By Amelia Fisher-Starzynski, La Jolla, California, July 23, 2019: The world’s top surfers from the American continent are set to make their debut in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing and SUP racing will feature on the Sports Programme for the first time.
Led by the International Surfing Association (ISA) and its President, Fernando Aguerre, the inclusion of Surfing and SUP in the 2019 Pan Am Games a key part of the ISA’s plan for inclusion of Surfing in the Olympic Games, which approved in 2016 in Rio, for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
All the surfing events portion of the Pan Am Games will run from July 29 to August 4 at the renowned break of Punta Rocas, south of Lima’s city center.
The event will serve as a qualifier for Tokyo 2020, with the top eligible man and woman of the shortboard division earning slots in Surfing’s Olympic debut.
Given that the Pan Am Games are the third priority in Surfing’s Olympic qualification system, the surfers that qualify for Tokyo 2020 will not be confirmed until the 2020 World Surfing Games and 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour conclude.
Many of the top talents of the Americas have confirmed their participation in Lima 2019, which will feature over 6,500 athletes from 41 countries in one of the largest gatherings of Olympic and non-Olympic sports outside the Olympic Games.
Argentina’s Santiago Muñiz, Mexico’s Jhony Corzo, and Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle are the past ISA World Surfing Games Gold Medalists that will look to earn the coveted slot for Tokyo 2020.
The longboard competition will feature the local Peruvian and recently crowned ISA Gold Medalist Benoit Clemente on the men’s side, with Brazil’s two-time ISA Medalist Chloe Calmon entering as the top seed for the women.
The SUP competition will also feature the sport’s top names in what will be the biggest milestone for the discipline to date.
Brazil will field a strong team for the SUP surfing competition, featuring ISA Gold Medalists in the men’s and women’s events.
Luiz Diniz, the two-time, reigning ISA World Champion will be joined by the 2013 ISA World Champion Nicole Pacelli.
Team USA’s star-studded talent will lead the charge for the SUP racing discipline.
ISA Gold Medalists Candice Appleby and Connor Baxter have qualified, with Appleby double qualifying in both the SUP surfing and racing competitions.
Canada’s Lina Augaitis, a two-time ISA Gold Medalist in her own right, has also qualified and will create steep competition for Appleby in the SUP racing discipline.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“The ISA is proud to see Surfing make its highest profile appearance yet in the Olympic Movement (Pan Am Games Debut).
Not only will fans around the world see the culture, energy and high-performance of surfing, but they also will treat with the inclusion of the surfing disciplines of StandUp Paddle surfing and racing, which will provide a new, youthful outlook to the event.
“The ISA led the charge for the inclusion of Surfing and SUP in the 2019 Pan Am Games, as part of our plan for inclusion in the Olympic Games.
“Pan Am inclusion is a stepping stone, and surely indicative of the importance, popularity and value of Surfing both within the Olympic Movement and in our oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world.”
The preliminary schedule is as follows:
July 29 – Shortboard, longboard
30 – Shortboard
31 – Shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing
August 1 – Shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing,
2 – Shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing
3 – Shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing
4 – SUP racing, shortboard, longboard, SUP surfing. —- Photo: ISA / Ben Reed