The International Surfing Association (ISA) was founded in 1964.
It governs and defines surfing as shortboard, longboard and bodyboarding, standup paddle racing and surfing, bodysurfing and wakesurfing and all other wave-riding activities on any type of waves and on flat water using wave-riding equipment.
The ISA currently has 108 national federations from countries on five continents.
Fernando Aguerre of Argentina was elected President in 1994 and has held the position ever since.
The competition in Tokyo will be on shortboards, with 40 athletes split evenly between men and women.
A panel of five judges will score all rides in each heat based on judging criteria which include commitment and degree of difficulty, innovation/progression, variety, combination of major manoeuvres, and speed, power and flow. The winners of each individual heat are determined by totalling the athlete’s best two rides, and the winners advance to the next round of competition.
Manoeuvres that will be performed may include the following or variations:
- The cutback is a fundamental manoeuvre in surfing which creates a horizontal direction change in which the board and rider reverse their original forward path on the wave. This manoeuvre allows the surfer to return from the shoulder of the wave to the critical section of the wave.
- The off-the-lip is a vertical turn in which the surfer turns on the steeper more vertical part of the wave. Normally, contact is made with the lip of the breaking wave, and then the surfer drives the board down towards the bottom of the wave.
- The snap, also known as slash, is a radical change of trajectory in the pocket or on the top of the wave. When performed abruptly, it produces spectacular, flashy buckets of spray above the surfer.
- The aerial is an extremely progressive manoeuvre in which the surfer gains speed and uses the steepness of the wave to project and launch above the lip of the wave. While in the air the surfer uses a variety of techniques to perform the type of aerial before they eventually land on the wave.
- The tube ride is generally considered the most desired manoeuvre in surfing. It consists of riding, being fully covered, and disappearing behind the hollow lip of the breaking wave.