South African Team captain Bianca Buitendag joins the Mayor of Biarritz, dignitaries and other top athletes at the official ISA World Games press conference

The official press conference for the ISA World Surfing Games was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Biarritz on Friday May 19th. In attendance were the Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, ISA Executive Director, Robert Fasulo, President of the French Surfing Federation, Jean-Luc Arassus, surf legend and Honorary Patron of the event, Tom Curren, Jeremy Flores (FRA, ISA Gold Medal 2009), Bianca Buitendag (RSA, ISA Silver Medal Peru 2011), and Leandro Usuna (ARG, ISA Gold Medal 2014, 2016).

ISA President Fernando Aguerre opened the press conference via a video message and said he was excited to be arriving in Biarritz in the next few days.

“I am very happy that France is hosting the most important team Surfing competition in the world. This is a historic edition of the ISA World Surfing Games with a record amount of country participation, including many first-time competing nations that are all enjoying the wave of Olympic Surfing.

“Biarritz is an ideal destination, the birthplace of Surfing in Europe, and a very important part of Surfing world history. I am very honoured to be welcoming all the international delegations from around the world.”

The Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, said:

“We have given a lot of support to host this event because we are proud to have it here in our city. It is a fantastic opportunity to promote Biarritz and the Basque Country. I hope that all the visiting international competitors have wonderful memories of their time in Biarritz to take home to their countries.”

Jean Luc Arassus, the President of the French Surfing Federation continued:

“We have put in lots of hard work to make this event as great as it can be and up to the same standard of the Olympic Games. Surfing is a sport with values that perfectly align with the Olympics and the professional and successful organization of this event will be a key step in the road to surfing’s inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It’s amazing that this year’s event will have the most countries ever in the World Surfing Games. I wish the best of luck to all the visiting teams.”

Jeremy Flores, the captain of Team France and the 2009 ISA World Surfing Games Gold Medalist, expressed his feelings about representing his nation in the upcoming competition:

“One of the best memories of my Surfing career is winning this event in 2009. Winning the ISA World Surfing Games is different than other surfing contest because you do it for your team and the whole country is behind you.

“Surfing in ISA events can be tough because you face surfers that are undiscovered and hungry to make a name for themselves on a global stage. Many athletes can’t afford to compete in the qualifying series and travel the world to make a professional career out of Surfing. This event is where you find raw talent from many nations other than the traditional countries of USA, Brazil and Australia that can truly surprise and compete at a high level.”

The South African Team captain, Bianca Buitendag, shared her thoughts on Surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.

“Coming to an event like this, let alone the Olympics, is a huge opportunity. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your heritage and your sport, but also the power of sport that can make many things possible like it has in our lives.”

Competition at the ISA World Surfing Games will get underway at 7am CET on Saturday morning at Grande Plage in Biarritz. The schedule for the first day of competition will be as follows (all times Central European Time):

The 2017 ISA World Surfing Games will begin on Saturday May 20 at 7am with the first rounds in the Women’s Division. The Opening Ceremony and Parade of Nations will take place on Saturday afternoon.

A record breaking forty seven countries have brought 245 surfers to the ISA World Surfing Games which will conclude on Sunday May 28.

The full list of teams can be viewed at  http://isaworlds.com/wsg/2017/en/teams/

The Opening Ceremony, featuring the Parade of Nations and the Sands of the World Ceremony, will take place  at the Casino de la Grande Plage. All the teams will parade through the picturesque streets of Biarritz to the Opening Ceremony stage, where they will participate in the Sands of the World ceremony. an ISA tradition in which every country pours sand from their home nation into a container to symbolize the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through Surfing.

The Women’s competition will then continue at Grand Plage as the Main Event and Repechage Rounds return to the water.

7am – 10am: 9 heats Open Women Main Event Round 1
10am – 11am: Break
11am – 1pm: Opening Ceremony
1pm – 3pm: Break
3pm – 6:40pm: 11 heats Open Women Main Event Round 1
6:40pm – 8:40pm: 8 heats Open Women Repechage Round 1

The schedule for the week-long event is as follows (Central European Time):

May 20 – Opening Ceremony, 11am Parvis du Casino de la Grande Plage
May 20-22 – Women’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 22 – Women’s Award Ceremony, Grande Plage
May 23-28 – Men’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 26 – World Premiere of “Shredding Monsters”, an Olympic Channel Production, 8pm at the Municipal Casino Theatre, Biarritz