From July 4-15 the Cape Verde Surfing Federation, with the support of Olympic Solidarity, hosted a series of ISA Courses including ISA Surf Level 1, ISA/ILS Water Safety, and ISA Judging.
ISA Course Presenter from the UK, Stuart Parry, presented both the ISA Surf Level 1 and water safety courses, teaching surfers in Cape Verde essential rescue and CPR techniques that have increased the overall safety of the beaches across the country. Twenty-two surf coaches from across the country took part in the courses and were able to put their practical skill to use by providing surf lessons to local youth.
Following the ISA Coaching Courses in Cape Verde, ISA Judging expert Tiago Matos from Portugal delivered the judging course and assisted with the judging of a National Surf Competition hosted by the Cape Verde Surfing Federation.
Following the success of the Olympic Solidarity supported courses held in Cape Verde, Iran organized courses of their own from July 19-29.
Held in Chabahar, 30 Iranians traveled from all around the country to participate in the first Olympic Solidarity-backed courses held in the Asian nation. Run by ISA Course Presenter from the UK, Andy Joyce, the initiatives provided a great opportunity for the I.R. Iran Surfing Association to improve standards in surf coaching and judging as well as to create a foundation for the sport to spread to all corners of the country.
Olympic Inclusion of Surfing Leads to Increased Coaching Development and Ocean Safety in Panama.
From April 14-17, the Panama Surfing Association (APS) hosted a series of ISA courses in Playa Venao, Panama with the support of Olympic Solidarity and the Panamanian Olympic Committee. The courses marked a milestone for the development of Surfing in the region, and the first Olympic Solidarity backed courses to be held in the country.
The ISA courses were organized with the goal of elevating the standard of the country’s surf instructors, creating a structure for local surf schools to thrive, developing a free surf program for low-income children, and promoting ocean safety with aims to establish a beach safety and lifeguard program for Panama’s coastline in the future.
ISA Course Presenter Ernesto Alvarez from Puerto Rico, along with the support of United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) instructor Jose Landruá, presented the four courses over the five-day period, including an ISA Surf Level 1 and an ISA/ILS Water Safety Course supported by Olympic Solidarity as well as a SUP Surfing and Flat Water SUP courses supported by the ISA and Panama Surfing Association.
The courses were attended by 21 Panamanians, many of whom are current and past national champions in their respective disciplines. A key outcome of the program was uniting Panama’s top athletes and surf coaches together to professionalize the standard of coaching in the country.
The ISA/ILS International Surf and SUP Instructor Aquatic Rescue and Safety Course was of particular importance due to the lack of an existing national lifeguard service in the country. This course, which is a result of a key partnership between the ISA and the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), laid a foundation for ocean safety in Panama, providing the participating surfers with an opportunity to play a role in its future development. The surfers were equipped with essential CPR, First Aid, and Ocean Rescue techniques to increase awareness and drowning prevention in the country.
In addition to the surf-related Olympic Solidarity courses, the Panama Surfing Association took advantage of the opportunity to train five StandUp Paddle (SUP) Instructors to the ISA standard to keep up with the massive growth of SUP in Panama. Under APS leadership, the SUP community in Panama is approaching 500 participants, has a successful national circuit, and now features internationally trained instructors.
The ISA Surf Level 1 and Surf Level 2 courses that took place in Fiji were done in collaboration with the Fiji Surfing Association and the Fijian National Olympic Committee. The support from Olympic Solidarity allowed the courses to open to surf coaches from countries throughout the Oceania region and the course was an incredible opportunity to improve the standard of surf coaching in throughout the region and to give these coaches access to a higher level of surf coaching training and methodology.
The courses took place on Malolo Island, just a short distance from the world-class Fijian reefbreaks of Cloudbreak and Restaurants, providing the coaches with world-class waves to surf and practice the delivery of their coaching lessons. Six of the participating surf coaches came from Fiji, three from Vanuatu, and three from Samoa, with the expert instruction of ISA Course Presenter from New Zealand, Lee Ryan.
The ISA plans to build on the success of this first Olympic Solidarity course in Fiji, with plans in the near future to hold courses in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. The ISA aims to strengthen its collaboration with Olympic Solidarity, its National Federations, and their corresponding National Olympic Committees across all five continents to develop the sport in traditional and non-traditional Surfing nations that lack adequate funding.