"Next team event in the pool should be an ISA in collaboration with the WSL"

Interview with Fernando Aguerre who received an historic recognition by Kelly and the WSL during the Founders' Cup awards ceremony

When the IOC informed on the 3rd August, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, that surfing was, among other new sports, officially in the menu of the 2020 Tokyo Games, the talk in the press room was the internal fight that the inclusion of skateboarding brought inside the subculture.

A struggle of gigantic proportions was taking place because the Skating Federation had taken skateboarding to the Olympic level. The discussion happened because someone that was not a “skater” had managed to do this.

Surfing was a clear contrast to this situation, since two Federations – ISA and WSL – which had historically went their separate ways– had decided to unite in order to achieve an Olympic reality for surfing in the best possible way. Fernando Aguerre and Paul Speaker (former CEO of the WSL) celebrated this accomplishment together.

Last Sunday, during the Founders Cup awards ceremony,  Aguerre received an historical recognition from WSL: Kelly Slater and WSL´s new CEO, Sophie Goldschmidt, gave him an Olympic flag signed by all the competitors and a medal in honor of the Argentinean that introduced surfing into the greatest multisport event in the planet.

It can be said that the marriage that was outlined between 2015 and 2016, was blessed at the altar this weekend. Now ISA and WSL walk hand in hand towards the most important challenge in their history

In the next lines, Aguerre describes what happened in Lemoore, gives us an update on Olympic news and says he wants an ISA event on Slater’s pool.

Classic Fernando Aguerre , in the podium, joking with the 11 times champion, All the photos: WSL/Morris/Cestari

Were you surprised by being honored by the WSL?
I had no idea it was going to happen.

How important was that recognition to you?
It was great. An appreciation and thanks by the WSL with a great souvenir: an Olympic flag with the signature of the 25 professional surfers that competed at the Surf Ranch. They had thanked me already, but never exteriorizing it in such a visible way. Besides, receiving it through Kelly, whom I respect and admire, was an additional bonus.

What comments did you hear in general this Sunday about the Tokyo classifying process that is about to begin?
They are all satisfied, and obviously, all want to be there. The medals in competition will be the first ones in surfing history. Others will come, but these are special. Furthermore, all 40 of them will be Olympic athletes for the rest of their lives, with or without medals…

With a history of highs and lows between you, how are things among ISA and WSL nowadays?
It’s a good relationship. We are two quite different organizations, from all points of view. I believe we are complementary. On ISA’s side, I have co-existed with five or six different ASP/WSL leaders in my years as president. I have always had a positive and open attitude towards them.

What is your general assessment of the championship in Slater’s pool you saw this weekend?
Is a simple model, basically that of the ISA championships or the traditional Aloha Cup. With the added bonus that most of the participants were or are professional surfing stars. It was well organized and quite entertaining.

What didn’t you like of Slater’s pool and the event you attended?
There was nothing I disliked. Although I believe that the next team event in the pool should be an ISA in collaboration with the WSL. ISA has carried out team events for the past 54 years that are also official ISA teams. These were teams organized by the WSL, none of which were selected by the national federations recognized by both ISA and the IOC.

Aguerre approved the wave in his visit to the ranch and wants next team event there to be organized by ISA with WSL.

And, what did you like best?
The good side of the pools: constant waves, judging the performance itself and not based on the wave you had by chance. They are all the same.

Were you able to surf the wave? How was it?
I had the chance at some other time. It is a good, quick and long wave. But, at the same time, it is a wave that can challenge the best if you don’t understand it. It has personality.

Have you been contacted by other manufacturers in view of Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028?
There are several companies producing waves, in different stages of development, with different wave types. For example, yesterday someone posted videos of a wave in Waco, Texas.

You have recently been at the SportAccord in Thailand, and important things are often shaped there. Please share any news brought from there and that is worth sharing with the surfing world.
We met with Tokyo 2020 directors and spoke on Olympic-related matters. There’s an infinity of issues, deeper than imaginable…

ISAs previo a meterse de lleno en el CT. Medina was used to team events because he had competed in many ISAs before immersing himself in CT.