divisions, this year for the first time ever five of the six divisions which classify surfers based on their type of physical impairment will feature enough female participation to merit a separate division and ultimately will crown the first-ever Women’s Adaptive Surfing World Champions.
Alana Nichols, a three time Paralympic Gold Medalist and member of Team USA, said “The inclusion of Women’s Divisions in the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is a huge step forward in the growth of the sport and representative of the increasing number of women practicing Adaptive Surfing around the globe. It’s important that the ISA is striving for gender equality and I’m really excited to see who will be crowned the first Female Adaptive Surfing World Champions.”
The event kicked off on Wednesday, November 29 with an Adaptive Surfing Symposium in conjunction with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to develop the sport and show how surfing can play a role in enriching the lives of physically challenged athletes. Opening ceremonies including the Parade of Nations followed in the afternoon.
From Thursday, November 30 through Sunday, December 3, competition takes place from 8 a.m .to 4:30 pm at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Spectators are welcome and encouraged.
If you can’t get down to the beach, the World Championship will be streamed live on www.isaworlds.com Visit the official event website for results, photos, videos and news pertaining to the competition.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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