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After years of hype, para surfers were deflated by news last month that the 2028 Los Angeles Games declined to include the sport in the Paralympics. For many, the news came and went unnoticed. But now that Kelly Slater and Jack Johnson have voiced their support of the movement, everyone is talking about it. 

Victoria Feige, a five-time para surfing champion and partner of the Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience, showed the internet that she’s a marketing genius when she enlisted the likes of Slater and Johnson to raise awareness and support a petition for LA28 to reconsider its decision. Armed with 11 world titles, a combined four-million Instagram followers, and a couple of Grammy nominations, it’d be hard to think of two more influential people within the surfing world to support your cause.  

Feige found the two stars and got them to support the petition in videos that were uploaded to her Instagram profile and stories. 

“If you guys could support para surfing for the Olympics in Los Angeles it would be great,” said Slater. “We just need a few signatures to get you guys in the water.” 

It’s unlikely that the petition will have any sway on the sports program, but if there was a way to get LA 2028’s attention, Feige hit the nail on the head. I’d be surprised if Paralympic officials didn’t come across the messaging during Instagram scrolls. 

The process for including new sports in the Paralympics is not parallel to the Olympics. They are two separate entities. Therefore, the sports programs are entirely different and the Paralympics have not been facing the same pressure as the Olympics to usher in new, youthful sports. So just because surfing has been included in the Olympics doesn’t mean it’s going to be any easier for para surfing to follow suit.

 
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