Gigantic Field of World’s Best Junior Surfers Descends on Surf City El Salvador for the 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

May 3rd, 2024

441 surfers celebrate Opening Ceremony of largest ever ISA WJSC

First time participants, British Virgin Islands, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia, join a total of 54 national teams, setting new record

Surf City El Salvador – May 3, 2024

A staggering 441 of the world’s best junior surfers gathered together today in Surf City El Salvador to celebrate the opening of the 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC).

The record-breaking numbers include representatives from 54 national teams, including four teams, British Virgin Islands, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia, who are present to compete in their very first WJSC.

Opening Ceremony proceedings began with the United Nations Resident Coordinator for El Salvador and Belize, Raul Salazar, delivering a special gift of thanks to ISA President Fernando Aguerre, before the El Salvador National Folk Dance Company performed.

The iconic ISA Sands of the World Ceremony followed, with members of each of the nations pouring sand from their home beaches into one container as a symbol of the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through surfing.

The WJSC has proven itself to be an essential pathway to the Olympic Games, with 40 of the 48 qualified surfers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games having competed in the past. This year two Paris 2024 qualified surfers, Siqi Yang (CHN) and Candelaria Resano (NCG), are present and both represented their national teams on stage.

Twelve former medalists were also amongst the large crowd, including 2023 U/16 Boy’s World Champion Hans Odriozola (ESP), who is back to defend his title. 2023 silver medalists Kohai Fierro (TAH, Girl’s U/18), Lukas Skinner (ENG, Boy’s U/16), and Lanea Mons (USA, Girl’s U/16) were also present as they again begin their individual quests for the gold medals.

Opening Ceremony / Photo: Sean Evans

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“Today, in this world, more than ever, we need more peace. We, all of us, are the proof that peace is possible. Five continents, religions, completely different people, color of skin, political ideas, but we are together here. In a couple weeks the ISA will turn 60. It was just a loose camaraderie group of nations, 10 countries only. Today we are over 114.”

“Thank you President Bukele for believing in surfing. There is surfing in many places, but El Salvador is the first country in the world that has set up a national policy that includes surfing as a development tool. The only thing President Bukele could not organize is the waves, but the waves are coming. We’re going to have ten days of amazing waves, overhead surf every day. Let’s have fun this week. Muchas gracias El Salvador.”

El Salvador Tourism Minister, Morena Valdez, said:

“It is an honor to welcome each and every one of you here. It is an honor not only for me, but for all of our government of President Nayib Bukele. We couldn’t be happier to see you here, the future generation of surf, and have you surfing all of our beaches, from La Bocana, El Sunzal and a lot of other secret spots that I know you’ve been to.

“Thank you so much to the ISA for choosing El Salvador to be a part of all these competitions. Thank you for putting your trust in us since 2019. You could not imagine how happy I am to have you all here, it is truly an honor. Five years ago I couldn’t have imagined that we would be here.”

Competition will begin tomorrow at 7:00am CST with U/18 Boy’s Main Round 1 at La Bocana and U/16 Girl’s Main Round 1 at El Sunzal.

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