SPORTS

Junior Pro To Promote Water Safety At Sigatoka Sand Dunes

The Powerade Junior Pro competition is expected to boost surfing in the country, says Fiji Surfing head coach Ian Portingale. Portingale confirmed that 45 surfers would be participating this weekend
01 Sep 2016 08:16
Junior Pro To Promote Water Safety At Sigatoka Sand Dunes

The Powerade Junior Pro competition is expected to boost surfing in the country, says Fiji Surfing head coach Ian Portingale.

Portingale confirmed that 45 surfers would be participating this weekend with 20 being international surfers.

“We are not only teaching the sport we are also teaching water safety,” he said.

“I know there has been a dangerous environment, people go missing or get injured but there’s a lot more injuries with people playing rugby or netball.

“In surfing we hit the reef, most of the time it’s a bounce, there’s not too many bad injuries from it.

“It’s an international competition with 18 and under, 16 and under for boys and girls.

“In both divisions we got a strong field of about 20 internationals coming up against 25 locals so we are looking at 45 competitors.

“It’s based on normal international judging rules from judges that have been trained by World Surfing League.”

Portingale added that although response from local surfers on the competition has been slow, the sport could be a huge attraction.

“But in the past when there has been a competition in Fiji that’s quite traditional it is left to the last minute so we are trying to change that slowly by promoting it and talking to a lot of them.

“While surfing is an old sport, it is a huge tourism market, every second person that gets off a plane is carrying a surf board so we are attracting them and they tend to leave behind surf boards so we are trying to encourage more of the locals,” he said.

Portingale started surfing in 1964 and was a state champion in Australia.

While he will be in the country for the next 12 months, Portingale says, he agrees with the outgoing national 7s coach Ben Ryan’s statements.

“Sometimes as a coach it’s not about the money it’s about the challenge,” he said.

The opening ceremony is at Club Masa, Sigatoka, tomorrow at 3.30pm.

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