Pismo Beach is hosting the sixth annual ISA World Para Surfing Championships from December 6 to 11.
The championships could help lead to para surfing taking place in Los Angeles for the 2028 Paralympics.
“Adaptive sports being here at an international event, hosting the Para Surfing Championships is massive,” said AmpSurf clinic volunteer Cameron Clapp.
“On a global level, it is important that these events happen on a yearly basis for eight years consecutively to get into the Olympics,” President of AmpSurf, Dana Cummings.
“Our goal by doing this event is getting us in LA in the 2028 Olympics and get para surfing on that world stage,” said Cummings.
“I think the Olympic committee wanted to see more organizational structure to what we are doing,” said Canadian para surfer Nathan Smids.
134 competitors from 26 different countries are preparing to compete in the event.
“It’s very much in the works of a new sports, surfing in the Paralympics, so it’s really exciting to see things developing,” said Clapp.
“We still have the biggest number ever and it’s only growing every year,” said Cummings.
Smids, a San Luis Obispo resident, is a right leg amputee of 17 years set to compete in the Men’s Standing II Division for Canada.
“Hopefully we can prove to the Paralympic community that para surfing is ready to go and make their debut,” said Smids.
“It is really cool to see our local patient with a leg that I made being able to compete in an activity that he loves,” said Hanger Clinic CPO, Alexis Peterson.
Smids said he hopes the event will bring additional attention to para surfing on the Central Coast.
“Coming to the Central Coast and getting involved with adaptive surfing, there is such a huge community of people and support. I would have never known that there is this much out there and that so many more people have gone through what I have gone through,” said Smids.
Surfers will compete from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The event has 300 people surfing, support teams, family members, and trainers.
Competitions will be live-streamed around the globe starting Tuesday.