“We are pleased to welcome The Gambia and Nigeria to the ISA as we get closer to reaching our 100 member mark,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “Both are important countries moving towards a healthy growth of surfing in Africa, a continent rich in sporting history and wonderful waves, and where the opportunities for Surfing are ripe and plentiful.”
“The development of the sport of Surfing in Africa and other developing nations has a very high level of value because surfing and tourism also go hand in hand,” added ISA Africa Advisor Sean Brody. “If surf tourism is developed in a sustainable fashion, it can lead to improvements in health care, education, job opportunities and infrastructure. Additionally, the sport of Surfing acts as a catalyst for peacekeeping, since the youth have a positive activity to focus on.”
The Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association is the new ISA member in The Gambia. “The Gambia is incredibly excited to become a member of the ISA,” said Alieu Jallow, president of the new ISA member. “We know that our citizens will enjoy Surfing and SUP, and hopefully be able to compete on a world stage within a few years.”
“It will as well allow us to continue to develop our sport and its connections with tourism. This will greatly help our citizens and allows Africans to unite through surfing. As we work hard towards introducing the sport to new surfers from kids to adults, being a part of the ISA will allow our surfers to get better training and be able to compete with the top surfers in the world.”
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running the Open Division World Championship since 1964, the World Junior Surfing Championship since 1980, the World Masters Surfing Championship since 2007, the World Bodyboard Championship since 2011, the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival in China, and the World Standup Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship beginning in 2012. The ISA also sanctions the World Kneeboard Titles and the World Tandem Surfing Championship, and will launch the World Longboard Championship in 2013.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of now 81 countries on five continents.
Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro and re-elected seven times since.
The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Alan Atkins (AUS), Karín Sierralta (PER), Debbie Beacham (USA) and Layne Beachley (AUS).