51 Nations to Compete for Olympic Qualification in El Salvador

May 22nd, 2021

256 surfers to compete on their National Surfing Teams at the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games  

121 women set female participation record for third consecutive year

12 Tokyo 2020 slots up for grabs

256 surfers from 52 nations across all continents of the globe are set to gather for the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games May 29 – June 6 in the coastal town of El Tunco.

The 256 surfers who will vie for Gold are the most in the modern-era of the event since 2013 when the divisions were narrowed to include only Men’s and Women’s shortboard. The increase in participation comes with 12 Olympic slots on the line – 7 for women and 5 for men – as surfers from all around the globe look to earn their path to the greatest stage in sport at Tokyo 2020.

View the full list of countries and team rosters here.

The 121 women that make up 47% of the field have broken the World Surfing Games record for female participation for the third consecutive year. In 2019, 103 women competed, comprising 42% of participants.

The continued growth in women’s participation is testament to the ISA’s continued commitment to promoting gender equality in the sport through initiatives such as equal opportunity in competition, a Scholarship Program for U-18 surfers, and free judging development programs just for women.

Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich and Brazil’s Italo Ferreira will both return to defend their 2019 Titles earned in Miyazaki, Japan.

The 37-year-old Mulanovich, who earned her first Gold Medal at the 2004 edition of the event, returned 15 years later in 2019 to add to an already illustrious career with her second individual World Surfing Games Gold Medal. Mulanovich will look to become one of the 7 women to qualify for Surfing’s debut in the Olympics.

The provisionally-qualified Olympian and reigning World Surf League Champion, Ferreira, will bolster the super-star squad of defending Team World Champion Brazil. Joining Ferreira will be Olympic teammates Gabriel Medina, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Silvana Lima along with top surfers Filipe Toledo and Júlia Santos.

Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons will go for her third World Surfing Games Gold, having won the event in 2008 and 2018. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Team Australia enters the event as a strong contender to challenge Brazil. The Australians are the only other nation to have all four provisionally Olympic qualifiers competing – Julian Wilson, Owen Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Steph Gilmore.

The Team World Champions of 2017, France, and 2018, Japan, also have strong rosters of their own, featuring three soon-to-be Olympians each. Both nations will look to round out their Olympic squads with a fourth member, as both nations have a remaining slot open for a potential women qualifier.

With Olympic qualification on the line, the sport’s top emerging talent are among those who will be in search of their ticket to Tokyo 2020. Italy’s Leonardo Fioravanti, France’s Vahine Fierro and Pauline Ado, Spain’s Aritz Aranburu, Japan’s Mahina Maeda, Costa Rica’s Carlos Muñoz, Indonesia’s Rio Waida, and the 2018 Men’s World Surfing Games Champion, Argentina’s Santiago Muñiz, to name a few, are among those who will be in the running to qualify.

France’s Vahine Fierro will be one of the Olympic hopefuls looking for her ticket to Tokyo. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Competing alongside the top surfers in the world, the ISA will also welcome two nations to the event for the first time in history: Algeria and Ukraine. Ukraine recently joined the ISA as the newest and 109th member nation, while a new entity, Club Des Sports De Glisse, was named the official National Federation in Algeria. Both teams will send surfers to join the global surfing community and go for their shot at qualifying for the Olympics.

Other non-traditional nations will make their presence known, exemplifying the increased global reach of the sport. Countries such as Afghanistan, American Samoa, Iran, Senegal, and Guatemala will field athletes to surf for their national teams.

Team Nicaragua will feature three sisters competing for their nation: Valentina, Candelaria, and Maxima Resano. Despite the oldest sister, Valentina, being just 17 years old, between the three of them they have a trove of experience at ISA Global Events, both in the World Surfing Games and VISSLA World Junior Surfing Championship.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“These are historical times for surfing. We will crown ISA World Surfing Games Champions and complete the qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Once again, we will get to unite the world in peace through our sport’s community, youth, and love.

“While we had to wait a year, the 2021 edition of the World Surfing Games will certainly be one of the most special in history. It has been a challenging time for all around the world, but we have demonstrated our resilience. Our sport and community are stronger than ever.

“From a record number of women, to the world’s best surfers flying their flags, there are many reasons to be excited about what this event and the future of surfing behold.

“I would like to give a huge thanks to the government of El Salvador, the organizers of the event, as well as to the people of El Salvador for the warm welcome and strong support.”

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