El Salvador has seen a bit of a surfing renaissance over the past few years. Young phenoms, like Bryan Perez, are elevating the country's talent pool to championship tour levels. Perhaps more pertinent is that after hitting a bad rep through the 70s onwards, El Salvador is now a much safer place to visit, with the main tourism areas starting to see an uptick in trade.
Oh and the waves are world-class, of course. It's the venue for this year's ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, which got under way over the weekend. In light of that, here're 9 things to know about the event.
Spot guide: El Salvador
The ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship will take place in El Salvador for the first time in the event's eight-year history.
El Sunzal will take centre stage during the World Championship, a magnet for picking up southern hemisphere swell. The cobblestone point provides long waves with open faces that will play a role in the SUP Surfing, SUP Technical Race, and SUP Distance Race.
How to watch online
The World Championship will be streamed live on ISA HERE from November 24 - December 1. Visit the event site for results, photos, videos and news about the competition.
Fans will also be able to watch the live webcast on the ISA's Facebook page, International Surfing Association.
The past Gold Medalists
A contingent of past ISA Gold Medalists will represent their nations and aim to add to their medal count.
Casper Steinfath (DEN), Candice Appleby (USA), Connor Baxter (USA), Zane Schweizer (USA), Jade Howson (USA), Izzy Gomez (COL), Titouan Puyo (FRA), and Arthur Carvalho (BRA) have all earned Gold in past editions and will compete in El Salvador.
The ISA's global leadership of SUP
The ISA has been committed to the global leadership, development and promotion of SUP for over a decade, including having organized the World Championship for SUP and Paddleboard since 2012.
Through development programs, scholarships for young SUP athletes, and promoting Championships at the national level, SUP has experienced explosive growth under the ISA's leadership and governance.
The ISA presented both Surfing and SUP to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for inclusion in the Olympic Sports Program. Tokyo 2020 elected to include only Surfing in the Games and not SUP, however achievements such as inclusion in the 2019 Pan American Games and 2017 Central American Games, under the ISA's leadership, have added momentum to the ISA's push for inclusion in future editions of the Games.
Junior World Champions
In 2018 the ISA crowned the first-ever Junior (U-18) World Champions in the Technical Race. USA showed their promising up-and-coming youth movement and swept the Gold Medals with Ryan Funk winning the Boy's Division and Jade Howson the Girl's Division.
In 2019 the ISA will continue to crown Junior World Champions to create a platform for young athletes to develop.
The World Championship features eight medal-awarding disciplines, including:
Men's and Women's SUP Technical Race
Boy's and Girl's Under-18 SUP Technical Race
Men's and Women's Paddleboard Technical Race
Men's and Women's SUP Distance Race
Women's and Women's Paddleboard Distance Race
Men's and Women's SUP Sprint Race
Team Relay Race
Men's and Women's SUP Surfing
The World Championship will feature four separate race courses for the Technical Race, Distance Race, Sprint Race and Team Relay Race.
The courses are designed to challenge the world-class athletes with various conditions while displaying the beauty of the coast of El Sunzal.
View the race course maps here.
SUP Sprint Races
Long Distance Races
Technical Race Preliminary Rounds
Team Relay Preliminary Rounds
Team Relay Final
Technical Race Finals
November 28 - December 1
The schedule is subject to change.
The Support & #SurfCity
The ISA has thanked the government of El Salvador, and especially the President, Nayib Bukele, who has been the driving source of support behind the World Championship. The ISA is thrilled that President Bukele and his government have made surfing a strategic priority, with "Surf City" as part of a five-year plan to promote tourism on El Salvador's beautiful beaches.