La Jolla, California, Dec 4, 2017: After four historic days of Adaptive Surfing that pushed the boundaries of the sport, Team Brazil crowned World Champion for the second consecutive year at the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship presented by Vissla and the City of San Diego.
Led by the Gold Medal performance of Alcino ‘Pirata’ Neto in the AS-2 Division, Brazil was able to hold off Silver Medal Australia by 498 points. Team USA finished with the Bronze Medal and Team Chile with the Copper.
“This Team Gold Medal will inspire so many others to get into the sport in Brazil and around the world,” said Neto. “This was my aim since I started promoting the sport with the ISA over 20 years ago. This Gold Medal is not only for me, but for everyone who participated this week. Never in my life did I think this event would become a reality and grow so much, let alone win the Gold Medal.”
The fourth and final day of competition at La Jolla Shores beach in California was highlighted by multiple historic moments including the crowning of eleven World Champions, Adi Klang earning the first-ever ISA Gold Medal for Israel, the first Women Adaptive Surfing World Champions being crowned, Bruno Hansen from Denmark, continuing his streak of dominance in the AS-4 Division, earning a Gold Medal for the third consecutive year.
Adi Klang let his emotions spill out upon discovering that he was crowned World Champion:
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. My original goal was to earn a medal, and I realized when I qualified for the Final that my goal was accomplished, so I thought “Why not go for the Gold?” I gave a fight till the end and ended up winning the Gold.
“I am 50 years old, so being on this podium has made me feel great. This has given me confidence and made me realize that I can still compete with young surfers.”
Hawaii’s Ann Yoshida (AS-4) and Ava Heller (AS-5), USA’s Alana Nichols (AS-3) andDani Burt (AS-2), and Japan’s Kazune Uchida (AS-1) wrote their names in the history books and earned the first ever individual Adaptive Women’s Gold Medalists.
“I don’t know how my life turned out this way, but I think the timing couldn’t be more fortunate for me to win the first-ever waveski division,” said Alana Nichols. “I am in awe of how far we’ve come and I am so proud of the women that were out there today. It takes a lot of courage to paddle out on a waveski.
“I hope the women adaptive surfing movement grows exponentially from here. Getting women divisions in the World Championship is a huge first step and next hopefully we get into the Paralympics. After that, we will have a foundation to work from to spread the love.
“The ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is where Adaptive Surfing took off. Once we get to the Paralympics we will look back on these early days with the ISA and Stance as the beginning. We are clearing the jungle and the next generation will pave the path.”
Entering the competition, Denmark’s Bruno Hansen was one of three two-time defending World Champions along with Brazil’s Fellipe Lima and Australia’s Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart. Hansen emerged victorious through a hard-fought AS-4 Final and continued his streak of dominance in Adaptive Surfing.
“It hasn’t hit home yet,” said Bruno Hansen. “I haven’t landed yet. Once the Gold Medal is around my neck it will be a bit more real.
“It was an amazing event with so many more competitors and so many more people. We all come together once a year and we are all friends on land, but there is a fierce rivalry in the water.
“These last few years we were just trying to find our place in the sport, but now I think we know where we stand and the competition truly starts between us all.”
After the end of competition, the Closing Ceremony took place with ISA President Fernando Aguerre and Stance Co-Founder and President, John Wilson, presenting the medals.
John Wilson said:
“Thank you everybody, the competitors, the judges, the volunteers. I love the competitive spirit that I witnessed in the water, with everyone trying to do their best, and compete at the highest level.
I also love the sense of community that I saw on the beach among all the countries this week. It makes it really clear to me that we are part of movement. Thank you to the athletes for competing hard and inspiring us. Here’s to 2018. We will see you next year!”
ISA President Fernando Aguerre addressed the international crowd at the Closing Ceremony.
“What a week! Thank you to the athletes and supporters that made this all possible, without you there is no World Championship. I would also like to thank our sponsors and friends at Stance, as well as our Presenting sponsors Vissla and the City of San Diego.
“I hope that you all go home and tell stories because we made history this week in La Jolla at the biggest edition of the event to date. We saw the first Women’s Divisions ever take to the water and earn the first Gold Medals in the sport.
“Some of you will get medals, some of you will not, but remember all of you are champions. Don’t forget it. Remember what you accomplished this week and be proud that you are part of the Adaptive Surfing movement.”
1 (Gold) – Brazil
2 (Silver) – Australia
3 (Bronze) – USA
4 (Copper) – Chile
5 – Hawaii
6 – South Africa
7 – Costa Rica
8 – France
9 – Japan
10 – Italy. —- Photo: ISA / Sean Evans
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