The 2021 World Surfing Games are set to be held in May and June under new COVID-19 protocols ©Getty Images

The International Surfing Association (ISA) intends to go ahead with staging the World Surfing Games in El Salvador this year, and is to implement a new health and safety plan in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In cooperation with the El Salvador Government, the ISA has published its health plan for the event - a key qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where surfing is to make its debut.

COVID-19 testing, a decrease in the number of people on-site and procedures for entering El Salvador are some of the key components of the plan.

The World Surfing Games had been due to take place last year, but fell victim to the pandemic.

"It has truly been an unprecedented 12 months for the global world of sport, but we are ready to return to competition under a thorough and comprehensive safety plan," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

"We are confident that, in partnership with the Government of El Salvador, we can run the event in a manner to keep all athletes, staff and stakeholders safe. 

"We continue to be vigilant and up-to-date with the latest recommendations and protocol from health experts within and outside of our organisation.

"This will be a major milestone for surfing and the most significant edition of the World Surfing Games in history.

"We will award 12 slots for Tokyo 2020 and will finally gain the full picture of who will participate in the Olympic surfing competition that is to come this summer.

"I would like to extend my gratitude to all the athletes that have waited so patiently during these difficult times without sport, while going to great lengths to stay in competition form.

"They will finally get a chance to shine on the global stage and given an opportunity to raise their country flag at the Olympic Games."

ISA President Fernando Aguerre has stated he is
ISA President Fernando Aguerre has stated he is "confident" the World Surfing Games can be held with COVID-19 protocols to keep all attending safe ©Getty Images

Scheduled for May 29 to June 6, the World Surfing Games will be the last qualification competition for the Olympics, offering seven berths for women and five for men.

As well as individual honours, athletes will also compete for the Team World Champion trophy, awarded to the country whose athletes accumulate the most points.

Each team is comprised of up to three men and three women.

El Sunzal and La Bocana are set to host the World Surfing Games, separated by just 10 miles in an area known as Surf City.

Kisakihama Beach in Japan staged the World Surfing Games in 2019, when Brazil won the team title.