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Hyuga, Japan, September 23, 2017 – A record-breaking 41 countries officially inaugurated the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Hyuga, Japan on Saturday afternoon.

306 of the world’s best junior surfers hailing from all continents of the globe paraded with their teams through the heart of Hyuga for the event’s Opening Ceremony.  The Ceremony also featured the ISA’s signature Sands of the World Ceremony in which the young athletes pour sands from their local beaches into a clear container as a symbol of unity and peace amongst the nations.

The Ceremony marked the opening of competition which is set to get underway on Sunday morning at Okuragahama Beach.

Various local and regional dignitaries were in attendance at the event, including ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, the Mayor of Hyuga, Kohei Toya, the Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, Shunji Kono, the President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Atsushi Sakai and the Chief Operating Officer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Yukihiko Nunomura.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, addressed the international competitors at the Opening Ceremony.

“Welcome to all teams coming from all corners of the world to the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in the beautiful city of Hyuga. I want to welcome some special teams competing for the first time in the event’s history: Channel Islands, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Fiji, and our newest and 103rd Member Nation, Samoa.

“This is the largest junior surfing competition in the world, and the only one where you compete not for money, but for the honor of representing your countries.

“Only four of you will go home with medals, but you all are winners for representing your country.

“I want to send our thoughts to our friends in Mexico and the Caribbean that have been affected by recent natural disasters, and to one of our own who competed in this event a year ago, Zander Venezia from Barbados, who recently departed this world while surfing a beautiful wave.

“Thank you to Vissla and the organizers of the event for making this all possible, and I’d like to give a special thank you to the Miyazaki prefecture for opening their arms to Surfing.

“For the first time ever Surfing is an Olympic sport and in less than three years from now we will be surfing the Olympic wave in Tokyo.”

The festivities kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the Parade of Nations as each National Team marched through the town of Hyuga echoing cheers of national pride. Thousands of local spectators showed to welcome the visiting delegations and experience electric, youthful energy vibrating through the city.

Upon arriving to the Opening Ceremony stage the Japanese National Anthem greeted the international competitors.

A traditional Japanese “Hyottoko” dance followed, giving the athletes a taste of traditional Japanese culture.

Speaking to the visiting National Surfing Teams, the Mayor of Hyuga, Kohei Toya said.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the International Surfing Association for choosing Hyuga as the host city of this World Championship.

“Surfing has been added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and I have no doubt that the participating athletes here aspire to become the Olympians.

“I wish you all to put on your best performance in Okuragahama beach, which is one of the best surf spots in Japan.

“The citizens of Hyuga welcome all of you to our coastal city. Please enjoy your stay with our tourist attractions, rich nature, great food, and traditional culture.”

The dual-podium format competition will start on Sunday morning at Okuragahama Beach in Hyuga with the Boys U-18 and U-16 Divisions.

The official Surfline forecast is calling for an increasing swell to provide waves in the 2-4 foot range with light wind throughout the day.

The event will be streamed live on September 23 – October 1.

The schedule for Sunday’s competition is as follows*:

Podium 1

  • 7:00am-5:00pm – 30 heats Boys U-18 Main Event Round 1

Podium 2

  • 7:00am-5:00pm – 30 heats Boys U-16 Main Event Round 1

*All times in Japan Standard Time, UTC +9:00.

The full event schedule will be as follows:

September 24 – October 1: Competition at Okuragahama Beach
October 1:  Closing Ceremony, Okuragahama Beach

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