France, 1965: Joël De Rosnay (left) meets Rod Sumpter and Wheels Williams

The French Surfing Federation is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In 1964, Guy Petit, the mayor of the coastal town of Biarritz, founded the Fédération Française de Surf in a local tourist office. It is probably one of the oldest national governing bodies for the sport of surfing in the world.

One year later, the first ever French Surfing Championships get underway at Anglet. European surfing would never be the same without the French contribution.

"France has a special connection to surfing and the sport resonates with the young people of our nation. Over the past 50 years we have seen surfing grow in France, and it makes us very proud to have contributed to the sport's global development," explains Jean-Luc Arassus, president of the Fédération Française de Surf.

The 50th anniversary was marked by a special beach event for the public in Biarritz, with surfing demonstrations and friendly competitions taking place. In October, more than 450 surfers will ride waves for titles at the French Surfing Championships.

"On our journey towards Olympic inclusion, the FFS is a wonderful partner to help our sport grow, and we look forward to our ongoing work together to expand surfing's positive message values around the world," adds Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Federation.

Joël De Rosnay is the first French surfing champion.

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