In case you don’t remember, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set totally tubular. Forgive the stereotypical vernacular, but yes, that means surfing is making its debut as an Olympic event. This weekend kicks off the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games in La Bocana and El Sunzal is the last opportunity for Olympic hopefuls to accomplish their dream of qualifying.
|What||2021 ISA World Surfing Games|
|Where||Surf City, El Salvador|
|When||Saturday, May 29 - Sunday, June 6, 2021|
|Waves||La Bocana & El Sunzal|
The Competition Field
Like so many competitions, the ISA World Surfing Games really boils down to a battle for champion status; represented by gold, silver, and bronze medals. Nowhere else, however, is the competition field so large. Representing 52 nations across both a men’s and a women’s division, over 250 athletes are competing for a medal at the Surfing Games, as well as a shot at the sport’s inaugural Olympic games.
While there are only three medals available in each division, 12 total spots remain for the Tokyo Games. At the Olympics, 20 men and 20 women will compete for medals. Entering this weekend, seven spots remain open for female qualifiers, while five are still open for the men.
According to the International Surfing Association (ISA), one of the sport’s reigning champions from 2019 has already claimed its spot in Tokyo. Italo Ferreira from Brazil, the 2019 Men’s Champion, claimed his Olympic status after winning the 2019 World Surfing League (WSL) Championship Tour but seeks to defend his World Surfing Games title. The 2018 Women’s Champion, Sofia Mulanovich of Peru has her sights at one of the final spots for the Olympics.
With a field so large, it is impressive that the Surf City El Salvador World Surfing Games last just nine days, from May 29 – June 6. Everything kicks off with the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, with a possible early start to the competition. The games go until the finals and Closing Ceremony next weekend. Not all surfers will ride the same waves, the select locations of El Sunzal and La Bocana will generate the canvas for the athletes to perform on. Each surfer has an allotted amount of time to put together a “run” on the waves. Surfers advance through the competition based on scores received from judges.
How to Watch
There are a number of ways to catch the action from El Salvador at the ISA World Surfing Games. Two easy ways are on the organization’s website and Facebook pages, where it will stream daily. According to the ISA, those in Brazil attempting to stream will be limited to the country’s Olympic Channel, and ESPN in Latin America will carry live coverage as well.