Surf Canada is among 55 nations and 240 athletes that have gathered in Miyazaki, Japan, set to celebrate the inauguration of the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans at the Opening Ceremony on Saturday.
The men’s side of Surf Canada’s team consists of Peter Devries, Cody Young and Shane Campbell, while the women’s trio is made up of Mathea Olin, Bethany Zelasko and Paige Alms.
Canada and the rest of the participating nations kicked off the ISA World festivities with the Parade of Nations and the legendary Sands of the World Ceremony in Japan on Saturday afternoon.
Canada’s Shane Campbell, who has competed on the WSL Qualifying Series (Pro Circuit) for the past five years and has four finals and two wins to his credit. had this to say about his first Opening Ceremonies at the ISA World Surfing Games
“I didn’t know what to expect as this doesn’t happen on the Pro Tour, and being apart of this Olympic-like celebration amongst these exceptional athletes, all with the same dream to compete at Tokyo 2020, has got me even more fired up to take my surfing to that necessary level”.
2019 is set to be a historic edition of the event, as it will be the first to directly qualify athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The official press conference gathered top dignitaries and athletes on Saturday afternoon ahead of the inauguration of the event.
The conference’s panel included ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, Shunji Kono, President of the Nippon Surfing Association (NSA), Atsushi Sakai, members of Team Brazil Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina, member of Team USA Caroline Marks, member of Team South Africa Bianca Buitendag, and member of Team Japan Sara Wakita.
“As the first edition of the World Surfing Games to qualify athletes for the Olympics, this is an incredible, historic time for the sport,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre to kick off the press conference.
“24 years ago Olympic Surfing was a crazy dream. But everything starts with a crazy, impossible idea to make a dream become a reality. We’ve now brought surfing to the greatest sporting stage, the Olympic Games.
“Miyazaki is a tropical surfing paradise and I would like to thank the governor and the people of Miyazaki for once again receiving us with open arms.”
Brazilian teammates, both past ISA Junior Gold Medalists, Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina, commented on the excitement ahead of representing their nations in the competition.
“It’s an honor to be here today,” said Toledo. “With 55 countries from around the world participating, this event truly shows you how big Surfing is.
“Surfing for a Gold Medal in the Olympics will be much bigger than anything that we currently have in the sport. There is a long road to Tokyo, but I hope to be there and win a Gold Medal for my country.”
“You have only one shot to perform at the Olympics, which makes it exciting and special,” added Medina. “I am excited to compete here in Japan for the first time. It’s a big moment for our sport.”
USA’s Caroline Marks, an ISA Junior Gold Medalist in her own right, shared her thoughts on returning to the ISA format.
“Surfing is such an individual sport, so to compete as a team and feel all the support is incredible,” said Marks. “I am looking forward to competing against so many people and countries that I don’t usually surf against.”
The tentative schedule is as follows:
Aloha Cup (TBC)
Start to Open Men
Finals Open Women
Open Men competition continues
Finals Open Men
The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans is broadcast Sept 7-15 on www.isasurf.org.