USD $20,000 granted to grassroots surfers to create a better world through surfing

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is proud to announce that 43 youth surfers from 15 countries have been selected as recipients of the 2020 ISA Scholarship Program.

Omar Thiandoum of Senegal was selected as one of the 43 Scholarship recipients. Omar will put the award towards his education, a new surfboard, and a new wetsuit, as he has grown out of his current suit.

Omar Thiandoum of Senegal was selected as one of the 43 Scholarship recipients. Omar will put the award towards his education, a new surfboard, and a new wetsuit, as he has grown out of his current suit.

USD $20,000 will be distributed among the new wave of scholarship ambassadors according to the particular needs of each recipient.

Scholarship recipients are selected based on their financial need as well as dedication to education and surfing.

The diversity of the nationalities (15 countries represented) reflects the ISA’s overarching push to grow and spread the sport in non-traditional surfing nations around the globe.

The countries include Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Iran, Jamaica, Maldives, Morocco, Senegal, The Gambia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Since 2007, the ISA has awarded USD $348,500 to more than 350 surfers around the world who are 18 years of age and under. 

The value of an ISA Scholarship has been demonstrated not only at the grassroots level, but also at a competitive level, as several scholarship ambassadors, such as Carlos Muñoz (CRC) and Chelsea Tuach (BAR), have gone on to win medals at ISA Global Events. 

In 2019, Peruvian ISA Scholarship ambassador Daniella Rosas reinforced the program’s success, earning a provisional slot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by claiming Women’s Shortboard Gold at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. 

To see a full list of all past and present ISA Scholarship recipients, click here.

10-year-old Gabrielle Chung of Jamaica will use her scholarship award to save for college, buy a new surfboard, and train for upcoming competitions.

10-year-old Gabrielle Chung of Jamaica will use her scholarship award to save for college, buy a new surfboard, and train for upcoming competitions.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“This is always my favorite part of the year, when we have a chance to give back to the youth of our sport, those who will carry the torch of Surfing into the future.

“Our 14-year-and-counting commitment to the ISA Scholarship Program is testament to our dedication to spreading the joy of surfing all around the globe, especially to surfers who are underserved and disadvantaged. Whether due to the country that they are from, their social status, or gender, these scholarship ambassadors face a tougher road than most to pursuing their dreams of education and surfing. It is our duty to make sure that they get their chance.

“It is astounding to see one of our Scholarship winners climb all the way to the greatest stage in sports and earn a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As surfing gains more momentum in the Olympic Movement, achieving inclusion in more multisport events in the future, I am sure that we will see more and more scholarship ambassadors shine at the top of their disciplines.”

Meet the winners

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Genesis Isabel Borja Garcia, 15 years old, Ecuador 

Fifteen-year-old Genesis of Engabao, Ecuador has been surfing for seven years. She ranked first in the 2019 national circuit and has dreams of competing in more tournaments in the coming year. When she’s not surfing, she loves soccer and biking. Genesis’ scholarship will go towards a computer with internet access for 12 months to allow her to attend her online classes due to the pandemic, which she is currently not able to easily attend. The award will also buy her a new board, wetsuit, fins, and leash so that she can continue her journey towards being a national surfing champion. Lastly, it will help cover travel costs and the cost of a surf coach, whom she would love to learn from.

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Praveen Kumar, 17 years old, India

Seventeen-year-old Praveen Kumar from the coastal city of Mangalore, India has placed second in two local competitions and has been surfing for four years. He became an ISA certified instructor and now teaches kids in his village how to surf. Praveen will use his scholarship to purchase a new short board so that he can practice more advanced maneuvers for upcoming competitions in 2021. Owning a new board is his dream and he hopes to win more competitive tournaments next year. He also enjoys staying active by kayaking, playing cricket, and playing volleyball.

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Maria Elouedrhiri, 7 years old, Morocco

Seven year old surfer Maria from Agadir, Morocco has been shredding waves since she was four years old. She feels strong and free when she surfs and dreams of becoming a champion surfer so that other female Moroccan surfers can see that anything is possible. With the scholarship she will be able to purchase a board that suits her height along with a winter wetsuit to help her surf in the colder months. When she grows up, Maria would love to become a police officer or detective so that she can make the world a more peaceful place. She also practices Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing so is ready to take on any challenge.

To view profiles on all 43 ISA Scholarship ambassadors for 2020, click here.

Argentina – Victoria Josefina Muñoz Larreta
Argentina – Perla Rojas
Barbados – Ocean Dakari Gittens
Brazil – Rayan Fadul
Brazil – Cauã André Correia Costa
Brazil – Maria Eduarda Andrade Cesar
Brazil – Maria Clara De Araújo
Costa Rica – Aaron Perez
Costa Rica – Hannia Carmiol Matarrita
Costa Rica – Madeline Samoa Inneken Solano
Ecuador – Cayetano Plaza
Ecuador – Genesis Isabel Borja Garcia
El Salvador – Willmer Emerson Escobar Lopez
El Salvador – Willmer Edgardo Escobar Lopez
El Salvador – Julissa Adriana Moody Garcia
El Salvador – Jason Steven Molina Morales
El Salvador – Jose Alejandro Martinez Castro
India – Praveen Kumar
India – Naman K Sanil
India – NaveenKumar R
Iran – Yousef Balouchi
Iran – Amirhossein Rezaei Sharabian
Iran – Mahkameh Moarrab
Jamaica – Gabrielle Chung
Jamaica – Zuri Gordon
Jamaica – Aaliyah Al-Khateeb
Jamaica – Zoe-Anais Bain
Jamaica – Jahzara Wilmot
Maldives – Mohamed Zayan
Morocco – Maria Elouedrhiri
Senegal – Omar Ngalla Albert Thiandoum
Senegal – Mamadou Ndoye
Senegal – Cherif Adrame Diop
Senegal – Aminata Samb
The Gambia – Abdoulie Jarju
The Gambia – Ousman Jobe
Trinidad and Tobago – Keona/Kizhara Dennis
Trinidad and Tobago – O’marion Butler
Trinidad and Tobago – Shiniqua Haynes
Venezuela – Carlos Molina
Venezuela – Michelle Solis
Venezuela – Mike Prada
Venezuela – Iriacna María Balza Gómez

About the International Surfing Association:

The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Para Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).

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