ISA postpones World Surfing Games

The International Surfing Association and the government of El Salvador have jointly agreed to postpone the World Surfing Games in light of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition had been scheduled to take place on May 9-17 in the country, but has been provisionally put back to June 6-14. The two parties said the new dates have been set in agreement with the World Surf League.

The World Surfing Games are supposed to act as the qualifier event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with seven women and five men due to be selected to take part in surfing’s debut at the Games. They would round out a total of 20 men and 20 women competing at the Olympics, joining athletes to have qualified through the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour, the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games, and the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

But the ISA said it had noted the decision of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board to step up scenario-planning for the Tokyo 2020 summer Games.

A statement from the surfing federation said: “The ISA will continue to work in close consultation with the IOC in the ensuing days and weeks concerning potential changes to the qualification process, and any eventual contingency plans, in particular related to the role of the WSG in Olympic qualification.

“The ISA continues to be guided by information provided by public health experts and authorities as to the staging of the event. The safety of the athletes and teams, and everyone involved with the WSG, remains the ISA’s highest priority.”

The ISA said it would continue to monitor developments on a daily basis, together with its partners in El Salvador, and will reassess the status of the event on April 20.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre said: “We fully understand and sympathize with the concerns of the surfers from around the world, as we all deal and help with the global efforts to contain this virus. These are very difficult, uncertain times for everyone, which is why we must be more united than ever in our love for the ocean and belief in the future. We are committed to taking a responsible approach, and to getting back into the water as soon as safely possible.”

Hosting the ISA World Surfing Games is part of El Salvador’s five-year “surf-city” strategy which seeks to promote tourism and the country’s beautiful coastline.

The last edition of the event in Miyazaki, Japan attracted 240 athletes from 55 nations.