For the third year, the International Surfing Association is bringing the World Adaptive Championship back to La Jolla, California, and for the first time ever will crown Women’s Adaptive Surfing World Champions by introducing five contests specifically for women. The event, which is broken into six different classes of adaptive athletes based on which riding stance/position their impairment forces them to take as well as an Open division, will hold competitions for each female division with a minimum of three different women from different countries.
Traditionally, the World Adaptive Championships has an individual sport class for athletes who ride waves in a standing or kneeling position, surfers with an upper body impairment who ride in one of those two positions, and another subclass for surfers with lower body impairments. The other classes are separated for surfers who ride in a prone position, surfers who ride in a seated position, surfers who need assistance paddling into waves, and four sub-classes of surfers with visual impairments.
In 2016, the event brought together 77 surfers from 22 different countries, with Brazil bringing home two gold medals, one silver, and the overall team ranking ahead of the second place U.S. team. That year was also the first time the ISA crowned a visually impaired surfing champion, Aitor Francesena from Spain.
As for the women, the addition of women’s divisions has more than doubled female participation for the 2017 event being held from November 29th to December 3rd. In fact, the inclusion of women in ISA events is not exclusive to the 2017 WASC, after the association featured equal competition opportunities for the first time at this year’s World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Denmark.
“The ISA is proud to be actively promoting and developing women’s surfing around the globe,” ISA President, Fernando Aguerre said. “Creating an opportunity for women in the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is just another step in working towards complete gender equality, which is the ultimate goal.
“The growth of Adaptive Surfing in just the last few years has been incredible to see, and under ISA leadership we are intent on taking the sport to where it belongs in the 2024 Paralympic Games.”
Note: People interested in volunteering for the 2017 event can learn more and sign up here.