Justine Dupont of France, at the Cote de Basque in Biarritz. Pic: FFS / Arrieta
Brazil's Phil Rajzman will be looking for his first ISA Gold Medal. Photo: ISA / Tim Hain
19 May 19
The 2019 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship is set to become the biggest to date - breaking records for country, athlete and female participation.
104 athletes - including 46 women - from 32 countries will represent their nations and go for Gold between May 26 and June 2 in Biarritz, France.
The record-breaking 2019 edition eclipses the 2018 edition in Wanning, China, which featured a then-record 71 athletes from 22 nations. The year-on-year growth once more emphasises the successful growth and development of surfing around the globe - particularly in non-traditionally surfing nations - after the sport's inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 Sports Program in 2016. The debut appearances in Biarritz of Afghanistan, Belgium and the Netherlands in this year's event further attest to this growth.
Among the record-number of athletes are eight past ISA medalists including Chloe Calmon (BRA), Phil Rajzman (BRA), Thomas King (RSA), Kai Sallas (USA), Benoit Clemente (PER), and Natsumi Taoka (JPN).
The host nation Team France will be led by two medalists of their own - two-time ISA World Champion Antoine Delpero (2009, 2013) and Justine Dupont. Edouard Delpero and first-time ISA competitor Alice Leimogne will round out the squad.
The 2018 Team World Champion USA will arrive in Biarritz with an all new roster of athletes after last year's in Wanning, China. Kai Sallas, who earned the Men's Gold competing for Hawaii in 2018, will spearhead the new-look Team USA, joined by Soleil Errico and Lindsay Steinriede in the Women's Division and Cole Robbinsin the Men's.
The 2019 WLSC will serve as a qualifying event for Surfing's debut (shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing, and SUP racing) in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games as well as the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego, USA. As a result, only nations with National Olympic Committees can participate, hence Team Hawaii's 2018 World Champion Sallas competing under the USA flag in 2019.
The record participation of women in the event comes during an ISA push for gender equality across all disciplines of the sport. Starting in 2018, all ISA Global Events featured gender parity, offering equal competition slots for men and women.
The ISA's return to Biarritz comes just two years after the ISA's last successful championship in the city. The 2017 ISA World Surfing Games featured massive fan attendance and country participation, leaving its imprint on Biarritz's rich surf culture and history.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
"We are delighted to return to Biarritz with another ISA World Championship. Biarritz is the epicentre and birthplace of European Surfing, so it's exciting to see Surfing's original discipline celebrated on its shores.
"After inclusion in the Olympic Games, all of surfing's disciplines have experienced an explosion in growth all around the globe, and longboard is no exception. It's fantastic to see another record-breaking edition of this event, especially ahead of Longboard's debut in the Lima Pan American Games in July."
- REPORT FROM THE ISA, LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA