Road to the 2023 ISA World Para Surf Championship & Opening Ceremony

After the roaring success of Scotland’s inaugural attendance at the ISA World Para Surfing Championships (WPSC) last year in Pismo, it been an exciting year of development and events in the run up to this year’s 2023 championships, this time at the legendary Huntington Beach in California.

The Scotland team have landed in California once again, and jumped straight into the ocean to enjoy some perfect training waves before competition kicks off on Monday 6th November. Today saw the gathering of 184 athletes from 27 nations at the opening ceremony, where the team were joined by Pipe Major Scott MacDonald of the LA Scots Pipe Band, giving some extra Scottish flair to the parade and “Sands of the World” ceremony.

Scotland team with pipe major Scott MacDonald of the LA Scots pipe band
Photo Credit: Sean Evans (ISA)
Jade Edward and Karen Darke at the “Sands of the World” opening ceremony
Photo credit: Jersson Barboza (ISA)

Before the heats kick off tomorrow, it’s the perfect time to showcase the developments being made in Para Surfing in Scotland this year, the story of how the team made it to California, as well as a chance to give thanks to all those who have made it possible.

Jade Edward’s 8th place success at last year’s event propelled Para Surfing in Scotland into the limelight. Since then, it’s been another successful and exciting year for Scottish athletes with notable achievements at the Welsh & English open competitions. This reinforced the SSF’s commitment to ensure progression in the sport and create a pathway for athlete development. Since then, the SSF have set up a committed Para Surf Scotland sub-committee, and in collaboration with SurfABLE Scotland, organised and hosted Scotland’s first ever Para Surfing National competition earlier this year in Dunnet. This served as a valuable training weekend as well as forming part of the selection process for the ISA WPSC in California. Jade Edward secured her spot and was later joined on the Scotland team by Karen Darke as a Wildcard entry, based on her 1st place result at the English Open.

Karen, Jade, and team after a free surf in Huntington Beach California

With Karen and Jade confirmed as qualified, it was time to fundraise a target of over £20,000 for a team of 2 athletes, 4 water support coaches, and 2 further team members needed to compete in the Prone 2 (assisted prone) category. With only 6 weeks to raise this money it was looking difficult, but some dedicated commitment from Kev & Glyn (founders of SurfABLE and part of the SSF Para Surf Committee) made it possible as they were successful in receiving a large donation from the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation for the Para Surf team. This was followed up by a generous donation from Gleaner Ltd, the team’s primary corporate sponsor for this California trip. Finally, Ross-Shire Engineering (RSE) continued their support for the team after sponsoring the Dunnet event, providing further support for this trip. A monumental thanks goes out to these 3 main donors who fundamentally made the trip possible – the SSF and Para Surf Scotland are sincerely grateful for this support and the opportunity it has given the team.

“We are delighted to support the wonderful work which SurfABLE and the SSF do, which is truly inspiring and uplifting. We wish them the very best of luck in the forthcoming competition” Gleaner Ltd

“We would like to congratulate all the surfers who took part in the Adaptive Surf Championships and wishes those going on to compete in the World Championships the best of luck!” – Ross-Shire Engineering

A big thanks also goes out to an “affa fine mannie” for an anonymous donation, and everyone who donated to the Crowdfunder and SAP SurfCraft’s board raffle, which secured the final funding needed to confirm the trip. Finally, this would not have been possible without support from individuals and partners including SurfABLE Scotland, Inclusive Surfing Scotland, Sport Scotland, and Lost Shore.

Well done to the newly appointed Para Surf Committee for the hard work in the build up to this event – Kev Anderson, Glyn Morris, Iain Donaldson, Caorann Fosbrooke, Ruairidh Farquharson, and Karen Darke.

Left: Glyn in the 2023 team kit
Right: Opening ceremony

Jade and Karen are looking forward to the competition and their first heats in the next few days. Please keep up to date and follow the event through updates on the SSF socials and the ISA website here:

Words by Caorann Fosbrooke (SSF Para Surf Co-ordinator)