Sat, 7 September 2019

As the Olympics looms next year, 55 countries are rolling out their best surfers, including the top pros, as the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans begins in Miyazaki, Japan today.


MADE IN JAPAN: Bianca Buitendag reaches Round 2 of the main event. Photo ISA / Jimenez

ISA miyazaki_logo_cropThe teams, who include the likes of Jordy Smith, Gabriel Medina, Stephanie Gilmore and Kelly Slater, started the festivities with the Parade of Nations earlier today, although many of the big names were absent, and their photos missing from the team sheets on the ISA website.

Not so in Team Brazil, with Medina, Filipe Toledo and Tatiana Weston-Webb present and cheering with the rest of them. Sri Lanka, Thailand, American Samoa and Lebanon make their debut at the Games. A compact team South Africa comprises Smith, Mikey February, Beyrick de Vries, Bianca Buitendag, Zoe Steyn and Sarah Baum, with Greg Emslie coach and Isaac February team manager.

The Sands of the World Ceremony followed the Parade of Nations. Two representatives of each country (Baum and Steyn for South Africa) took to the stage and poured sand from their local beaches into a container, symbolising the peaceful gathering of all 55 nations through surfing.


FULL HOUSE: The Brazilians are in Japan in full force, and filled with surf fever. Photo ISA / Jimenez

AUS FLAGS_WSG_JIMENEZIn a press conference that featured Medina, Toledo, Caroline Marks from the USA, Team Japan's Sara Wakita, and our own Buitendag, the latter said: “The opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at the World Surfing Games is particularly special for a country like South Africa. We don’t get as many opportunities or resources as some of the more developed nations, but it’s amazing that we have a real chance to qualify, as well as other African nations such as Senegal.

“The Olympic Games celebrate diversity, which the country representation here in Miyazaki demonstrates well.”

"It's an honor and pleasure to be able to say a few words to you all today," said Mayor of Miyazaki Shunji Kono. "I extend a warm welcome to the top surfers and surfing lovers from around the world. This competition is very special as the first qualifying edition for the Tokyo Olympic Games. We are proud to be able to contribute to the history of surfing."

The competitors were treated to a traditional Wadaiko Japanese drum performance to give them a taste of the local culture of Miyazaki.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre poured the last jar of sand into the container, sand collected from the beach at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the day the official vote to include Surfing in the Olympics took place during the Rio 2016 Games.

RSA Sarah_Baum_Sean_Evans

BAUM! Sarah Baum, like Buitendag, took second in her heat to move through. Photo ISA / Evans

Qualification for Tokyo will be on a continental basis, with the top eligible man and woman from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Europe earning slots in the Olympic Games. Slots for the Americas were contested at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games. Following the 2019 WSG and Pan American Games, qualification will be completed by the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour and the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games. Learn more about the Tokyo 2020 qualification process here.

Caroline Marks was the top performer of the day, earning the highest wave score (9) and heat total (17.23)The opening rounds of competition took to the water following the Opening Ceremony, with the Women demonstrating their world-class talent to the fans at Kisakihama Beach. USA's Caroline Marks was the top performer of the day, earning the highest wave score (9) and heat total (17.23) of the day. Peru's Sofia Mulanovich also put on an excellent show, earning two waves of 8.6 and 8.17 to earn the day's second highest heat total of 16.77. Team Thailand's Annissa Tita Flynn made history as the first Thai surfer to ever compete in the ISA World Surfing Games. Her score of 8.36 was not enough to pass the heat, but Flynn will get a second chance to advance in the event through the Repechage Rounds. Buitendag took 2nd behind Eveline Hooft from the Netherlands, and will progress to the main event Round 2, where she will face Caroline Marks, as well as Lucia Idurain (ARG) and Tia Blanco (PUR). Baum also took second in her heat, and will face Nikki van Dijk from Australia in her Round 2 matchup that includes Chelsea Tuach (Barbados) and Lorena Fica (Chile).


PFFFT PAARP! The ISA president tries his hands (and lips) at a vuvuzela. Photo ISA / Jimenez

September 8/9
Open Women

September 10
Aloha Cup (TBC)
Open Women
Start to Open Men

September 11
Finals Open Women
Open Men competition continues

September 15
Finals Open Men
Closing Ceremony

The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans is broadcast Sept 7-15 on www.isasurf.org.

Social media
Facebook: International Surfing Association
Instagram: @ISAsurfing
Twitter: @ISAsurfing
YouTube: ISAsurfing

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