ISA's 1st World Surfing Games was held in 1964 at Manly Beach, Australia and now it is a key step on the road to the Olympics for surfing. 20 men and 20 women will represent their countries as surfing takes place for the first time ever in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. All of the qualified surfers will represent 17 different countries ranging from Peru to China.

Team France, Women Winners, President Pablo Franco Fernando Aguerre, Joan Duru

The International Surfing Association just held the 2021 World Surfing Games from May 29th to June 6th in El Salvador! A variety of national teams competed for the remaining 12 Olympic spots. France came in 1st place while Japan took Silver, and Portugal took Bronze, with Peru following up in 4th. Sally Fitzgibbons won for the women, her third ISA win, while Joan Duru of France was on top for the men, who merely returned to training 4 weeks prior due to losing financial support during the pandemic.

7 women qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the WSG- Yolanda Sequeria (POR), Teresa Bonvalot (POR), Daniella Rosas (PER), Leilani McGonagle (CRC), Mahina Maeda (JPN), Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN), and Pauline Ado (FRA). 5 men also gained a qualification- Leon Glatzer (GER), Miguel Tudela (PER), Lucca Mesinas (PER), Manuel Selman (CHI), and Hiroto Ohhara (JPN).

It is really great to see that surfing as a sport has gained the global recognition it has been long without. There are mixed emotions about it taking the Olympic stage but many see it as an opportunity for the sport to diversify and take competition to a new, unique, and even more challenging level. Many countries are not represented in the WSL like in the ISA and other surfing competitions, so that makes the World Surfing Games a crucial qualifying competition for the Olympics. We are going to see surfers from very different backgrounds in Tokyo and that is really special.

The Surfing Olympians in attendance at the World Surfing Games were invited to take the stage at the end of the event to receive their recognition for becoming a big part of surfing history as the WSG was the last qualifier event for the Tokyo Olympics. All 40 athletes have been qualified through four qualifying events, 2019 WSL CT, 2021 World Surfing Games, 2019 World Surfing Games, and 2019 Pan American Games. Sights are now set on Tokyo!

Fitzgibbons, McGonagle, Ado, Rosas, Sequeira, Maeda all pictured in no particular order

“Surfing has finally arrived as a global sport. It’s got the recognition now. We are going to the Olympics. It’s cool to have that as a milestone in my career. I want to go as long as I can in the sport because I love it.” -Sally Fitzgibbons via IsaSurf

Media content courtesy of ISA!


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