LA JOLLA–The world’s best Adaptive Surfers shined in a display of high-performance surfing and team camaraderie on the second day of competition at the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship presented by Vissla and the City of San Diego.
Fierce surfing was on display as the athletes put it all on the line to advance through the first eliminations of the event and take one step closer to Gold. 33 athletes were eliminated, narrowing the field of Gold Medal hopefuls.
In the afternoon, Adaptive Surfing history was made as the first separate Women’s Division took to the water, representative of the worldwide growth of women’s Adaptive Surfing and the ISA’s push to promote gender equality.
The women impressed through tough, low tide conditions, with Japan’s Kazune Uchida impressively earning the highest heat total with 10.64.
South Africa’s 17-year-old Grace Anderson took part in the first heat of the Women’s Division and expressed her joy of this experience at the World Championship.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic being able to represent my country at such a young age. It’s been mind-blowing.
“It’s great to meet other women who are interested in Adaptive Surfing and to use this platform to get even more ladies in the water and keep the sport growing. I’ve learned so much from the fellow women competitors here.
“My main goal here is to have an awesome time and simply do my best.”
Team Brazil once again had the standout performers of the day after the two-time and defending Gold Medalist, Fellipe Lima, notched the day’s highest heat total with 17.60. Lima’s teammate Roberto Pino complemented his performance with a solid showing of his own, earning the second highest heat total with 14.33.
Among the first-time competitors at the event this year is Israel’s Adi Klang, who came to La Jolla as the sole representative of his country.
Klang spoke about what he hopes his participation in this event can do for fellow adaptive surfers in Israel.
“There are a lot of people with physical challenges in Israel due to violence and wars. We don’t have an organized Adaptive Surfing community like you see in other countries, but I hope that my participation here will jump-start the movement in Israel and introduce a lot of people with physical challenges to Surfing.
“After seeing all these athletes here I am inspired to help others get in the water and take the movement back to Israel.”
Towards the end of the day of competition ISA President Fernando Aguerre shared a special surf with International Paralympic Committee Vice President, Duane Kale.
“I’ve been in the ocean, swimming my whole life, but I’ve never been on a board,” said Kale. “The experience of grabbing a wave is awesome!”
“I think it’s important to come and experience a sport to be able to truly understand it, and I loved Para Surfing.”
“The first day of eliminations is always tough because athletes that have traveled from all corners of the globe lose their hopes of winning a Gold Medal, but their job is not over,” ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, added. “What truly makes this event inspirational is that they stay to support their countries and the Adaptive Surfing movement as a whole. These athletes are one big family.
“Surfing with Duane Kale was the highlight of my day. Every surfer remembers their first wave and I saw the look in his eyes as he rode his first wave. Now he has felt the power of Surfing and has experienced first-hand the impact that it has on all of us.”
The schedule for Saturday’s competition is as follows (Pacific Standard Time):
8am-8:40am – 2 heats Women AS-1 Round 2
8:40am-9:20am – 2 heats AS-VI Round 2
9:20am-10:20am – 3 heats AS-2 Quarterfinals
10:20am-11:00am – 2 heats AS-5 Semifinals
11:00am-12:20pm – 4 heats AS-1 Quarterfinals
12:20pm-1:00pm – 2 heats AS-4 Semifinals
1:00pm-1:40pm – 2 heats AS-2 Semifinals
1:40pm-2:20pm – 2 heats AS-1 Semifinals