ISA President Fernando Aguerre at the Opening Ceremony ©ISA/Ben Reed

An Opening Ceremony marked the start of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games today in El Salvador.

A total of 256 athletes from 51 nations travelled to El Salvador for the Games, which is the final Olympic qualifier for Tokyo 2020.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre thanked El Salvador for hosting the event, with the official praising the resilience of athletes and the sport after a challenging 2020.

"Today we are here proving the resilience of the human race," Aguerre said during the Opening Ceremony.

"The resilience of life and resilience of nothing less than surfing.

"In front of the obstacles, the pandemic, we are present here today.

"With the power of love for life, for hope, mankind needs us and we are here making history."

The Opening Ceremony featured the ISA’s traditional Sands of the World Ceremony.

The ISA expect competition to begin tomorrow ©ISA/Sean Evans
The ISA expect competition to begin tomorrow ©ISA/Sean Evans

Representatives of each participating country took to the stage and poured sand from their local beaches into a container.

Organisers are hopeful competition will begin tomorrow in El Salvador, despite 18 positive COVID-19 cases being reported yesterday.

The individuals to have tested positive, including 11 athletes, have been quarantined in hotel rooms under protocols agreed prior to the event with the El Salvador Government.

Samples are set to be re-tested to determine whether any false positives were recorded.

Should the retests come back positive, the athletes to have tested positive will be unable to compete at the Games.

The event will be based around El Sunzal and La Bocana, with the location dubbed Surf City.

Action is expected to take place until June 6, when finals and the Closing Ceremony are due to take place.

Surfers who secure the final 12 Olympic berths for Tokyo 2020 are set to be honoured at the Closing Ceremony.

For a picture gallery of the Opening Ceremony, click here.