Roberto Pino shone on day one in La Jolla ©ISA

Brazilians started strongly on the opening day of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Para Surfing Championships in La Jolla in California.

A trio of athletes from the South American powerhouse earned the highest totals as the 2016 and 2017 world champion nation looks to reclaim their gold medal.

Roberto Pino topped the charts with 16.83 points as nine men's and women's heats for standing and kneeling divisions took centre stage.

He was the only surfer to earn two waves in the excellent range, with single wave scores of 8 and 8.83.

Alcino Neto and Malu Mendes were other Brazilians to star, scoring 13.83 and 10.5 points respectively.

Defending ISA gold medallist Victoria Feige of Canada also made a good start with 9.10 points in the women's heats.

A record of 131 athletes from 22 countries are taking part at this year's World Championships.

Today's action was preceded by the Opening Ceremony, where each country poured sand from their homeland into a container as part of the Sands of the World Ceremony.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre could not attend as he is recovering from a broken leg, but addressed the ceremony via an audio message.

The Opening Ceremony preceded the first day of action ©ISA
The Opening Ceremony preceded the first day of action ©ISA

"This is a very special edition of the event as we welcome AmpSurf as the title partner for the first time," he said.

"Not too long ago Para-surfers had no platform to compete for national and world titles. 

"Now that has completely changed. 

"We are happy to be the leading organisation that has given the initial key to this movement.

"Over the past few years we have been in touch with the International Paralympic Committee in order to create the possibility for Para-surfing to be a discipline in the Games of the future. 

"We are absolutely committed to its inclusion. 

"I hope that you all have an incredible week of friendship and competition. 

"I encourage you all to continue being ambassadors of Para-surfing, sharing the hope and excitement with others."

The Championships continue tomorrow and will run until Sunday (March 15).