(Surf.co.nz) The 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games officially opened Saturday, May 4, 2013. In attendance were the 24 countries with over 150 athletes and team officials, who traveled to Panama from every corner of the world. Local authorities, officials and thousands of enthusiastic Panamanians were witnesses to the start of the World Championship.
The National Delegations congregated in the town of Soná and walked through the streets that were filled with thousands of supporters. When arriving to the Opening Ceremony stage for the Sands of the World Ceremony, two representatives of each delegation walked on stage, one waving the national flag while the other poured sand from their local beach into a glass container, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations through the love of surfing.
Karol Baule and Orlando Ortega representing Team Panama during the Sands of the World Ceremony. Photo: Isa/ Rommel Gonzales
“It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama, in this incredible place of Santa Catalina and its amazing Panamanian waves that are feeding us a lot of energy that will transform this into a historic championship,” remarked ISA President Fernando Aguerrre. “I want to give special thanks to President Martinelli, the Minister of Tourism Salomon Shamah, the organizers of the event Tuti de Leon and Patrick Castagnet and all of the Panamanians that since four years ago have been welcoming us with open arms and warm hearts to brighten our stay.”
“First of all, we are bringing this event to the interior of the country where our nation’s natural resources are and the spirit and culture,” said Vice Minister of Tourism Ernesto Orillac. “By bringing all of these people from all over the world, will leave as ambassadors of our country.”
“Everyone that is involved in sports knows that even with great support, a lot of work goes into putting on this kind of World Championship,” said Panama’s National Olympic Committee President Camilo Amado. “These types of occurrences have a great effect on our national athletes to help them develop and represent our country by improving year after year.”
After a beautiful showcase of local Panamanian traditional dances, the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games was officially declared open.
24 Nationals Teams plus the locals supporters during the Opening Ceremony. Photo: ISA / Rommel Gonzales
Following the Opening Ceremony, the Official Press Conference took place featuring ISA President Fernando Aguerre, Panama’s Vice Minister of Tourism Ernesto Orillac, Mayor of Soná Faustino Camaño, Reef Latin America Marketing Manager Alejandro Azpiazu, Panama’s National Olympic President Camilo Amado, Team Panama’s Gian Carlos “Oli” Gonzales, and Team Australia’s Coach Mike McSuliffe. Dozens of Panama’s media outlets were in attendance.
The Official Press Conference of the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games took place featuring local authorities, officials and team representatives in front of dozens of Panama’s media outlets. Photo: ISA/Michael Tweddle
Competition starts on Sunday with The Morning Show at 7:40am (local time) followed by all 24 heats of the Open Men’s Qualifying round.
The live webcast of the entire championship is available on http://isawsg.com/