Belgium and Saudi Arabia participate for the first time, joining 28 other national teams
Les Sables d’Olonne, France – September 24, 2023
The streets of the picturesque town of Les Sables d’Olonne in France were filled with thousands of people to welcome the 2023 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championship.
The Parade of Nations kicked off proceedings, featuring 200 athletes, representing 30 national teams, including Belgium and Saudi Arabia for their very first WSUPPC. The teams flew their flags high, as they marched through the city and along the waterfront with loud cheers ringing out, led by a local batucada ensemble and backed up by the Atomic Brass Band.
Spectators lined the streets to welcome the athletes to the Opening Ceremony stage, where the ISA’s signature Sands of the World tradition took place. A flag-bearer and sand-pourer representing each national team poured sand from their local beach into a single container, a symbol of the peaceful gathering of the nations through sport.
2019 ISA SUP Surfing Gold Medalist Justine Dupont (FRA) represented each of the surfers gathered in swearing an oath of good sportsmanship alongside ISA Judge Andreia Silva, before a beautiful Dance Tahitienne cultural performance was provided by Mave Mai.
Dignitaries present included Président Conseil Départemental de la Vendée Alain Lebœuf, Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne Yannick Moreau, President of the Local Organising Committee Pascal Caduc, ISA Vice President Jean-Luc Arassus, and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo.