Paige Hareb said it was "amazing" to see 121 women competing at the World Surfing Games  ©ISA/Ben Reed

International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre has lauded the number of women competing at the World Surfing Games.

There are 121 in action in El Salvador - representing a little under half of all participants - and Aguerre says the figure is testament to the work the governing body has done to promote gender equality.

"We have an incredible record amount of women competing," Aguerre commented.

"There are 121 women here from all continents of the globe, representing the leaps and bounds of growth that women’s surfing has experienced in recent years.

"We’ve made promoting gender equality in surfing an integral part of our mission, and through initiatives such as equal slots in competitions, the ISA Scholarship Program, and free judging courses for women, we are seeing our efforts progress. 

"In the past three editions of the event we’ve seen records broken in female participation, a great sign for the future of the sport.

"Forty-seven per cent of competitors are women at this event, and we hope to get that to 50 per cent soon, if not more."

More than 47 per cent of the athletes competing at the World Surfing Games are women ©ISA/Sean Evans
More than 47 per cent of the athletes competing at the World Surfing Games are women ©ISA/Sean Evans

Paige Hareb is one of the 121 women competing at Surf City, and was asked about the record-breaking field size after coming through a round-two heat along with fellow New Zealander Saffi Vette.

"It's amazing," Hareb said on the ISA broadcast.

"I think the Olympics plays a big part in that, but it's pretty awesome to see that the field's almost 50-50 now with men and women.

"So women's surfing has come a long way and its awesome to see."

Hareb, who is seeking to earn one of the seven available women's quota places for Tokyo 2020 - where surfing will make its Olympic debut - also referenced the number of nations competing at the World Surfing Games, where all six populated continents are represented.

The 265 athletes registered to compete at the event represent 51 different nations.