Countries You’d Never Expect to Be Competing At the ISA World Surfing Games

Surfing’s official induction as an Olympic event has been rife with controversy. Central to arguments against are questions about the viability of surfing in landlocked countries that hope to host the Games – and in some cases open questions about whether or not Japan has waves (for the record, they do).

The ISA was instrumental in the push to include surfing in the Olympics. Fitting since, for some time, they have organized the World Surfing Games in which athletes compete as a member of their national team for a shot at the gold medal. And this year, as we’ll likely see in Tokyo, there are a handful of teams competing that are a little unexpected. Here are 5 teams you might not know even had a surf team:

1. Sweden

Sweden certainly boasts a significant coastline, but unlike their Norwegian neighbors that boast more exposure to North Atlantic swell, the majority of the Swedish coast skirts the Baltic Sea, with limited fetch potential. Still, the Swedes boast their own brand of Nordic stoke, as displayed here by Sweden’s Tim Latte.

2. Denmark

To get waves in Denmark, surfers must rely on the fickle North Sea. Emilie Uttrup doesn’t care. The only Danish competitor, here she is on a recent trip to Bali.

3. Switzerland

Switzerland is completely landlocked. In other words, no ocean surfing. There are however tons of defined river surfing spots. From the looks of it, they serve as a great training ground for the likes of Michael Zaugg and friends.

4. Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world. Almost double the size of Canada, which is the next largest. And yet surfing in Russia sounds strange. Like an oxymoron or something. There is in fact surfing in Russia, though. Here’s Russian surf team member Rasshivaev Sergey giving it a go. Looks cold!

5. Guatemala

It’s funny. Central America is a common surf destination these days. But between the point breaks of El Salvador, beach breaks of Nicaragua, and world class waves of Costa Rica and Panama, Guatemala is often overlooked. I can’t say I’ve seen a single surf clip from Guatemala. But there is in fact surf in Guatemala, good surf from the looks of it. Next surf trip anyone?

Source: The Inertia

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