The inaugural ISA World Adaptive Championships drew to a close on Sunday in La Jolla, California, leading to the nod of four new world champions: Denmark's Bruno Hansen in the Prone division, Brazil's Fellipe Lima in the Upright, USA's Jesse Billauer in Assist, and Australia's Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart in Stand.
"I couldn't be happier than I am now,” said Upright Champion Fellipe Lima in an interview with the ISA. “It's amazing to see this ISA World Championship happen. It has always been my dream, not just to be a World Champion, but also to see the sport grow. This is just the start."
Competitors from 18 countries — 69 surfers in all — flocked to La Jolla for the four-day event, which began on September 27th. Entrants battling through various physical difficulties were divided into four separate divisions: Prone (Laying flat on the board), Upright (Balancing in a seated position), Assist (Surfing with assistance in catching waves), and Stand. Light wave conditions did little to lessen the overwhelming mood of excitement from spectators after multiple rounds of surfing for each division, culminating in the final heats on Sunday.
Said ISA President Fernando Aguerre after the closing ceremony:
"This is an ISA World Championship that will be talked about for years to come. Adaptive Surfing history has been made in La Jolla. I would like to congratulate the four athletes that received Gold Medals, but also at all 69 competitors who took part in this historic competition. All of the athletes will return home as ambassadors of Adaptive Surfing. This is only the start of something much bigger and wider reaching that we will see grow and develop in the years to come."
For more information on the event, including a full list of results, click here.