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Olympic hopeful Ella Williams from New Zealand competes in the 2017 edition of the ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

(ION La Jolla) May 29, 2018 – The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced that the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) and the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) will offer equal competition slots for men and women — continuing the Federation’s long-standing commitment to gender equity.

The 2018 ISA WSG, set to take place in Tahara, Japan September 15-22, will offer three slots for both men and women on each competing nation. Similarly, the VISSLA World Junior Surfing Championship taking place in Huntington Beach, California, USA October 27 – November 4 will see three boys and three girls in each team, across both the Under-18 and Under-16 divisions.

The news that men and women will participate in equal numbers at both the WSG and the WJSC comes after gender equity was successfully featured for the first time at the 2017 ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship, held in Denmark in September. Additionally, the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship was the first to feature separate women divisions, resulting in the first women World Champions to ever be crowned in the sport.

The announcement reaffirms the ISA’s commitment to gender equality in both its SUP and Surfing competitions as the Federation continues to grow the sport around the world. Building on its landmark Olympic inclusion, Surfing has seen an increase in participation from non-traditional nations including Iran, Sierra Leone, Senegal and India and the ISA hopes to build on this momentum ahead of Tokyo.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“Promoting gender equity through our events has always been critically important to the ISA and to me personally. As a way to foster a better world, we are excited to introduce equal opportunities at our flagship events this year. And with more talent on show than ever before, the high-octane, vibrant performances promise to be memorable. As the world governing authority for Surfing, SUP, and Paddleboarding, we are constantly working to strengthen their worldwide development and growth.

“As we look ahead to Tokyo 2020, our events this year will continue to highlight the unique atmosphere the ISA will bring to the Olympic Games. Surfing is more than just a sport. Our Olympic Surfing Beach Festival venue plan will provide the perfect platform to emphasize both our exciting, youth-orientated culture and lifestyle and our elite Surfing talent.”