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Panama Welcomes the Future of Surfing with the ISA

by Brody on April 14, 2012

The International Surfing Association works towards creating a better future through surfing and is very progressive in using surfing as a tool to stimulate economies in developing nations. Today kicks off the Openining Ceremony for the Dakine ISA World Junior Championship, presented by Billabong, which includes a Parade of Nations and the Sands of the World Ceremony. Competition will begin on the morning of the 15th.

The Opening Ceremony and the competition can be viewed live at

The future of surfing has come to Panama. The seven-person panel, which included ISA President Fernando Aguerre (back row, third from left) and Ernesto Orillac, Vice Minister of the Panamanian Tourism Authority (right of Aguerre), and the recently announced Panamanian Team (red shirts) are all smiles as the event quickly approaches. Photo: ISA/Rommel Gonzalez

With the best young surfers set to begin competition in two days time, the press conference for the DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong centered around this future generation of surfing, and more specifically, the future of surfing in Panama.

This event marks the third time that Panama Tourism and the ISA have partnered to host an ISA World Championship event. In the short time since that first event, the 2010 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, the sport of surfing and the lifestyle it presents has found a foothold in the local beach scene, the economy and the hearts of the Panamanian people.

“This meeting marks the third ISA World Championship in Panama, but this event is really special because it brings together the future of surfing,” said Fernando Aguerre, the President of the ISA. “At this event we’re gathering 30 countries, and because of them and because of our gracious hosts in Panama, through the unity of surfing and sport, right at this moment, the world is a better place.”

ISA past and present came together: Fernando Aguerre with surf legend Tom Curren (far right), who was the first ISA Junior Gold Medalist in 1980. His sons, Frank and Pat, surf for Team Panama, which is coached by Gary Saavedra (middle), a 13-time National Champion. Photo: ISA/Rommel Gonzalez

More than 60 local and international media, alongside various representatives from the nations in the event, gathered at Casa de Campo in Pedasi for the press conference. At the beginning of the press conference, Sonia “Pucha” Garcia introduced the recently announced Panamanian team, who were in attendance. Also in attendance was three-time ASP World Champion Tom Curren, who won the first ISA Juniors Gold Medal in 1980. Pat and Frank, the sons of Curren and his Panamanian wife, Makeira, compete for Team Panama.

The ISA World Juniors brings together the best under-18 surfers from around the world to compete for individual and team glory. Nearly 300 surfers will be competing in three divisions (Boys Under-18, Boys Under-16, and Girls Under-18) over the course of eight days of competition at Playa Venao, a beach-break located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country.

The ISA also has an amazing Scholarship program that gives youth the opportunity to pursue their dreams of surfing and education. Ferdando Aguierre describes the program…

“One of our slogans is for a better surfing future, and the scholarship program is one of many elements that prove that we work towards that,” ISA President Aguerre said. “Juninho is a perfect example that it’s possible to have a better surfing future. Six years ago when he was 11 he won the first scholarship while surfing on borrowed boards and now he’s an elite-level surfer and an ISA medalist, and we’re proud of that.”

To read the full press release click HERE and to check out more inspirational work from the ISA click HERE.

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