Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Champs
Brazil's Fellipe Lima has his sights set on earning his third Adaptive Surfing Gold Medal
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 December, 2017 - La Jolla, California - The world's best adaptive surfers were greeted with epic waves and excellent conditions on the opening day of competition at the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship presented by Vissla and the City of San Diego.
Competitive Adaptive Surfing was taken to new heights as the athletes posted scores in the excellent range and put their world-class talent on display.
Brazil's Roberto Pino, a first-time competitor in the event, was the standout surfer for the defending World Champion Team Brazil. Pino combined radical maneuvers with a completed barrel ride to earn wave scores of 8.83 and 8.33 for a heat total of 17.16, the highest of the day. Pino left the beach overcome by tears of joy as he exited the water to cheers of the international community supporting him.
Pino's teammates, the defending AS-3 and AS-5 Gold Medalists, Fellipe Lima and Davi Teixeira, contributed to Team Brazil's strong showing both advanced through first in their rounds with impressive heat totals.
South Africa's JP Veaudry, the 2016 AS-1 Bronze Medalist made his intentions for Gold clear with solid surfing and an excellent range score. Veaudry earned the day's second highest heat total with 15.33.
Mark 'Mono" Stewart, a back-to-back Gold Medalist from Team Australia spoke about the great conditions and camaraderie seen on the beach today.
"The waves are pumping out there! This is my third year here and I have never seen waves this good at La Jolla Shores.
"The Australia team has been fully supportive of our athletes. We are losing our voices screaming and yelling for each other. It's been a real team effort this year.
"Adaptive surfing in the last three years has blossomed into this huge phenomenon around the world. It's giving so many youth the opportunity to get back in the ocean. Being pioneers of that is a great feeling. It's great to know that we are here on a grass roots level to build a platform for the future generations to potentially surf in the Paralympics.
"The ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship has changed my life, as well as most competitors' lives that have been here since day one. The whole adaptive surfing community has united here and become a big family."
With the ISA's recent recognition by the International Paralympic Committee, pushing for the inclusion of Para Surfing in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games has been a key priority of the International Federation.
International Paralympic Committee Vice President, Duane Kale, came to La Jolla to attend the event and experience the vibrant Adaptive Surfing movement first hand.
"The ISA extended an opportunity to me to come observe this wonderful event," said Kale. "It's part of a process of the ISA in showing their interest of becoming a Paralympic sport for 2024. This was a wonderful chance to see the event, see what it's about, see the operational aspects, and meet all the people behind the sport.
"My first impression of the event is the closeness of the athletes. You really get that sense of a community and a movement that is growing in its infancy. There is nothing like developing a sport when you have a group of athletes that are as passionate as the athletes of Para Surfing. They are achieving things that are challenging, but enjoyable, and showcasing just what Para athletes and sport can do."
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, added: "It was absolutely incredible to watch the world's best Para surfers competing in excellent conditions. These athletes' talent, competitive drive, and togetherness were on full display today. With more great waves on the forecast, this was just the first taste of what we are going to see this week.
"The high performance and vibrant energy radiating from the beach exemplify the qualities of Para Surfing that we think would make it a great fit in the Paralympic Games and we are ecstatic to be able to share that with the Paralympic Movement and the whole world."
No surfers were eliminated on the first day of competition in the 'round robin' style format. Each surfer in the open divisions will surf twice, where the top two waves from either of their first two heats will go towards their total score to advance onto the single elimination round 3.
The schedule for Friday's competition is as follows (Pacific Standard Time):
7am-9:40am - 8 heats AS-1
9:40am-10:40am - 3 heats AS-5
10:40am-12:20pm - 5 heats AS-2
12:20pm-1:40pm - 4 heats AS-4
1:40pm-2:20pm - 2 heats AS-3
2:20pm-3:00pm - 2 heats Women AS-1
The schedule for the remainder of the competition is as follows: December 1 - December 3: Competition 7:00am-3:00pm at La Jolla Shores beach