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International Para Surfing Championship returns to Pismo Beach

Posted at 9:27 PM, Dec 04, 2022

The largest international para surfing competition has kicked off on the Central Coast.

This is the second year in a row that Pismo Beach is hosting the world championship for surfers with disabilities.

Organizers say they are not worried about the weather but are hoping for good surf.

“Nearly 200 athletes from 21 different countries gathered in Pismo Beach on Sunday for the opening ceremonies of the ISA Para Surfing Championship.

“I think Pismo Beach is a great location for the event, it’s like a little sleepy surfer town it seems like people are super nice,” said Team Germany manager Christina Paetrow.

Organizers say the show will go on, rain or shine and while they are monitoring storm runoff, they do not expect water quality to be an issue.

“It was a bit wet and windy so we kind of brought the weather over from England with us the last couple of days, but skies have cleared now, the sun’s out--everything’s looking good,” said team England member Mark Hagger.

“It’s not so much about the waves, it’s a real comradery thing and sharing of knowledge,” said team Australia member Mark Stewart.

Competitors say they all have one thing in common: a passion for surfing, and while this is the world championship, it’s about much more than just winning.

“As a disabled person, these events really open up the scope and we get to talk to each other,” said Stewart. “The ocean is so healing. It’s one of the best things ever for a person with a disability.”

From team Australia to team Germany, athletes and organizers say they are happy to see people from around the world coming together to support athletes with disabilities.

“Especially these days with all the crazy things happening in the world, this event shows that sports bring us together and it’s lots of love, peace, and happiness around here,” said Paetrow.

“Everyone’s competing, everyone wants to win but at the same time you feel a lot of respect and just fairness.”

The executive director of the International Surfing Association says Pismo is the perfect location for reasons other than the weather and friendly locals.

“And together, they’ve shown not only that they believe in the mission of this event but are willing to put resources and community support behind it,” said Robert Fasulo.

Athletes, meanwhile, are gearing up for the first day of competition on Monday and say they can’t wait to shred some surf.

The competition lasts all week with closing ceremonies taking place on Sunday, December 11th.