Para Surfing Takes Giant Step Toward Paralympic Inclusion
Para surfing has taken a major step towards competing on the world’s largest adaptive sporting stage – the Paralympic Games!
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board submitted 22 sports for final approval by the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee. Surfing was submitted alongside Para climbing for further consideration for the LA28 Paralympic Games, two sports which have never been featured before. A final decision will be announced by the IPC before the end of 2023.
Multi-medal Para surfing champion and Team USA Captain, Christiaan “Otter” Bailey, expressed excitement about the progress saying, “This is an absolutely massive step for our world adaptive surfing movement.
Christiaan “Otter” Bailey, training on EpicSurf
Currently, the highest level of adaptive surfing competition is the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Para Surfing Championships, that began in 2015. In December 2022, the annual competition was hosted by AMPSurf and held at Pismo Beach, CA, attracting a record-breaking 181 top para surf athletes from 28 countries.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, shared his vision for the potential inclusion of Para surfing in LA28, saying, “This has opened up unlimited opportunities for universal access to the sport and to spread surfing’s therapeutic and life-changing benefits with the world.”
ISA Para Surfing World Championships Opening Ceremony 2022
Para surfing has the potential to inspire new athletes, increase awareness, and change perceptions about differing abilities and sports participation around the globe. Shortboard surfing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games and will again be on the program at Paris 2024, reinforcing the long-term goal to be part of the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
As the popularity of surfing continues to expand globally, the quest for waves will drive demand and availability of inland surfing for years to come. At Aquatic Development Group, this narrative set the tone for commercializing our newest wave technology, EpicSurf – a deep-water, stationary wave for surfing and other wave-riding recreation in a compact footprint. From design to commercialization, our vision was to create an authentic surfing experience to be enjoyed by ALL abilities.