Extra-special World Surfing Games can bring hope and happiness
I am delighted to be here in El Salvador for the start of the International Surf Association (ISA) World Surf Games (WSG) 2021 Surf City El Salvador (ISA) and look forward to seeing the best surfers in the world pursue their Olympic dreams and compete for coveted gold medals.
The Olympic surfing debut at Tokyo 2020 is also just two months away, which is a wonderful and historic time for our sport. This makes the WSG 2021 the most important of all time – it’s the long-awaited climax of Olympic qualification. We look forward to presenting our sport’s unique values of youth, unity, peace and high performance to a new global audience.
I would like to offer a huge thank you to the organizers of the WSG and the Government of El Salvador for their hospitality and commitment to putting on a world class event. Thank you also to the people of El Salvador for their warm welcome after difficult times – we hope the WSG brings hope and happiness with a great sporting spectacle in the ocean.
The safety of the athletes, staff and residents of El Salvador is, of course, our number one priority, which is why we have implemented a strong biosafety and security plan. It has been a difficult time for everyone, but as we come out of the pandemic it is great to be able to celebrate our incredible sport in beautiful El Salvador.
It’s so exciting that this is the first time El Salvador will host the WSG. La Bocana and El Sunzal are true world-class surf spots and perfect webs for the best in the world to show off their talents.
More than 250 surfers from 51 nations from all continents of the world will compete in the WSG, and they will all fight for the last remaining Olympic places, with 12 up for grabs – seven for women and five for men.
It will be an extra-special World Surfing Games: a record 121 women will compete here, representing 47 percent of the peloton. We are also welcoming new nations as the sport spreads to new corners of the globe. Ukraine, ISA 109se and new member, will participate in the WSG for the first time.
And of course, with Olympic qualifying on the cards, the excitement is even greater this year ahead of the start of Tokyo 2020.
Our planning and preparations for Tokyo are well on track, and despite understandable and necessary restrictions, we are preparing for a grand Olympic celebration that shows the strength of human resilience in the face of adversity. Tokyo 2020 will welcome the very first Olympic surfers and they – along with everyone at ISA – will join the global Olympic community show the power of sport and humanity to overcome challenges.
I am so proud of the ISA’s dedication to making surfing an Olympic sport, and I can’t wait to see this dream come true in just two months. We faced many obstacles in our pursuit of this dream, but we persevered, and now is the time to paddle hard for the final wave to the Olympics. Thank you to the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 for your inspiring vision and leadership. We are confident that Tsurigasaki Beach in Tokyo will be the perfect place to showcase the best of our sport and we look forward to demonstrating the excitement, value and youthful energy that surfing will bring to the Games.
Good luck to all the athletes participating in the WSG – I look forward to seeing you all perform your best and join us in our mission to create a better world through surfing!