SUP war: surfers and canoeists fight for the sport's governance

June 18, 2018 | Surfing
SUP: is a surfing or canoeing sport? | Photo: Reed/ISA

The International Surfing Association (ISA) challenged the International Canoe Federation (ICF) to let the courts decide who should rule the sport of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

The organization led by Fernando Aguerre wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to judge whether the SUP should be part of the surfing or canoeing world.

"We have a clearly defined history and tradition for governing SUP. It dates back to 2008 when it was first included as a core discipline in the ISA Guide. Since then, no other international federation has governed SUP in any capacity," notes Aguerre, president of the ISA.

The world governing body for the sport of surfing accuses the ICF of boycotting the inclusion of stand-up paddleboarding in the upcoming, 2018 Youth Olympic Games, in Argentina.

"We had a great plan, an amazing venue, and we were in advanced discussions with the Buenos Aires organizers and the IOC Sports Department, but the ICF's objections caused all that momentum to be lost," adds Aguerre.

"In doing so, the ICF deprived young athletes from around the world the opportunity to take part on the world's greatest youth sporting stage and thus fundamentally prevented the development of SUP."

The war is far from over. Canoeists have just announced the launch of the first ever Stand Up Paddling World Championships. The event gets underway on August 30, in Viana do Castelo, Portugal.

"National canoe federations from all around the world have been working hard for several years to develop SUP as a sport, and now we are seeing the benefits of that hard work," says Jose Perurena, president of the ICF.

In this Spanish-speaking war - Aguerre is Argentinian, Perurena is Spanish - there could only be one winner.

"In November 2017, we proposed that ICF run their stand-up canoe racing, as a subcategory of canoeing. But our proposals were rejected. That is why the ICF should accept our request to go to CAS," concludes Fernando Aguerre. uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more on our About section.