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World Surfing Games now postponed indefinitely

Noé Mar McGonagle of Costa Rica rides a wave before winning first place in the open men division as part of the Alas Latin Pro 2019 at El Tunco beach on November 16 in La Libertad, El Salvador. (Photo by Camilo Freedman/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images)

The International Surfing Association has reached an agreement with the government of El Salvador to postpone the World Surfing Games until further notice.

The ISA announced last week that the event, originally scheduled for May 9-17 in the country, had been provisionally put back to June 6-14. The Games have now been postponed indefinitely, with the ISA stating that the event could possibly take place in the “latter half” of 2020.

The decision has been made after this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo were rescheduled for 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Surfing is due to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

The ISA will continue to work with its partners in El Salvador and other stakeholders, including the World Surf League (WSL), to determine new dates for the Games. The ISA said it “fully supports” the International Olympic Committee’s decision to stage the Olympics from July 23 to August 8 next year, with wave conditions at this time of year set to be conducive to a successful surfing event.

The ISA will work with the IOC in the coming weeks to discuss the ongoing qualification process for the Tokyo Games and the role the World Surfing Games can play in this. The IOC has confirmed that all previously-earned qualification spots remain valid for the rescheduled Olympics and with this in mind, the qualifying status of the 2020 World Surfing Games and applicable eligibility requirements will remain in place until further notice.

The status of El Salvador’s World Surfing Games will be reassessed on May 1. Ten Olympic qualification places are set to be up for grabs in El Salvador.

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 coastline.

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