TravelSIM Team Australia Set for a Start at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship in Nicaragua
Sunday, 15 July 2012Between the rhythmic beats of the marching band, the cheering of the Rivas locals and the waving of flags from 26 nations, the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship announced itself in grand fashion to the people of Nicaragua. By bringing an ISA world championship to the shores of the country, a population and a government are hoping that the sport can continue its transformative ways.
Mario Salinas, the Minister of Tourism, is confident that surfing and the ISA can carry on their collective track record of change. Change in global perceptions. Change in the amount of coastal development. Change in the number of people traveling from around the world to visit the beautiful beaches and ride the world-class waves of a country. It was with those expectations of change that Minister Salinas and his fellow dignitaries welcomed the surfing world to Nicaragua at the Opening Ceremony of the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship.
“Surfing has become more and more popular recently [in Nicaragua], and it is positioning quickly as one of the main reasons tourists travel to our country,” Minister Salinas said. “It promotes a social and economic development of our coastline; people from different countries come together because of it; it opens new horizons for local communities; and it brings a new opportunity to improve the quality of living of our people.”
In his remarks, Minister Salinas pointed out that his department projects that “by the end of 2013, surfing will constitute up to 15-percent of total tourist arrivals, because today Nicaragua becomes a new worldwide destination.”
The people of Rivas and its surrounding towns lined the streets in order to catch a glimpse of the competing teams in the Parade of Nations. Once the parade reached the podium, each team sent a flag bearer and a representative onto the stage for the traditional Sands of the World Ceremony, where sands from home beaches are poured into a glass container, representing the peaceful gathering of nations through the love of surfing.
With over 140 of the best over-35-year-old surfers in the world on hand, a promising wave forecast provided by Surfline (the Official Forecaster) and consistent offshore winds at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, the necessary elements are in place to showcase the best that Nicaragua has to offer. The ISA World Masters is the first-ever surfing world championship to take place in the country, and the first sports world championship since 1994.
We were told Nicaragua had great waves and nice weather – it’s better than what we heard,” said Fernando Aguerre, the president of the ISA. “Your waves, your people and your warmth have touched our hearts. Yesterday, I was honored to sit for an hour with your president, Daniel Ortega. We talked about surfing, this small country with a big heart, and we talked about our hopes of having surfing as a vehicle for a better world. All 200 participants, team members come as visitors to Nicaragua, most of us for the first time in our lives; in 10 days we will leave as friends, as ambassadors of Nicaragua.”
After Aguerre’s and Minster Salinas’ speeches, the crowd was treated to three traditional dances: the ‘Dance of the Inditas of Monimbo,’ a typical Nicaraguan dance; the Dance of the Guaguense, a colorful ballet which is a forceful expression of protest against colonial rule; and the ‘Baile de Danzas Garifonas,’ a typical native Caribbean dance, which was full of swinging hips and drum beats.
When the performances finished, all 26 flag bearers from the Parade of Nations made their way back onto the stage. With the waving flags as a backdrop, Aguerre approached the microphone once again.
“Attention Nicaragua, attention the rest of the world,” Aguerre began. “I now officially declare the 2012 Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship open! Gracias, Nicaragua! Thank you, everybody! Viva el surf de Nicaragua!”
The surfing action for the Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship begins tomorrow, July 15, at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana in the Municipality of Tola, with the first Qualifying Rounds of the five divisions.
The event webcast will be live beginning at 7:40am local time (6:40am PST; 9:40am EST; 2:40pm in Paris; and 11:40pm in Sydney) at www.isawmsc.com/live.
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