California, US, 25 July 2014
The International Surfing Association (ISA) announced today two new Member Federations, Algeria and Madagascar, have become the 85th and 86th countries to gain full Membership taking the number of ISA Members in Africa to 14 and further driving the expansion of the sport on this important continent.
A sport imbued with youthful values and energy, Surfing is also a 22 billion dollar business that revolves around the youth demographic and sport lifestyle. With Africa’s extraordinary and expansive coastlines and the ease of access to waves, the ISA has made the expansion of the sport in Africa a major priority in order to grow Surfing and also to help stimulate local economies and assist with social development.
The ISA’s global expansion, with a goal of reaching 100 Members during 2015, is part of an overall strategy to demonstrate the sport’s universality and appeal with the ultimate objective of inclusion in the Olympic Programme.
The Algerian surf scene is just emerging but the country offers over 1,100 miles of stunning Mediterranean coastline, much of which is still unexplored by surfers. By joining the ISA, Algeria has put itself firmly on the Surfing map and it is fast becoming a must visit destination for Surfers around the world. The Djazair Surf Club, which was founded in 1999, has also been working hard to grow the local Surfing community.
Madagascar is perhaps one of the world’s best kept Surfing secrets. Despite being the fourth largest island in the world with a wealth of great surf breaks it has remained largely untouched by the Surfing community. That is expected to change under the ISA’s guidance with sustainable development initiatives leading to increased job creation, a boost in the tourism industry and the introduction of youth mentoring schemes and community health programmes.
Despite many miles of untapped coastlines, parts of Africa do have a rich Surfing tradition. South Africa has been a Surfing stronghold for many years and in addition to the many National Championships held on a yearly basis, South Africa was the first African nation to host the ISA World Championships with the edition in East London in 1978. The ISA since returned to Durban in 2002 and 2003 for the ISA World Surfing Games and the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship respectively.
In recent years, National Championships have also been held in Liberia, Ghana, Senegal, The Ivory Coast and Sao Tome and Principe amongst other nations and Sierra Leone will host its first grassroots invitational event in October this year.
Djazair Surf Club Founder and President, B. Amine, said:
“We are very excited to join the ISA. This is a big moment in the Algerian history and an amazing opportunity for us to attract a worldwide audience. We are excited to grow our club, our own surfing potential, and help more Surfers from all over the globe to explore our amazing waves – allowing for more surf tourism and the sharing of cultures.”
President of the Madagascar Yachting, Rowing, Canoeing, and Surfing Squadron Federation, Brice Jacobson Andrianirina, said:
“Becoming a member of the ISAprovides us with a great opportunity toincrease participation amongst young people in our country while providing recognised training schools and ISA certified instructors to improve performance levels. Alongside the boost in grassroots activity, this is also an opportunity for us to build a bridge between sport and the economy by increasing tourism levels in Madagascar. Our aim is to build an international Surfing hub that provides a link to the rest of the world.”
Fernando Aguerre, ISA President, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Algeria and Madagascar as full member nations of the ISA and our successful expansion into new markets shows the true universality of Surfing. Our growth must continue as we step up our plans for inclusion in the Olympic Games – during 2015 we aim to have more than 100 Member Federations and by 2020 we want to have 50 million people Surfing worldwide.”
“With the Agenda 2020 debate ongoing and the new, state-of-the art wave technology that is set to revolutionise our sport, we believe that now is the right time to spread our love of Surfing to all corners of the globe making our sport accessible to everyone regardless of their location or background.”