The ISA is proud to continue to award academic surf scholarships to under-18 year old, junior surfers from all over the globe. The ISA Individual Scholarship Program was established in 2007. Since then it has awarded 192 individual scholarships from over 40 countries, and a total of $178,500. This year, the ISA will award 25 individual $1,000 scholarships and 50 individual $500 scholarships, for a grand total 75 scholarships worth $50,000.
The objective of the ISA Individual Scholarship Program is to provide financial support to young surfers, many from developing countries, who demonstrate financial need, in order to facilitate their experience in surfing while encouraging them on the importance of education. The money must be used to further the junior surfer’s education, pay for travel to surf contests, contest fees, or to upgrade their surfing equipment.
“The ISA Scholarship Program is one key initiative that supports our mission of developing Surfing globally,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre, who created the ISA Scholarship Program in 2007. “It is a special honor for the ISA to be able to help young surfers fulfill their dreams. This is one of the most important programs of the ISA, one that is specially close to my heart, so I would strongly encourage every young surfer in the world to take advantage of this great opportunity that can be a game changer in their lives, as it has done every year since its inception.”
ISA Scholarship recipients are inspirational individuals, who strive to succeed in both surfing and education. These “ISA Ambassadors” are selected based on their interest in surfing, commitment to education, and their family’s financial need. The ISA Ambassadors are positive role models for other young surfers in their communities.
2013 ISA Scholarship recipient from Durban, South Africa, Ntando Msibi, used his $1,000 scholarship award to purchase a surfboard and travel to national surfing competitions. Ntando qualified for the South Africa Junior Team that competed at the 2014 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Ecuador. The 16-year old surfer recently told the ISA that representing Team South Africa at the biggest junior surfing competition in the world was a lifelong dream.
“My mother and father died when I was younger, and I grew up on the streets in Durban and learned to surf from the people of ‘Umthombo Street Children’ (a program that helps the youth living in the streets of Durban) when I was 11,” Ntando told the ISA when he applied for the scholarship last year. “Because I did not go to a real school until I was 12, my surfing friends and teachers helped me with school work. I am a good surfer and many people have told me I can be a champion, but I don’t have money to travel to contests. With support from the ISA, I could buy a new board and travel to contests, so one day I could compete on the South African Team.”
Another remarkable ISA Ambassador is 15-year-old Yukojati Anabela, a Muslim girl from Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java, Indonesia. The Indonesian surfer has made history as the first ever Muslim girl to be a recipient of the ISA Individual Scholarship Program.
Anabela remarked, “I don’t see why a Muslim girl can’t surf. People generally tell me not to surf. I don’t mind what they say as I love surfing and I will keep surfing because I also believe it makes you a very humble person.”
Since the young age of six, Chile’s Christopher Rojas has been in the water showing his perseverance and capacity to overcome obstacles.
Christopher’s parents were unable to afford contest entry fees and travel expenses. “I used the entire ISA Scholarship Award to surf,” said the young Chilean. “I was able to buy a brand new wetsuit and pay for contests inscriptions. The rest of the money was very useful for my trips to participate in the national competitions around Chile.”
The ISA Individual Scholarship Program application is available on the ISA website. The deadline for submission of an application is Monday, June 30, 2014. Applicants must be born after December 31st, 1996. The application includes answering a few questions about the applicant’s personal experiences and writing an essay about why the applicant thinks they deserve to win the ISA Scholarship.
The ISA Individual Scholarship Program is funded in part by grants from Billabong, Hurley and Reef Redemption.