By Nick Butler at the Han Yue Lou Hotel in Nanjing

International Surfing Association President Fernando Aguerre, pictured at the Sports Lab in Nanjing, has painted an optimistic picture about the future of his sport ©ISAInternational Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre has revealed his sport was proposed for the Sports Lab here at the Summer Youth Olympic Games, and, although it was not included for logistical reasons, is confident it will feature on a future Olympic stage.

This is largely due to the development of new wave technology that will be able to produce performance-standard waves anywhere and therefore allow surfing competitions to be held on inland lakes, including in any Olympic host city.

It would ultimately have taken more than the permitted six months to develop such a facility here, where surfing and cable wakeboarding were each initially proposed.

But, with the ISA celebrating its 50th anniversary later this year, Aguerre is delighted with the opportunities it creates for the future, with the ongoing Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process - in which new sports are being proposed for future inclusion - a further bonus.

"Historically we couldn't guarantee the waves, but with this new technology, we really will be able to provide," he told insidethegames during his visit here this afternoon.

"We will produce venues with a very strong legacy, where people can learn, practise and train.

"It would also provide opportunities for new people from non-coastal regions to compete."

Akiko Kiyonaga of Japan participating in the surfing competition at the Asian Beach Games in Kuta Bali ©Getty ImagesAkiko Kiyonaga of Japan participating in the surfing competition at the Asian Beach Games in Kuta Bali ©Getty Images

Aguerre also highlighted the ways by which surfing has grown in recent years, with the sport showcased at the 2008 Asian Beach Games in Kuta Bali, Indonesia.

Although it is not on the programme for the 2014 edition in Phuket, a process is currently underway for it to feature at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

Surfing - like sport climbing, roller sports and wushu, but unlike skateboarding - is a member of the Association of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Recognised International Sports Federations, described as a "waiting-hole" for Olympic inclusion, but also a key stepping stone.

The Argentine admitted that being on the programme would help accelerate the growth of the sport and is focused on the many ways by which he believes surfing would itself add to the Olympic Movement.

"There are many racket sports and ball sports, but no wave sports," he told insidethegames.

"That would be broadening the scope for people who are interested in the Olympics, and you don't really need a lot of specific training to ride waves.

"At the same time, the IOC really like the youth components, and when you think about surfing, you think about young kids in the water.

"Every surfer is also an environmentalist and a humanitarian, and it is a way of life more than just a sport."

With Madagascar and Algeria the two most recent additions, there are now 86 nations affiliated to the ISA, and Aguerre's aim is to have 100 by the end of 2015.

He compared the sport with rugby when claiming how, while at first there was a traditional community of a few surfing hubs - including the United States, France, Spain and Brazil - it has now grown and grown, with Fiji, Indonesia, and Panama cited as newly competitive nations.

He also highlighted the case of Ishita Malaviya, the first professional surfer or surf-instructor from India, as evidence of this ability to embrace all parts of the world and facilitate wider development.

The example of India's first professional surfer, Ishita Malaviya, highlights the growth of the sport ©InstagramThe example of India's first professional surfer, Ishita Malaviya, highlights the growth of the sport ©Instagram

He also claimed surf tourism has bolstered the economies of many countries, and sees it as, unlike many sports, an activity virtually anyone can participate in, with the decreasing cost of boards contributing to this.

Aguerre was keen to point out how surfing was the "mother-sport" of other board sports, such as skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding, and that the enthusiasm with which the IOC has embraced other board sports has given them confidence.

As has been seen in those sports, he did admit that elements of the surfing community see the discipline as an activity rather than a sport and would therefore not want Olympic inclusion, but "for the most part, surfers would love the recognition of being part of the Games".

He also claimed that it is competition which best develops the sport in a high-level sense, leading to the development of new techniques, such as air manoeuvres.

This is something that would only increase if the Olympic ambition is ultimately realised.

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