A giant Parade of the Surfing Nations began the opening ceremonies of the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games at Jaco Beach this morning. In full “Olympic” style, over 34 nations in bright uniforms and flags flying, followed a colorful Costa Rican marching band down the main street of town, to the exited cheers of thousands posted along the parade route.
The parade finished in the Park of Jaco. There, ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, along with the Chief of the Costa Rican Tourism Department, Carlos Ricardo Benavidez, the Mayor of Garabito, Marvin Eliondo, the Manager of the ICE Group, Pedro Pablo Quiroz and the President of the Surfing Federation of Costa Rica, Jose Ureña, spoke in front of an enormous crowd of competitors and public. Billabong´s Marketing Vice-President Graham Stapelberg joined them. With over 180 competitors the event is one of the largest and most vivacious events in the surfing world, starting tomorrow, Saturday, August 1st at Playa Hermosa.
The colors of Australia, the United States, Brazil, France, Costa Rica, South Africa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Peru, Japan, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, Venezuela, Canada, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Ecuador, Hawaii, Aruba, Chile, Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Austria, Bahamas, Nicaragua, Colombia and Great Britain –a total of 34-, finished the parade at the central park in Jaco.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said: “Surfing is a sport for everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, where do you come from, or how much money you have. It´s a very democratic sport with no social classes in the water!
The Billabong ISA World Surfing Games are not just another Surfing Tournament, they are the most beautiful chance that you will have in your life for meeting the whole world in one place.”
“All of you guys are already winners, I don't care if you win a medal, or if you don't, all of you have won because you made it to Costa Rica. All of you: The athletes, the coaches, the managers, your families at home, are all winners,” he concluded.
A huge crowd cheered and applauded as each national team poured sand from their countries´ beaches into a single glass container forming beautiful layers of sand from around the globe. This ceremony represents the peaceful gathering of the nations of the world through the love of surfing.
With a rising swell and fair weather predicted, the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games are expected to start on schedule Saturday, August 1st with a LIVE web from Costa Rica available at www.billabongisaworldgames.com which also provides full details and results.