Paddling Industry News SUP Clears Major Olympic Hurdle; Governance Awarded to ISA

SUP Clears Major Olympic Hurdle; Governance Awarded to ISA


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Supping as an Olympic sport, anyone?

The sup world’s road to the Olympics got a boost recently with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) awarding the governance of SUP to the International Surfing Association (ISA) at the Olympic level.

The long-awaited resolution caps years of conflict between organizing bodies ISA, which handles surfing, and the International Canoe Federation, which governs the Olympics’ other paddling disciplines.

Sup Officials Excited

ISA officials says the decision reaffirms the organization’s deep commitment to the overall global growth and development of SUP over the years, including investing and defending the sport to serve the best interests of its athletes, national federations, local SUP events and fan base. The decision, its leaders add, allows the ISA to focus and accelerate the international growth and popularity of the sport.

Sup Olympics
Itzel Delgado is handed his homeland flag for Peru upon his win at the ISA World Championships. Photo by Sean Evans/Courtesy ISF

“At the end of this long and difficult paddle, we are both relieved and gratified by this important decision by CAS,” says ISA president Fernando Aguerre. It validates our years of passion, commitment and leadership. The global SUP community now looks forward to an exciting future for SUP and its athletes. This includes our long-term ambition to see the sport included in the Olympics under the leadership and authority of the ISA.”

“The decision is a team gold medal for the sport and the ISA,” he adds.

As the International Sport Federation responsible for SUP at the Olympic level, the ISA now has a clear path to help make SUP an Olympic event, just as the competitive sport of surfing recently became.

Athletes stoked

SUP athletes are also excited about the decision as well.

“As an athlete, but also ISA vice-president, I’m truly stoked for this outcome,” says Casper Steinfath, a former SUP World Champion. “We’re pleased to put this legal process behind us and eager to get back to expanding global opportunities for SUP athletes and the sport. As we saw at the Pan Am Gameslast summer in Lima, Peru, stand-up paddling can add amazing value to multi-sport competitions like the Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, and other Continental Games.”


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