LA JOLLA–On the final day of the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship, Team Brazil emerged victorious and was crowned the first-ever Adaptive Surfing World Team Champion.
The host Team USA earned the Silver Medal, with Chile and Australia respectively earning the Bronze and Copper Medals.
Three of the four Gold Medalists in the inaugural edition in 2015 defended their titles. Brazil’s Fellipe Lima (AS-3, Upright), Denmark’s Bruno Hansen (AS-4, Prone) and Australia’s Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart (AS-2, Stand/Kneel) repeated their feats from 2015 and earned their second Gold Medals. Spain’s Aitor Francesena (AS-VI, Visually Impaired), Brazil’s Davi Teixeira (AS-5, Assist) and South Africa’s Antony Smyth (AS-1, Stand/Kneel) were the first-time Gold Medalists on this ground-breaking day of Adaptive Surfing.
“This was an incredible finish to a monumental week of competition for the sport of Adaptive Surfing,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “Throughout these four days we witnessed the sport grow and develop leaps and bounds. The six World Champions, the 77 athletes, the 22 countries and Team Brazil’s Gold Medal performance will forever be a part of the history of Adaptive Surfing.”
“This event has built upon the platform created in 2015 to launch the sport towards Paralympic inclusion. However, the Paralympics are not the final goal, they are the ultimate achievement. The final goal is to spread the joy of Adaptive Surfing around the globe, which is what we accomplished this week.”
“I would like to say thank you on behalf of the Stance employees across the USA and 50 countries,” said Stance President and Co-Founder John Wilson. “This event has epitomized Stance’s message of human originality. I hope you all go back to your countries with new friends, amazing experiences and having had enjoyed the competition.”
The Final Day of competition kicked off in clean 2-3+ foot surf at La Jolla Shores. The world’s best adaptive surfers competed for a spot in the Finals and a chance to win the Gold Medals.
The AS-VI visually impaired Final was the first to hit the water, crowning Spain’s Aitor Francesena the first-ever visually impaired World Champion.
“Anything is possible,” said Francesena. “We have to work with what we got, so this proves that with drive and passion you can do anything you set your mind to.”
Brazil’s Elias Figue Diel earned the Silver Medal in the visually impaired division, followed by Australia’s Matt Formston with the Bronze and France’s Gwendal Du Fretay with the Copper.