The World Junior Surfing Championships have been declared open ©ISA/Sean Evans

Huntington Beach Mayor Erik Peterson declared the 2019 World Junior Surfing Championships open as athletes prepare to battle it out for prizes at the week-long event.

Peterson was joined at the launch of the Championships by Visit Huntington Beach chief executive Kelly Miller and International Surfing Association (ISA) executive director Robert Fasulo.

Surf brand VISSLA, who have continued their sponsorship of the Championships, were represented by their President Paul Naude.

Peterson welcomed athletes to Huntington Beach, which is hosted the Championships for a second successive year.

"It's amazing to have surfers from all around the world here again," he said.

"We had you all last year, and we want you all again in the future."

The Opening Ceremony saw the 44 competing nations participate in a Parade of Nations at the main street in Huntington Beach.

A member of each nation poured sand from their local beach into a container.

The ISA claim the "Sands of the World" act symbolises the peaceful gathering of nations through surfing.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, who was not able to attend in person, reflected on the theme of peace in a voice message played at the ceremony.

"We are gathering here today to show the leaders of the world that peace between the people is a possibility and reality,” Aguerre said.

"We are all building a better world through surfing.

"A few of you have already won a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but many of you will very likely be Olympic surfers in 2024 at the Paris Games.

"At the end of this week, some of you will go home with medals, but you are all already champions for being here today representing your nation as members of your national surfing teams."

A total of 342 surfers are competing at the Championships, according to the ISA, which will crown the top junior surfers in under-18 and under-16 events.

Each nation can field a team of up to 12 competitors, consisting of three under-18 men's and women's athletes.

Three under-16 surfers can also be named for both genders.

Surfers compete individually, but will also earn points which add to the overall team total.

Competition takes place until next Sunday (November 3).