Matthew Formston, Australia’s defending Gold Medalist in the visually impaired division
Australia’s defending Gold Medalist in the visually impaired division, Matthew Formston, will defend his title in 2018. Photo by Sean Evans for ISA

The world’s largest competition for surfers with physical challenges returns to La Jolla Shores Wednesday with 120 participants from 24 countries.

The 2018 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship starts with an opening ceremony featuring a parade by athletes of each nation.

Athletes in the competition have surmounted physical challenges ranging from amputations to blindness.

This year 37 of the participants are women — twice as many as last year — and for the first time there is a division for visually impaired female surfers

Opening day competition begins at 1 p.m. and continues until 4:30 p.m. Full-day competition is scheduled Thursday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The competition takes place off Kellogg Park. It’s free and open to the public.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.