After sharing how surfing had personally changed her life, El Salvador Tourism Minister, Morena Valdez stated:
“We’ve always had these waves in El Salvador, but we didn’t have the vision that President Nayib Bukele showed us, a country that grows and opens itself up into the world.
“It is thanks to that idea, to an entire government team, and to Salvadorans throughout the country who continue to believe in us that we are up on this stage today celebrating a new World Surfing Games that is historical for all of us, with 63 delegations present and the best athletes from around the world vying for a chance at the Olympic dream in Paris 2024. A dream that ISA President Fernando Aguerre made possible for us all.
“Fernando, our infinite thanks for being here with us, paddling towards that wave that many thought impossible.”
Furthering her sentiments, Minister Valdez introduced a violinist on stage to present a special musical tribute to ISA President Fernando Aguerre with a beautiful version of the ISA’s anthem “A Better World Through Surfing.”
The performance moved President Aguerre, who was emotional as he welcomed each of the teams and thanked El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, Tourism Minister Morena Valdez and the people of El Salvador.
“This world needs more love, more union, less hate, less wars and less violence. These next ten days in El Salvador are an example and proof that a better world is not just desirable, but it’s possible. It also shows us that here, all of us, the United Nations of surfing, we’re showing the world what it is to live in peace without discrimination for any reason.
“Enjoy these days of waves and friendships. A few of you will go home with medals, but all of you are champions because you are all here in the second Olympic cycle in history.
“The dream of Olympic surfing was just a dream decades ago, but today it’s our reality. For me it was an impossible dream. Many times. But I, like you guys, continued to paddle, and that’s how it became a reality.”
Following the ceremony was a special premiere of the documentary “The Impossible Wave”, which tells the story of Aguerre’s long paddle of securing surfing’s place in the Olympic Games.
Competition will begin tomorrow at 8:00am CST with Men’s Main Round 1 at La Bocana and Women’s Main Round 1 at Sunzal.