It's a been long and acronym-potted road, from the WSA, ESA, HASA to the NSSA and USSF's NGB-status getting all OMG towards the ISA for the '09 USOC committee…it's easy to lose sight of the FUN. But here's the thing: in the end, Surfing America's only goal is to set forth a clear path for young competitive surfers to advance from the start of their competitive careers to ultimately competing for the US on the world stage.
On March 12, in a historic gathering of contest organizers and surf magazine editors from every major publication, Surfing America president Scott Daley and executive director Mike Gerard sat down at the Surfing Heritage Foundation to clear the air regarding Surfing America's renewed resolve to qualify the US for the Pan American Games (and ultimately, the Olympics); a resolve which has resulted in an amicable, yet confusing, split with the NSSA [for more, read: Splitsville]. "We strongly believe that both the NSSA and our program can coexist and thrive," said USA Surf Team Coach Joey Buran, who explained a new WSA/Surfing America "Elite" series beginning in 2009. "We're not asking anyone to choose here. We're asking the best kids to prioritize and make sure they're giving themselves the opportunities to be the best they can be. For many of the best kids, that means representing their country against an international field."
Buran went on to talk about the recent USA Surf Team training camp in Hawaii, and how impressed he was with the caliber of the new squad. "Americans always have the reputation for being kind of soft," he said. "But I can guarantee you these kids are not soft. They're gnarly, and they want it so bad. The team thing is really catching on with them."
The other item on the agenda was that faint star way out there in another galaxy: the Olympics. Qualifying a sport for the Olympics is an extremely complicated and involved process (while no one in the room actually went near the 23-page "Ted Stevens Olympic Act" application criteria on offer, just trust us on that one), but clearly, Surfing America is setting forth on a long-term plan of action that will ultimately prove beneficial and unifying for the sport.
The meeting concluded with Pac Sun USA Surf Team coach Joey Buran announcing 9 of the 12 members of the team that will compete in this May ISA World Juniors in France (the final member and alternate for each division will be determined throughout these final weeks of training and coaching). They are as follows:
SURFING AMERICA's ISA World Juniors Team
Under 18 Boys:
Under 16 Boys:
Under 18 Girls:
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