The Future of British Surfing

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Surfing England (SE), the Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF), the Welsh Surfing Federation (WSF) and the Channel Island Surfing Federation (CISF) would like to issue a joint response in relation to recent social media releases regarding the selection process for the British Team to attend the ISA World Surfing Games 2019.
With the sport of surfing entering the Olympics, the four federations embarked on a journey together earlier this year to create British Surfing, a limited company to enable the selection, preparation and management of a British team.
Each Federation nominated a voluntary director to help progress such development, and with support from UK Sport, the board has worked through the governance and selection pathway requirements for the Olympics over the last six months.
The selection policy for the ISA World Surfing Games 2019 was prepared, it was shared with the home nations and with the head coaches, this was updated in early March to incorporate feedback from all the coaches. Potential athletes were made aware of expectations and requirements to be able to qualify for the British team. In short, each of the Federations are fully aligned and supportive of British Surfing’s approach to the selection process and how it has been implemented to date. We would however like to remind all that an approved appeals procedure is in place should any athlete wish to contest this.
Dave Cove, Chairman of British Surfing said: “I recently joined British Surfing as an Independent Chairman and recognise that this is an exciting time for the sport given the inclusion of surfing in the next three Olympic Games.
“Any sport will go through a period of change and surfing is no exception.  We have challenges ahead as we adapt to new ways of working. I have had extensive experience in other sports and on a variety of boards over the past 14 years and am on the board of British Surfing, along with four nominated directors from each home nation, to help steer the course during this period of change.
“Working with UK Sport and British Olympic Association requires a greater focus on good governance, and adherence to policies and processes. I am not aligned to any federation, nor do I have any long-standing links or relationships in surfing.
“I was part of the selection panel, along with the coach from each of the home nations, that selected the recent British team for the 2019 ISA World Games and I can confirm that contrary to rumours and assumptions, the published selection policy was adhered to. The Wildcard option was discussed on a number of occasions and the selection panel concluded that a wildcard should not be offered to any surfer for this event.
“I understand and empathise with the frustration of those athletes that opted not to follow the process and hence missed out on this occasion; however, the policy was issued in March, it was clear what the policy was and I am happy that the policy was followed.
“We will be considering the selection policy for the May 2020 ISA World Games which will give six athletes a further chance of Olympic qualification and we invite consultation, as we have before, via each federation.
“We have six exciting and talented surfers representing GB in Japan at the 2019 ISA World Games this September.
“For the long term, we are looking at how surfers can seize the opportunity to participate in the pathway to the Olympics in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
“If we can harness the energy, passion and commitment that clearly exists and channel it in the same direction to support all our sport, I think the future is really exciting for British Surfing.” 

The federations are very aware that over the last twenty years the sport has weathered some stormy seas since the fall of the British Surfing Association. The relations between the federations are currently the best they have been and all four federations are committed to building a positive future through British Surfing.
We would like to wish the British Team success as they embark on their training for the 2019 World Surfing Games and to ask all surfers from across Britain to join us in respectfully supporting the athletes who have qualified for the ISA World Surfing Games 2019, through the pathway outlined in the selection policy.
We also encourage individuals whom are passionate about the sport who feel they have something positive to contribute, to come forward to their respective home nation to find out how they can get involved supporting the future at this exciting time.
As we look forward beyond the World Surfing Games 2019, British Surfing are planning to launch the Ambassador programme as part of the UK Sport Aspiration Fund delivery. This programme will be made up of the finalists from the British Championship as well as selected athletes put forward from each home nation. The Ambassador programme will enable athletes (as part of a wider squad) to receive support in their performance development and enable them to inspire future generations whilst delivering social impact to communities across Britain.
Surfers interested in being considered for the programme are encouraged to contact their respective home nation federations and cite interest.
On behalf of the Home Nations and British Surfing Leads;
Dave Cove, Independent Chairman British Surfing 

William Watson, SSF President, British Surfing Director 

Huw John, WSF President, British Surfing Director 

Nick Hounsfield, SE Director, British Surfing Director 

Bruce Daniel, Chairman Surfing England
Arlene Maltman, British Surfing Director 

Dave Ferguson, CISF President 
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Notes to editors: Contact for more information. 

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