(Transworld Surf) In two weeks, 200 of the world’s best surfers from over 28 countries will descend upon Panama’s beautiful Playa Venao to compete in the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games presented by Panama.
From June 25 until July 2, four Open Men, two Open Women and two longboarders from each country will vie for one of Surfing’s biggest honors, to earn a medal for their country.
In each of the three divisions, competitors will surf to win individual gold, silver, bronze and copper medals. The Fernando Aguerre ISA World Team Trophy will go to the nation that achieves the highest points total, taking all team members performances into consideration.
The event will gather the best of the best of the sport of surfing, and for seven days, Panama will be the surfing capital of the world.
The waves at Playa Venao, five hours southwest of Panama City, depending on the tide can be hollow beach-break barrels or perfect rippable left and right handers.
Teams to Keep an Eye On
Peru is the defending champion of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games. Surfing as locals for the first time in 45 years, they proved they are a tough team to beat when they have the home field advantage. In 2011, they’ll have to uphold the title while competing in foreign waters.
Australia has the record of victories in the event, but will Team USA come back to winning form after their Gold Medal finish in the 2009 edition of the event? Brazil, the winner of the 2000 ISA World Surfing Games , is another contender.
Usual suspects like France (runner-Up in 2009), South Africa (winner in 2002), Tahiti and New Zealand will always be ready to surprise the rest of the field.
A little bit of history
The Billabong ISA World Surfing Games began in 1964 under the name ISF World Championships, and were run by the International Surfing Federation, the first surfing international organization in history. In 1976, the ISF gave way to the ISA. From their beginning and until today, the contestants in these championships traveled to compete as a team, to defend the colors of their countries.
In 1996, a year after the ISA was recognized by the International Olympic Committee, ISA President Fernando Aguerre proposed a name change to the World Surfing Games. He also created the Sands of the World Ceremony and Parade of the Nations to highlight the importance of the union of nations through surfing.
Since 1996, the nations that won the gold medal for their team include the following:
1996 – Huntington Beach, USA: United States
1998 – Carcavelos, Portugal: Australia
2000 – Maracaípe, Brazil: Brazil
2002 – Durban, South Africa: South Africa
2004 – Salinas, Ecuador: Australia
2006 – Huntington Beach, USA: Australia
2008 – Costa de Caparica, Portugal: Australia
2009 – Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica: United States
2010 – Punta Hermosa, Peru: Peru
2011 – Playa Venao, Panama: ?
Last Year’s Edition
Was held at Punta Hermosa, Peru’s waves of Caballeros and Señoritas and the local team of Peru as the big winner. The teams that made podium were the following:
Gold: Peru – 14370 points
Silver: Australia – 14160 points
Bronze: South Africa – 11820 points
Copper: Brazil – 11340 points
The individual results:
Open Men Gold: Hira Terinatoofa (TAH)
Open Women Gold: Chelsea Hedges (AUS)
Longboard Gold: Rodrigo Sphyer (BRA)
About the International Surfing Association
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 Open Division World Championships since 1964, Junior World Championships since 1980, and Masters World Championships since 2007. The ISA also sanctions the World Kneeboard Titles and the Tandem Surfing World Title, and will hold the first World Bodyboard Championship in 2011, and the first Stand Up Paddle (SUP) World Championship in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 67 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in San Diego, 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), Mike Gerard (USA) Karín Sierralta (PER) and Debbie Beacham (USA).
The world-best surfers will meet in Panama’s Playa Venao for the 2011 edition of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games presented by Panama
Billabong ISA World Surfing Games presented by Panama
June 25 – July 2
Playa Venao, Panama
Watch the live webcast on www.billabongisawsg.com