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El Salvador builds on surfing strategy with ISA’s 2020 World Games

Swell lines wrap around the point of El Sunzal, also breaking on the reef of La Bocana, seen further down the coast (by ISA/Ben Reed)

El Salvador has furthered its ‘Surf City’ strategy by landing hosting rights to the 2020 World Surfing Games.

The Central American nation will host the International Surfing Association’s (ISA’s) showpiece event on May 9-17, ahead of the sport’s Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020. The competition, which utilises a dual podium format, will take place across two waves – El Sunzal and La Bocana.

Both surf spots were recently used to host international championships, with the Surf City El Salvador ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship taking to the righthand, cobblestone point break of El Sunzal and the ALAS Latin Pro running at La Bocana, less than a kilometre to the east.

Hosting the World Surfing Games is the next step in El Salvador’s five-year Surf City strategy, which is designed to promote tourism opportunities at the country’s beaches. The 2019 World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan set participation records with 240 athletes from a record-breaking 55 nations competing for Olympic qualification slots. The 2020 Games will offer 12 spots at Tokyo 2020, seven for women and five for men.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre said: “We are very pleased to continue our strong relationship with President Nayib Bukele, Minister (of Tourism) Morena Valdez and the government of El Salvador to bring another ISA World Championship to their beautiful country. The ISA World Surfing Games will bring an unprecedented level of global attention to the country and the nearly unlimited world-class resource that is its year-round waves.”

President Bukele added: “This event will be the window to show our world-class waves and destination: Surf City El Salvador. Our country is open and ready to embrace new ideas, challenges and innovation. With Surf City El Salvador we are showing, with actions, that we have the political will to create a brand, a concept and a world-class destination.

“This Olympic qualifying event is a milestone for Surf City El Salvador and we are certain it will contribute to the consolidation of our beautiful country as a premier destination for surfing.”