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The International Surfing Association (ISA) has expressed its appreciation and gratification on being honored with A Special Recognition Award at the annual Waterman’s Awards, hosted by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) in Laguna Beach this weekend.

Fernando Aguerre Biarritz

ISA President Fernando Aguerre displays the sand of 47 nations at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The prize, to be presented to ISA President Fernando Aguerre, will be awarded by the world’s foremost gathering of surfing industry leaders for the “unwavering and successful efforts in getting Surfing included in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.”

At the 129th IOC Session during Rio 2016, the announcement was made that Surfing would be included on the Olympic Programme for Tokyo 2020 after decades of hard work and dedication from the ISA and its president. SIMA will honour this work, as well as President Fernando Aguerre for “tirelessly spearheading” the Olympic Surfing movement.

At the time, President Aguerre hailed the Olympic announcement as a “game-changing moment for Surfing”. The sport continues to enjoy unprecedented growth and participation, recently staging its most successful World Surfing Games to date. The 2017 edition this past May featured 245 athletes from a record-breaking 47 nations taking part in eight days of elite competition in Biarritz, France.

Joining ISA President Fernando Aguerre in receiving awards this year are pro surfer Bethany Hamilton (Waterman of the Year), surf industry legend Herbie Fletcher (Lifetime Achievement) and Parley For The Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch (Environmentalist of the Year).

Delegates from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 will be in attendance for the awards, which brings together the top leaders from throughout the surfing and sports industry.

Paul Naude, SIMA Environmental Fund President and CEO of VISSLA, said:

“Having Surfing included in the Olympics is a game-changing moment for the sport, culture and lifestyle. The Tokyo 2020 Games will give Surfing a global platform and allow the world to see not only the incredible athletic performance of the sport, but also our amazing culture, values, style and passion.

“Fernando has worked tirelessly and with his trademark passion for over 20 years for the cause of Olympic surfing.  His and the ISA’s efforts have been against no small odds and often in the face of skepticism.  We want to salute his leadership and vision in making Olympic surfing a reality.”

Fernando Aguerre, ISA President, said:

“It is an honour for me to receive this award. Duke Kahanamoku’s dream has now been achieved.  We’ve come a long way since the ISA was founded in 1964, during the inaugural World Surfing Championship in Australia.

“I want to thank SIMA and everyone involved in this award for honouring the ISA and I’d like to share this award with everyone who helped me and the ISA in making this Olympic dream a reality. The Surfing community came together to support this historic common cause, and for that I will be eternally grateful. The Surf and Beach Festival to be held at Tokyo 2020, will allow us to share our values, lifestyle and culture with billions around the world. What a great way to spread surfing’s Aloha in an unprecedented way.”

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