Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
Friday, July 13, 2012
Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, Nicaragua
For the first time since 1994, a world championship is set to commence in Nicaragua: the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. During the official press conference at the Hilton Princess in Managua on Friday morning – one day prior to the Opening Ceremony – Mario Salinas, the country’s Minister of Tourism, expressed his enthusiasm for what the event will mean to the country now and into the future.
“We have discovered the potential that this country holds for this sport and its tourism. We have studied and we know now that our waves are perfect, some of the best in the world, which means that we have an amazing future in surfing,” Salinas said. “Our growth in tourism has been really big in the last few years, and now with this event and with the sport’s tourism potential, we’re confident that we’re going to have significant growth in this area and that it will be really important [to our economic future]. Surfing is going to have an impact on the development of the coasts of our country as we never had before.”
Nearly 50 members of the local and international media, including live national television and radio coverage, were on hand for the press conference.
Joining ISA President Aguerre and Minister Salinas on the panel were Maria Antonieta Ocon, the Vice President of the Nicaraguan Olympic Committee; event organizer Lucy Valenti of Gray Line Tours Nicaragua; Ivan Saballos, representing the Nicaraguan Surfing Federation; legendary women’s surfer Rochelle Ballard (HAW); and Juan Ashton (PUR), the most decorated ISA surfer.
The last time she competed in an ISA event, Hawaii’s Rochelle Ballard was just a teenager. Since that time she’s finished runner-up on the Women’s ASP World Tour, been involved in a major motion picture (Blue Crush) and started her own yoga business, among many other achievements.
“It’s really a privilege and an honor to represent where you come from,” said Ballard, who won a Bronze Medal at the 1988 ISA World Surfing Games in Puerto Rico. “To be traveling with Sunny [Garcia] and Kaipo Jaquias, two longtime friends, and to come to this beautiful country for my first ISA event since I was a teenager brings back a lot of great memories.”
When competition begins, there will be more than 140 athletes representing 26 nations, across five divisions. Surfers compete for individual medals and the perpetual Eduardo Arena Trophy, which will be awarded to the Gold Medal-winning team. Peruvian Eduardo Arena founded the ISA in 1964.Photo Credit: ISA/Rommel Gonzalez
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