Teahupo'o will next year host the surfing event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games  ©  Getty Images

The International Surfing Association (ISA) on Wednesday welcomed authorities' decision to suspend work on Tahiti's Paris Olympics venue.

The work has been stopped after the coral sustained damage during tests last week, leading to the possibility of the Pacific island losing its hosting rights.

A new judges' tower was being planned to replace the current wooden structure for the surfing competitions at the Games, which will take place between 27th and 30th July.

"The French Polynesian government has taken the decision to pause all further testing and preparations to draw lessons following the incident on the reef," the ISA said on social media.

"The ISA was saddened and surprised to see that a test undertaken by the French Polynesian government resulted in the coral reef at Teahupo'o being damaged by a barge.

"The ISA welcomes this decision, and has urged intensified consultations to consider all available options."

On Friday, a construction barge used to install the new tower destroyed more coral on the beach in a new test in the French Pacific territory. The incident was filmed by environmental groups.

French Polynesia's governor, Moetai Brotherson, then questioned whether events at the site could continue.

More than 183,000 people have signed an online petition against the proposed 14-metre-high aluminium judge's tower in the sea, while hundreds have protested at the Teahupo'o site itself.

Local associations argued that the installation would irreparably damage the coral. The organising committee told AFP the wooden tower "has not been up to standard for about 10 years".

"As lifelong surfers, we are passionate about the need to protect the oceans, for us and for future generations," the ISA added.

"We are therefore committed to working with all parties in order to find a common agreement on running the competition while protecting the local, natural environment."