Surfing’s Road to Tokyo Resumes Tomorrow in Surf City El Salvador

May 28th, 2021

Opening Ceremony to inaugurate World Surfing Games – the final Olympic qualifier

ISA President Fernando Aguerre: “Opening Ceremony will inspire and show the world the culture of surf” 

Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez: “Salvadoreans should feel proud that we are showing the world what we are capable of” 

Competition begins Sunday

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Surfing’s final Olympic Qualification event for Tokyo 2020 is set to kick off tomorrow as more than 50 countries vie for 12 open slots in Surfing’s Olympic debut.

On Saturday May 29 the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games will kick off with the festive Opening Ceremony, setting the stage for the upcoming week of competition.

Running from May 29 – June 6, the event will round out the qualification for Surfing’s Olympic debut, defining the 12 remaining slots open for Tokyo 2020. Of the more than 250 competing athletes, the dreams of 5 men and 7 women will come true as they emerge as part of the first wave of Olympic surfers.

28 of the 40 slots for Tokyo 2020 have already been provisionally qualified, with slots earned via the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour, the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games, and the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games.

Isauro Elizondo of Panama getting the feel for the waves at La Bocana. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Tomorrow’s Opening Ceremony will be streamed live on, featuring the ISA’s unique Sands of the World Ceremony where each nation sends a representative on stage to pour sand into a container, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through Surfing.

The world’s best National Surfing Teams will the take to the water starting on Sunday morning, running the opening heats at the two event podiums of El Sunzal and La Bocana.

The driving dignitaries behind the event and Olympic hopefuls gathered on Friday at the official press conference to discuss the competition ahead of the inauguration.

The conference panel included ISA President Fernando Aguerre, Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez, President of INDES Yamil Bukele, Member of Team El Salvador Bryan Perez, and defending women’s World Surfing Games Champion and member of Team Peru, Sofia Mulanovich.

From left to right: Member of Team Peru Sofia Mulanovich, Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez, ISA President Fernando Aguerre, President of INDES Yamil Bukele, and Member of Team El Salvador Bryan Perez. Photo: ISA / Pablo Franco

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“This is my first time in El Salvador. I am super happy to be here and, well, I am a little distracted as I hear the sound of the waves behind me that are calling for me to go surf!

“I want to thank the president, Nayib Bukele, for his vision that surfing is more than a sport. It can be a part of government policies, a route for development of the country, and it can be a before and after for El Salvador. Surf isn’t simply a sport. It’s a culture. It’s a taking care of our oceans, these natural fields of play that nature has given us.

“I am proud to run this event here in a country with waves like this. Waves are the only thing that you cannot plan for during an event, but here it’s not a problem. The waves are coming.

“Tomorrow we are doing a beautiful Opening Ceremony that is going to inspire and show the world the culture of surf.”

Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez, said:

“Putting on this World Championship has truly been a work of the whole country. We want to show the world that El Salvador is a great destination for these type of events. We want to show our new ambassadors of the visiting delegations that this is one of the best countries for surfing, but also to visit, invest, and to live in.

“This is the dream that we are chasing, and look at us now. We are putting on the most important surfing event in history. Salvadoreans should feel proud that we are showing the world what we are capable of.”

President of INDES Yamil Bukele said:

“The moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived. El Salvador has fulfilled its goal of hosting this event, which will qualify the final 12 Olympic surfers, in the best possible way. We hope that our Salvadorean athletes compete well and earn more than one of those Olympic slots. I want to welcome all the athletes from around the world and wish them the best of luck.”

The two Olympic hopefuls on the panel, El Salvador’s Bryan Perez and Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich, also shared their thoughts ahead of the competition.

Perez stressed that he is “super focused and training hard” for the chance to qualify, “anxious to enjoy the event” with his teammates and friends from around the world.

Mulanovich similarly expressed her excitement to be in a “spectacular” country like El Salvador, eager to do her “best surfing” for her country of Peru.”

The 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games runs from May 29 – June 6. Follow the event with live broadcasts, news, videos, photos, schedules, results, and more on

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