February 8, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
The Sierra Leone Surfing Association (SLSA) last Friday officially became the 98th member of the Federation of International Surfing Association (ISA) after they were recognised as the newest ISA member.
An official announcement was made by the ISA, with the pronouncement followed by a press statement which officially welcomed the SLSA to the international federation as they continue the drive to global expansion of the sport on the African continent.
President of ISA, Fernando Aguerre, said they were delighted to welcome SLSA to the ISA family, which will give more opportunities to young people.
Aguerre said: “Surfing has a thrilling nature and its unique inclusive culture makes it popular amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. We’re delighted to welcome the Sierra Leone Surfing Association to the ISA family as we continue to grow and develop the sport in Africa and around the world.
“By offering more opportunities to young people in different regions through increased access to equipment and a higher standard of training we can help to share the thrill and enjoyment of surfing and open the sport up to people who may have never considered participating before.
“As we are seeing in Sierra Leone, along with the excitement and energy surfing can bring, it also has a unique capacity to bring people and communities together – helping to create social opportunities and economic growth. We will continue to harness the love and energy for surfing around the world as we continue in our campaign to make surfing an Olympic sport.
Barbara Kendall, ISA Vice-President and IOC Member, who played a key role in the application process, said: “It’s exciting to see Sierra Leone become a Member of the ISA. Full membership brings so many opportunities to countries like Sierra Leone and their young athletes – particularly if surfing becomes part of the Olympic Programme in 2020. Congratulations to everybody at the SLSA and we all look forward to the day when we see Sierra Leone send athletes to international competition.”
The proud SLSA President, Jahbez Benga, said membership with ISA would help put Sierra Leone on the surfing world map, adding that their international recognition would help attract more people around the world to surf with them.
He said: “Being a member of the ISA will put Sierra Leone on the surfing map and we are proud to be part of something that shows the positive side of our country. We hope that more people from around the world will come and surf with us and that in the future we will have some Sierra Leonean surfing champions.”
Sierra Leone was due to host the Africa Surf Invitational Competition but the move was postponed as a result of the Ebola outbreak.