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ISA hails WSL pact for World Surfing Games

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has hailed a new era of cooperation with the World Surf League (WSL) after the latter body endorsed the participation of professional athletes in the 2017 World Surfing Games, which will take place in Biarritz, France on May 21-28.

Confirmation of the dates for the event comes after the ISA and the WSL worked together to find a place for the World Surfing Games that fits in the WSL calendar and enables WSL Championship Tour surfers to participate in Biarritz. 

The announcement builds on a long-running working relationship between the two organisations and reaffirms the participation of the world’s top surfers when the sport makes its debut at the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games.

Surfing was confirmed as an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020 in August after decades of campaigning by the ISA underpinned by the governing body’s drive for the global development of the sport. The sport will also be included in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre said: “This is a significant moment, in a significant year for the development of surfing globally. We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with the WSL for the benefit of the sport.

“Today’s news reinforces our long-term commitment to ensure the very best surfers compete when surfing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. These are incredibly exciting times and we are totally committed to working together with the whole surfing family to ensure we continue on our path of global development and inclusivity. Our aim is to solidify surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Program beyond 2020.”

WSL chief executive Paul Speaker added: “The WSL remains committed to allow our top professional surfers on the WSL Championship Tour to represent their country at the ISA World Surfing Games. The WSL also continues to work alongside the ISA with the goal of providing the 2020 Olympic Games with the best possible surfing experience.”

The ISA announced last month that Biarritz would host the 2017 edition of its World Surfing Games, confirming the return of the event to Europe for the first time since 2008. Biarritz previously hosted the 1980 edition of the Games.