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Local adaptive surfers prepare for international championships

Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart in action. Photo Reynolds/ISA

Byron Bay’s Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart will be looking forward to going to La Jolla, California later this year after it was just announced by the International Surfing Association (ISA) that the 2018 edition of the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship will return to the USA. 

The fourth edition of the event will take place at La Jolla Shores beach over December 12–16, and will welcome more than 25 of the world’s best national para-surfing teams.

In 2017, the Championship made history, as a record-breaking 109 athletes united at La Jolla to compete for Gold in the Paralympic-style, team-based event.

It was the first to take place after the ISA received official recognition from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), a key milestone in the ISA’s ambitions to see Para-Surfing included in future editions of the Paralympic Games.  

Participation numbers have boomed since the inaugural event with athlete participation increasing nearly 60 per cent and country participation by more than 40 per cent.

Pros

The year is shaping up to be a watershed for generational change as many surfers see out the twilight of their careers as younger and more progressive surfers step up.

In the men’s tour the ‘Brazilian storm’ is gaining strength with four of them in the top five chasing the Jeep Yellow Jersey leader Australian Julian Wilson.

Byron Bay professional Matt Wilkinson is having a bit of a shocker down in twenty-ninth spot, which is perplexing after his top five finish last year. 


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