Huntington Beach, surfers on Olympic path as 2022 ISA World Surfing Games kick off Saturday

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Saturday, September 17, 2022
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The city of Huntington Beach has its eyes set on the 2028 Olympics as it hosts the International Surfing Association's World Surfing Games this weekend.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Huntington Beach has its eyes set on 2028 Olympics as it host International Surfing Association's World Surfing Games.

The games have the chance to catapult not just the surfers but the city onto an Olympic world stage.

Huntington Beach is one of the surfing capitals of the world, so it's the perfect city to host the ISA's World Surfing Games.

Kolohe Andino, a professional surfer who competed in the Tokyo Olympics said, "We take a lot of pride in representing our country well this week and doing our best and defending the pier."

Andino is part of Team USA. He's one of more than 350 surfers from over 50 countries who will take part in eight days of competition. They're all vying for the top spot.

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"I think we have a great team," Andino said. "It should be fun and we have the local knowledge. It's on."

Also, Sally Fitzgibbons, who placed fifth at the Tokyo games for Australia, said, "Sorry to break the U.S. hearts but it's like Aussies all the way."

She added, "So watch out. We're coming for you."

However, there's a lot at stake. The ISA competition in Huntington Beach will serve as an Olympic qualifier for the 2024 games in Paris.

Kelly Miller, president and CEO of Visit Huntington Beach, said, "Because the winning team, both men's and women's, can get one more spot in 2024; that means the world to those who are looking for Olympic gold and it starts here."

"Being back in HB on an Olympic kind of qualifying path is really special," Fitzgibbons said.

In addition, Andino said, "We're all excited to compete against each other and it's rad walking around and seeing everyone in their country's gear and everyone hanging together as a tribe."

It's a tribe Miller hopes to welcome back soon on an even bigger world stage.

"We would love to host the Olympic Games here in 2028 and this is just one more thing that we can say, 'Hey, we have the ability to host world-class events,' as we have been doing for decades," he said.

Miller said adding this Olympic qualifier looks great on the city's résumé.

He said one thing is for sure: The road to Paris 2024 runs through Huntington Beach.

The ISA World Surfing Games start on Saturday and run through Sept. 24.