World Premiere of Olympic Surfing documentary “The Impossible Wave” held in California as ISA World Surfing Games get underway

September 18th, 2022

Star surfers, fans and global sports officials gather for world premiere featuring ISA President Fernando Aguerre’s quest for Olympic surfing

Huntington Beach, California: 18 September 2022

The world premiere of “The Impossible Wave” was held yesterday with surf stars, fans and global sports officials attending the exclusive film screening in Huntington Beach, California.

The 40-minute documentary tells the powerful story of International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre’s personal quest to make his beloved passion, surfing, become an Olympic sport.

Upon arrival, the guests at the screening were draped in traditional Hawaiian leis to celebrate the history and culture of surfing. Those present included Quiksilver USA Founder and Former CEO Bob McKnight, and World Champions Peter Townend, Barton Lynch and Debbie Beacham.

Produced and directed by Jay and Jessica Johnson, “The Impossible Wave” tells the story of Fernando’s life.

Aguerre was first elected President of the ISA in 1994.

Over the course of the next 20-plus years, he devoted an exceptional amount of time, finances, and, most importantly, waves, to accomplish his greatest achievement. He secured a place for surfing in the biggest sports event in the world, the Olympic Games.

But his journey was not a simple or easy one. As Fernando says in the movie, “My persistence and my resilience were my engine, but my fuel I think was the support of all people. Even people that thought I was a lunatic, that this was a lunacy. Which I believed, many times, that it was a lunacy.”

Fernando Aguerre with Bob McKnight and Debbi Beacham. Photo: ISA / Pablo Franco

Supported by his family and dedicated ISA staff, Fernando campaigned relentlessly for many years. A great relationship with the Olympic world evolved as Fernando’s message and unorthodox dress code attracted the attention of international sports leaders. And so, at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 the International Olympic Committee unanimously voted for surfing to be included at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Surfing continues to enjoy Olympic success having been voted in for the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games as well, becoming a permanent sport in the Olympic Games.

Fernando’s tale of passionate perseverance has captured imaginations around the world and “The Impossible Wave” certainly stirred the emotions of those in attendance at the premiere. A standing ovation followed Fernando’s tearful declaration, “It’s been an emotional wave.”

The film will also inspire fans here at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games – staged in Huntington Beach from 17-24 September.

247 athletes from 51 nations will compete in the Games for the coveted Team Gold medals, surpassing the previous record in 2019. Current Team World Champions, Team France, are back to defend their title and past ISA World Surfing Games Champions include Italo Ferreira (BRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jordy Smith (RSA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sofía Mulánovich (PER), and CJ Hobgood (USA).

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:

“26 years ago, I was here in Huntington Beach at the first ever World Surfing Games and I was committing to Olympic surfing but I didn’t even know how to get there. I didn’t know if it was a process, I didn’t understand anything. I think sometimes ignorance could be a blessing…”

“You do something that you feel like you were supposed to do and suddenly you’re in the middle of people thinking that you did it alone. Alone we’re nothing. Nobody achieves anything alone.”

“This movie is about believing that everything is possible, because it is if you believe.”

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