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On The Crest Of A Wave

On The Crest Of A Wave

The International Surfing Association Explains Why It Is ‘Stoked’

What is the biggest ISA event? Why is it so successful?

The ISA’s flagship event is the World Surfing Games, which will be a direct qualifier for the Olympics in 2019 and 2020. Since the surfing’s inclusion in Tokyo 2020, the sport has displayed marked growth across the globe, which has been mirrored by an explosion in athlete and country participation in the World Surfing Games. The 2017 edition reach unprecedented levels of success with a record-breaking 47 countries across all five continents participating. 


What innovations have the ISA made to maximise revenues?

The ISA has been continually honing our media valuation reporting methods to convey value generated back to sponsors and create more attractive opportunities. Through a combination of new media valuation partnerships with innovative techniques and feedback loops to highlight the data most important to our stakeholders, we’ve been able to maximize event revenues through sponsor and host partnerships.


What innovations have the ISA made to improve fan engagement?

The ISA has taken the initiative to increase our video content output, telling the stories of our athletes and brand as a whole that appeal to both the endemic and non-endemic audiences. Additionally, the ISA has increasingly used Facebook live; streaming all our  events on the platform to making our content more accessible than ever before. It’s a platform that matches our audience demographics particularly well.


Who would you recommend?

Meltwater and Hookit have both been integral partners with the ISA in our mission to value media output. Meltwater has dependably monitored and valued our online editorial coverage, while Hookit has revolutionized the space of social media valuation and used an engagement-based methodology to value social media for our sponsors and partners, particularly during events.


What challenges do the ISA have which you are looking to solve with technology or partnerships?

We are always looking for new ways to utilize technology to improve the user experience for our live broadcast audience. In 2017 we used GPS chips in athlete lycras during the StandUp Paddle World Championship in Denmark that integrated the info collected into on-screen graphics, giving our viewers more information on the status of the races. Without the chips, we previously relied on camera angles to display the races, which could be misleading given the large expanse of ocean to that the racers cover. There is great potential in this regard for wearable chips to collect athlete information across all disciplines of surfing that can then be relayed to the audience.


What advice would the ISA give to other Federations looking to become part of the Olympic Family?

Highlight the value that your sport’s qualities can bring to the Games and never give up on your dream!

Robert Fasulo, ISA Executive Director.


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