ISA Para Surfing Classification

ISA Para Surfing Classification

What is Para Surfing Classification?

Classification is a process where certified Para Surfing Classifiers assess the strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination of competitive adaptive surfers in order to group the athletes with similar impairments into one of the eight Para Surfing Sport Classes.

The classification goal is to accurately allocate the athlete into a proper surf class to ensure high competition and a more leveled playing field in each surf class.

The ISA Para Surfing Classifiers begin with establishing if an athlete has an underlining health condition which can lead to an IPC approved eligible impairment.

Next, the classifier panel will assess if the impairment(s) meets the Minimum Impairment Criteria.

ISA Para Surfing has 6 Physical Para Surfing Classes and 2 Visual Sport Classes.

2019 Para Surfing Sport Classes
Sport Class Description
Para Surf Stand 1 Any surfer who rides a wave in a standing position with an upper limb amputation, short stature, or congenital or impairment equivalent.
Para Surf Stand 2 Any surfer who rides a wave in a standing position with a below the knee amputation or congenital or impairment equivalent, short stature, or leg length difference.
Para Surf Stand 3 Any surfer who rides a wave in a standing position with an above the knee amputation or both lower extremity amputations or congenital or impairment equivalent.
Para Surf Kneel Any surfer who rides a wave in a kneeling position with an above the knee amputation or both lower limb amputations or congenital or impairment equivalent.
Para Surf Prone 1 Any surfer who rides the wave in a prone position that does NOT require assistance paddling into a wave and getting back on the board safely.
Para Surf Prone 2 Any surfer who rides the wave in a prone position that DOES require assistance in the water, paddling into a wave, and getting back on the board safely.
Para Surf Vision Impairment 1 Any surfer who rides a wave in a standing position with IBSA classification Level B1.
Para Surf Vision Impairment 2 Any surfer who rides a wave in a standing position with IBSA classification Level B2 and Level B3.

 

10 IPC* Approved Eligible Impairments
Physical Body Function Impairments (5) Physical Body Structure Impairments (3) Visual Impairments (3)
Impaired Passive Range of Motion Limb Deficiency IBSA Vision Impairment B1
Impaired Muscle Power Leg Length Difference IBSA Vision Impairment B2
Hypertonia Short Stature IBSA Vision Impairment B3
Ataxia
Athetosis
*IPC=International Paralympic Committee

Explanations of Terminology:

Approved underlying health conditions or medical diagnoses include, but are not limited to, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, short stature, congenital limb deficiencies, leg length differences, amputations, and vision impairments.

The 10 Paralympic eligible impairments are impaired passive range of motion, impaired muscle power, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision, and intellectual impairment. At this time, intellectual impairment is not used for Para Surfing.

There are several impairments, that although they do impair function, they are considered “Non-Eligible Impairments” for Para Surfing. Examples of non-eligible impairments include pain, hearing impairment, low muscle tone, hypermobility, joint instability, endurance, and poor respiratory functioning according to the International Paralympic Committee.

Each Para Surfing Surf Class has minimal impairment criteria for each eligible impairment. The minimal impairment criteria has been established based on the impairment being enough of an impairment that it affects the sport of surfing. For example, although amputated fingers are recognized as an impairment, missing fingers is not enough of an impairment to impact the sport of surfing. Refer to the “ISA Para Surfing Classification Rules and Regulations” published September 2019 for the listing of each minimal impairment criteria, eligible impairment, and description of each Para Surfing Class.

  • What is the Athlete Classification Process for ISA Para Surfing?

    Athletes who are interested in competing at national and international events must be classified into a Para Surfing Sport Class by a certified International ISA Para Surfing Classifier. Athletes must follow Steps 1-7 first and then they will be eligible for Step 8 which is to attend a classification assessment.

    Step 1: Download the Medical Documentation Form (MDF) and have your medical or healthcare provider fill out the front and back of the form along with their signature. The MDF is to be completed in English.

    Step 2: Upload the completed MDF form and the supporting medical documents (such as an x-ray) to the ISA Para Surfing website: http://isasurf.org/para-surfing-medical-diagnosis-form-mdf-upload-page/ or send via email to:  [email protected]

    Step 3: Upload an identification photo that clearly shows your face (no sunglasses or hats please).

    Step 4: Upload a photo of you surfing.

    Step 5: Upload a video of you surfing.

    Step 6: Upload a photo of the equipment you are using while surfing.

    Step 7: After the Head of Classification is satisfied with and approves your uploaded documents, you will be notified of your eligibility to be officially classified. Prepare yourself to come 1-2 days earlier than the dates of the next surf contest where there will be official ISA Para Surfing International Classifiers. Classification usually takes place 1-2 days prior to the start of an event.

    Step 8: Attend a Classification Assessment by a Para Surfing Certified Classifier*. You can expect a panel of 2 classifiers for national classification or 2 panels of 2 classifiers for international classification.

    *There are two levels of classification: National Classification and International Classification

    National Classification:

    You are eligible to compete at any national level competition.

    International Classification:

    You are eligible to compete at any international level competition.

    Once officially classified with a Confirmed status, an athlete does not need to be reclassified until there is a change of status in the athlete or a change in the rules and regulations, for example, a change in the Minimal Impairment Criteria.

    If the athlete is classified with a Review status, the athlete will need to be reclassified in the year that is stated, for example, if the athlete was classified with a Review Status 2021, that athlete will need to be reclassified in the year 2021.

  • What to Expect During the Physical Classification Process?

    Classification sessions typically are conducted 1-2 days before the start of a surf event and take about 20-30 minutes per classification session. Athletes are given an appointment that will provide date, time range, and location of classification in advance.

    All Athletes are permitted to have one person accompany them to their classification appointment. If an Athlete is under the age of 18 years old, another person is required to accompany the minor Athlete to the classification appointment. If the Athlete does not speak English, it is recommended that the person they bring can translate to the Athlete.

    At the Classification Appointment:

    1. The Athlete and accompanied person will check in at the classification table.The Athlete will be provided the ISA Para Surfing Classification Athlete Evaluation Form and will be asked to fill out page 1, page 2, and page 9 of the form.
    2. The Athlete will enter the classification room or tent and be greeting by 2 classifiers. Expect to be asked more questions about surfing, abilities, and equipment.
    3. Athletes are required to bring any equipment or prosthetic limbs or devices that they use while surfing.
    4. Participate in the testing. The classifiers may measure arm and leg strength, arm and leg flexibility, measure arm and leg lengths, reflexes, coordination tests and/or balance. It is a good idea to where loose clothing and not a wetsuit to the classification appointment.
    5. At the end of the physical assessment, the classifiers will allocate a surf class and either confirm or review the Para Surf Class status OR they may state an Athlete is not eligible (NE) to compete at this time.
    6. If the Athlete is requested for a water observation, the classifiers will schedule a water observation with the Athlete for later in the day or the next morning before the contest.
    7. Athletes will pay the one-time fee of $50 for their ISA Para Surfing Classification Process ($25) and their Classification Card ($25 – if the Athlete is given a confirmed or reviewed status for their sport class). This card will either be provided immediately, by the end of the surf contest, or at the next surf contest depending on the materials available. It is recommended that the Athlete carry their ISA Para Surfing Classification Card to all ISA events.
    8. If the allocated Para Surf Class and Status is confirmed, the Athlete does not need to be reclassified unless there is a change in their physical status or a change in the Para Surfing Classification rules and regulations. If the Athlete is allocated a Para Surf Class with a Review status, the athlete will need to be reclassified in the year that is stated, for example, if the athlete was classified with a Review Status 2021, that athlete will need to be reclassified in the year 2021.

    At all future ISA events, the Athlete needs to register for the contest online in their designated Para Surf class.

    If the ISA Para Surf Classification card is lost or missing, there is a $5 replacement fee.

    *Athletes given a Para Surf Class Confirmed Status at Para Surfing Classification during the US Open ASC in September 2019 do not need to reclassify. These Athletes can contact [email protected] to obtain their ISA Para Surfing Classification Card.

    What to Expect During the Visual Classification Process?

    Classification sessions typically are conducted 1-2 days before the start of a surf event and take about 15-20 minutes per classification session. Athletes are given an appointment that will provide date, time range, and location of classification in advance.

    All Athletes are permitted to have one person accompany them to their classification appointment. If an Athlete is under the age of 18 years old, another person is required to accompany the minor Athlete to the classification appointment. If the Athlete does not speak English, it is recommended that the person they bring can translate to the Athlete.

    1. The Athlete and accompanied person will check in at the classification table.
    2. The Athlete will be provided the ISA Para Surfing Classification Athlete Evaluation Form and will be asked to fill out page 1, page 2, and page 9 of the form.
    3. The Athlete will enter the classification room or tent and be greeting by 2 classifiers. One of the classifiers will be a Paralympic Trained Ophthalmologist or the Head Classifier will have the results of the professional review from a Paralympic Trained Ophthalmologist. Expect to be asked more questions about surfing, abilities, and guides.
    4. At the end of the visual assessment or discussion, the classifiers might allocate and confirm a sport class for the Athlete OR they may state an Athlete is not eligible (NE) to compete at this time.
    5. If the Athlete is requested for a water observation, the classifiers will schedule a water observation with the Athlete for later in the day or the next morning before the contest.
    6. When the classifiers have determined the status of the sport class then the Athlete will pay the one-time fee of $50 for their ISA Para Surfing Classification Process ($25) and Classification Card ($25). This card will either be provided right away, by the end of the surf contest, or at the next surf contest based on the materials available. It is recommended that the Athlete carry their ISA Para Surfing Classification Card to all ISA events.
    7. The allocated Para Surf Class and Status is confirmed and the Athlete does not need to be classified unless there is a change in their status. If the Athlete is allocated a Para Surf Class with a Review status, the athlete will need to be reclassified in the year that is stated, for example, if the athlete was classified with a Review Status 2021, that athlete will need to be reclassified in the year 2021.

    At all future ISA events, the Athlete needs to register for the contest online in their designated surf class. It is recommended that the Athlete carry their ISA Para Surfing Classification Card to all ISA events.
    If the ISA Para Surf Classification card is lost or missing, there is a $5 replacement fee.

  • How to become an ISA Para Surfing Classifier

    The International Surfing Association (ISA) is committed to establishing and maintaining a high professional and ethical standard for ISA Para Surfing Classifier Training that aligns with the International Paralympic Committee Classification Model Rules for Para Sports (IPC, 2017).

    The goal is for Para Surfing to have a Classification Panel comprised of officials who are responsible for conducting thorough athlete evaluations according to the classification code, international standards, and ethical practices and accurately allocate a surf class to the athletes.

    The steps to become an ISA Para Surfing Classifier follow the IPC Models of Best Practice International Standard for Classifier Personnel and Training (IPC, 2016).

    Professional Qualification Requirements

    Persons who are interested in becoming a classifier, must:

    1. Be a medical healthcare professional, such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or physician,
    2. Have extensive knowledge and experience with working with people who have neurological diagnoses such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, cerebral vascular accidents, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. In addition, the interested person must have experience with working with people with congenital limb deficiencies and amputations,
    3. Speak English, at least at a minimal level,
    4. NOT be connected to a national team (such as the therapist for the team) or be directly connected to a current competitive athlete (private therapist) as these relationships pose a direct conflict of interest, and
    5. Be a surfer or very familiar with the sport of surfing.

    If a person is interested and meets ALL five requirements listed above, then the interested person must submit the following three items to [email protected]

    1. Professional License
    2. Curriculum Vitae (Resume)
    3. Certification of Completion of the “IPC Introduction to Para Sport Online Learning Programme”. This online training course can be found at: https://www.ipc-academy.org

    The Head of Classification and Classification Panel will review the uploaded documents.

    If eligible, the interested person will be placed on the trainee schedule and will be provided dates and locations for upcoming National and International Classification Training Sessions.

    Any questions, please contact: [email protected]

    ISA Para Surfing Classifier Levels

    There are three levels of ISA Para Surfing Classifiers: Trainee Level, National Level, and International Level. All positions of ISA Para Surfing Classifiers are volunteer, non-paid positions. All expenses at the Trainee Level and National Level are paid for by the individual. At the International Level, some expenses may be offset by the nation requesting the classification.

    Trainee Level

    The person at the Trainee Level has met all four Professional Qualification Requirements and has submitted all three listed items: License, Curriculum Vitae, and Certificate of Completion, to ISA Para Surfing Classifications.

    The Trainee is waiting for the next scheduled classification training session.

    National Level

    The Classifier at the National Level has participated in a 3-4-day Classification Certification Training Course that includes successfully passing a written exam in English. The National Level Training Certification Course costs ~$150.

    The National Classifier is then qualified to classify athletes at national events with an International Classifier present. To maintain the National Level Certification, the National Classifier must participate in at least one classification session every two years.

    International Level

    The Classifier at the International Level has successfully completed the 3-4-day Classification Certification Training Course and completed the additional 2-3-day Practical Training Course in English and includes successfully passing a Classification Competency Exam. The International Level Training Certification Course costs an additional ~$150.

    The International Classifier is then qualified to classify athletes at international events with another International Classifier. To maintain the International Level Certification, the International Classifier must participate in at least one international classification session every two years.

    Any questions, please contact: [email protected]

A Welcome Letter from the Head of International Classification for Para Surfing:

Welcome to ISA Para Surfing Classification,

Thank you for trusting us to provide you with an excellent classification process at ISA Para Surfing events.

At ISA Para Surfing, it is our goal to provide you with the most accurate and evidence-based classification process possible. Each classifier is an expert in their field of occupational therapy or physical therapy, they have received and passed an international certification program for Para Surfing classification, and they are surfers themselves.

We believe each surfer is a unique individual with distinct abilities. Our team of classifiers will assess you and classify you into your best surf class to ensure we have the most optimal leveled playing field for all competitors.

I personally want you to have the best experience possible and I look forward to watching you compete at such an elite level.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mo Johnson, PhD, MS, OT/L, BCPR, C/NDT, IC

ISA Para Surfing Head of Classification

Dr. Maureen E. Johnson, PhD, MS, OT/L, BCPR, C/NDT

Head of International Classification for Para Surfing

Dr. Mo is an occupational therapist with Board-Certification in Physical Rehabilitation and an Assistant Professor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Diego, California. Dr. Mo earned her PhD in Education and post professional Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. In addition, Dr Mo is Certified in advanced Neuro-Developmental Treatment. Dr. Mo began has worked in a variety of settings to include Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, California; Scripps Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation in San Diego, California; Peace Corps, Paraguay in South America, and Tijuana, Mexico. She has 30 years of clinical experience working with people with neurological involvement such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and strokes with the focus of helping these individuals return to their daily occupations and lifestyles. Years of experience has taught Dr. Mo that the most important thing in life is that people are living their lives to the fullest.

While attending surf competitions for her daughters, Dr. Mo encountered and met several adaptive surfers and learned the true meaning of passion as she observed these athletes competing at such high skill levels despite their physical obstacles. Dr. Mo began volunteering to assist the athletes navigate the beach and ocean terrains. As the number of athletes increased, she started bringing her occupational therapy graduate and doctorate students to help volunteer as well.

At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, Dr. Mo teaches Anatomy Applied to Occupations, Patient/Client Care Management, and Assistive Technology. In the Assistive Technology course, Dr. Mo aligned the student community volunteer hours and course assistive technology project with adaptive surfing. From their volunteer experiences, the occupational therapy students have been inspired to create designs with 3D Printing for surfing technology, adapt surfboards, adapt wetsuits, adapt beach towels, adapt beach clothing, and one student is responsible for designing Access Trax which are portable mats to go over sand. All these versions of assistive technology were inspired by the adaptive surfers to help promote the independence of the athletes.

With her love for surfing and shared passion for advancing the sport of para surfing, she joined the Stoke for Life Foundation as Director of Classification for the US Open Adaptive Surfing Championship (ASC) and was instrumental in leading the structure for the surf classes at the US Open ASC. Dr. Mo used the success of this structure in collaboration with the ISA and the Adaptive Surfing Classification Review Committee to form the Para Surfing Sport Classes that are now in use.

Dr. Mo enjoys spending time with her husband and three children in, on, or under the ocean surfing, sailing and SCUBA diving. Surfing is a strong part of her family’s lifestyle. Many of her family’s best moments and connections are in the water together.

As ISA Para Surfing Head of Classification, Dr. Mo is honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve the international competitive para surfing community. For the past three years, she has gained experience and researched knowledge on Paralympic Classification for the development and progression of para surfing within the Paralympic movement. Dr. Mo believes each surfer is a unique individual with distinct abilities. Dr. Mo’s primary purpose is to ensure each surfer is classified professionally and accurately so surf contests have fair and equitable competition. She is currently conducting four separate research studies to investigate the efficacy of the Para Surfing Sport Classes.

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