With 48% female participation among 129 competitors, the 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Longboard Championship has set the record for women’s participation. On the second day of competition the record number of female surfers put longboard’s growth and progress on display, stepping into the spotlight with top performances and high scores.

Brazil’s Luana Soares took advantage of the glassy morning conditions and an increase in swell at El Sunzal to notch the top heat total of Sunday’s competition (16.33), capped off by a 9.33 wave score, the highest of the event thus far among all competitors. Soares completed several critical noserides on a solid set wave that reeled down the cobblestone point.

“El Salvador has fantastic, magic waves, and lets you perform beautiful surfing,” said Soares. “I gave it my best and it went really well.”

In one of the most anticipated heats of the day Hawaii’s Honolua Blomfield, the 2018 ISA Bronze Medalist, faced off against the two-time defending Gold Medalist, France’s Alice Le Moigne. Not wasting any time in the heat, Blomfield started off with a bang, earning an excellent range ride that would add to her 16.20 heat total, the second highest of the day. Le Moigne’s 12.43 comfortably let her advance in second place, sending Philippines’ Daisy Valdez and South Africa’s Roxy Davis to the repechage round.

USA’s Rachael Tilly (16.17) and Costa Rica’s Lia Diaz (15.5) also scored waves in the excellent range, heading strong into Main Event Round 3.

Cindy Portillo made the host country proud, earning a 12.93 total to win her Main Event Round 2 heat and become the last Salvadoran surfer remaining in the Main Event. All three of her teammates have fallen to the repechage rounds and will have to take the long route to advance through the event to a medal.

“It’s very exciting to continue alive (in the Main Event) and represent my country,” said Portillo. “I feel very happy just as all the Salvadorans here feel. Being at home, there is a lot of pressure, but it also feels beautiful hearing all the Salvadorans, my team, my people, cheering me on. It inspires me.”

For the men, Japan’s Kai Hamase was once again one of the standouts. After sharing the honour for top heat total on day 1 with Hawaii’s Kaniela Stewart, on day 2 Hamase’s excellent 16-point round 2 total stood alone as the best male total of the day. Hamase, who narrowly missed a medal with a 7th place finish at the 2023 edition of the event, has established himself early as a strong medal contender in 2024.

Stewart’s 15.57 round 2 heat total followed Hamase’s as the second best men’s total of the day, while Peru’s Sebastian Cardenas (15.34), France’s Edouard Delpero(15.30), and Australia’s Declan Wyton (15.23) also advanced with strong scores into Main Event Round 3.

While England’s Ben Skinner didn’t earn one of the top heat totals, he put on an electric performance to win his Round 2 heat with a 9.17 single wave score, the highest of the men thus far in the event.

“The first half of our heat, it turned off,” said Skinner. “It’s the way it goes. Then a big set came and the first wave was bumpy and hard. The second one I picked was really clean and had a nice wall to it. I’m stoked to get into the excellent range and keep going.”

The first three heats of Men’s Repechage Round 1 capped off the day of competition, resulting in the first eliminations in the event. Five surfers from Venezuela, Ecuador, Ireland, South Korea, and Dominican Republic bowed out of the competition.

Competition will resume on Monday, April 22, at 7 a.m. local time with a day full of Men’s and Women’s repechage rounds.