A record-breaking 41 countries officially inaugurated the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Hyuga, Japan on Saturday afternoon.
306 of the world’s best junior surfers hailing from all continents of the globe paraded with their teams through the heart of Hyuga for the event’s Opening Ceremony. The Ceremony also featured the ISA’s signature Sands of the World Ceremony in which the young athletes pour sands from their local beaches into a clear container as a symbol of unity and peace amongst the nations.
The Ceremony marked the opening of competition which is set to get underway on Sunday morning at Okuragahama Beach.
Various local and regional dignitaries were in attendance at the event, including ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, the Mayor of Hyuga, Kohei Toya, the Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, Shunji Kono, the President of the Nippon Surfing Association, Atsushi Sakai and the Chief Operating Officer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Yukihiko Nunomura.
The festivities kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the Parade of Nations as each National Team marched through the town of Hyuga echoing cheers of national pride. Thousands of local spectators showed to welcome the visiting delegations and experience electric, youthful energy vibrating through the city.
Upon arriving to the Opening Ceremony stage the Japanese National Anthem greeted the international competitors.
A traditional Japanese “Hyottoko” dance followed, giving the athletes a taste of traditional Japanese culture.