Olympic Solidarity Supported ISA Symposium Elevates Surf Coaching in Costa Rica

September 15th, 2021
Local surfers reap the benefits of the ISA Coaching Symposium, gaining expert instruction from both ISA Course Presenters and national surf coaches. Photo: ISA / Naslo Bustamante


16 Costa Rican surf coaches benefit from expertise of ISA Course Presenters

The International Surfing Association (ISA) celebrates the success of the first ISA Coaching Symposium held in Costa Rica August 30 – September 1.

Held in collaboration with the Costa Rican Surfing Federation and Costa Rican Olympic Committee with the support of Olympic Solidarity, 16 national surf coaches participated to receive both theoretical and practical training from 5 ISA Course Presenters in the Americas region. The presenters included Costa Rica’s Gustavo Corrales, El Salvador’s Marcello Castellanos, Canada’s Shandy Kariatsumari, Jamaica’s Icah Wilmot, and Brazil’s Alexandre Zeni.

Costa Rica has proven to be a breeding ground for surfing talent, exemplified by the two surfers that they sent to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (Brisa Hennessy and Leilani McGonagle). The aim of the course was to further develop and improve the coaching standards and best practices among Costa Rican coaches.

The content of the symposium included modules such as long-term athlete development, skills in rescue environments, mental preparation, women’s coaching and being coached, biomechanics of surf foundation, judging criteria, and much more. The overall focus was centered around a holistic approach to surf coaching — not just making better athletes, but also better human beings.

ISA Course Presenters and Costa Rican surf coaches celebrate a successful symposium. Photo: ISA / Naslo Bustamante

The practical segment of the symposium benefitted the youth of the local community, as the coaches put their new learnings into use by coaching 15 young, underprivileged surfers from the area. The youth were stoked to receive coaching from some of the nation’s top coaches and participate in a tag-team surf competition to conclude the day.

In addition, the ISA Course Presenters got together after the symposium to review standards and opportunities for enhancing the global ISA Coaching and Instructing Program. They used the time to produce coaching content and resources for the benefit of the ISA’s worldwide coaching community.

Alexander Zamora Gómez, President of the Costa Rican Olympic Committee, attended the course to show his support and commitment to further growing surfing in the country. Gómez presented each participant with a certificate of participation from the National Olympic Committee.

Marcello Castellanos (ESA) led a biomechanics segment where instructors put theory to the test with skateboards on land. Photo: ISA / Naslo Bustamante

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“Coaching is a cornerstone of the ISA’s mission and this highly successful Symposium reflects our ongoing commitment to the development of the sport in Costa Rica and beyond. We are always striving to further develop and professionalize the sport, building a strong foundation with highly trained coaches. These 16 coaches have gained invaluable knowledge that they can now apply to their athletes, creating a strong base for the future generation of Costa Rican surfers to grow.

“The panel of five course presenters, all coming from five different countries across the continent, illustrates the breadth and reach of surfing in this region. We have a strong network of members, coaches, and surfers around the globe, and we’ve experienced considerable growth since the sport’s Olympic inclusion. It’s great to see surfers from different corners of the world combining their knowledge to further our mission to make a better world through surfing.”

ISA Course Presenter Shandy Kariatsumari instructs a student on proper technique before heading out in the water. Photo: ISA / Naslo Bustamante

ISA Course Presenter Gustavo Corrales (CRC) said:

“The ISA Coaching Symposium was a great way to honor the surf coaches that have supported the ISA Coaching and Instructing Program. This program opened up their minds with key knowledge and practices that they will be able to apply in their future coaching endeavors. The Costa Rican Surfing Federation, National Olympic Committee, and all who were involved were very pleased and proud to be a part of this prestigious program. The impact of this will transcend boundaries by making these coaches not only better professionals, but also better people who can spread the knowledge gained to other athletes and nations.”

Icah Wilmot (JAM) prepares to take a few of the local surfers out into the water. Photo: ISA / Naslo Bustamante

ISA Course Presenter Marcelo Castellanos (ESA) said:

“I am very honored to have been a part of this ISA Coaching Symposium and have the opportunity to learn and share ideas. The highlight for me was the important role that we have as coaches — we can positively impact people’s lives. I was pleased to share some of the key tools we can use as coaches to have a holistic approach and share Surfing as a sport with a solid foundation and structure.”

ISA Course Presenter Shandy Kariatsumari (CAN) said:

“Going to Costa Rica for the ISA Coaching Symposium left me with rich, fun, memorable and insightful experiences to continue leading a coaching path for Canada. It was an incredible opportunity to bring elite and inspiring people together to share skills, passion, and technique.”



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