Belek, Turkey, 9 April 2014 - In front of key Olympic family members, the International Surfing Association [ISA] today hosted a special live demonstration of StandUp Paddle [SUP], one of the sport’s most popular and fastest growing disciplines. As part of the world governing body’s plan to step up its aim for inclusion in the Olympic Games Sports Programme, the demonstration was carried out by Denmark’s 2013 ISA World SUP Racing Champion, Casper Steinfath. ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, was also present.
The ISA, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, now has 82 Member Federations across all five continents including landlocked countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Hungary. The aim is to reach 100 Member Federations by the end of 2015.
An action sport that is intrinsically youthful, Surfing is a unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and culture. Of the 35 million people who surf across the globe, it is estimated that 14 million are aged 12-24.
The ISA also used the SportAccord platform to promote new, innovative wave pool technology to Olympic leaders that will make Surfing more accessible to the Olympic Games and other multi-sport events, as well as illustrating the development and growing profile of SUP racing.
Speaking about the SUP demonstration and the future of Surfing, ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“In its 50th year, the ISA continues to grow at a great pace and the fact we now have 82 Member Federations underlines our trajectory and direction. We are seeing huge growth in new markets such as Asia, Africa and South America and the booming popularity in these markets shows the universality of Surfing and SUP racing and its great appeal amongst young people.”
“The essence of surfing lies in progression and innovation and it’s fantastic that we can now talk seriously about the affordable, state-of-the-art wave pool technology that is revolutionizing our sport. The new technology will be capable of consistently delivering two metre high (6 feet), 120 metre long (390 feet), high performance waves. This is a real game changer for Surfing and it eliminates the main obstacle that has stood between our sport and the Olympic Games in the past.”
“We are also very excited about the new spirit of change that the IOC is now embracing. With President Bach’s commitment to an open debate about the Olympic Sports Programme, we believe that this is the time for Surfing to step up its efforts for Olympic inclusion. We have just seen in Sochi how new action sports have refreshed and redefined the Winter Games and we firmly believe that Surfing can have a similar impact on the Summer Programme.”
2013 ISA World SUP Racing Champion, Casper Steinfath, said:
“It’s great to be here at SportAccord to showcase SUP racing to the delegates. SUP and Surfing in general has really taken off in Europe and other non-traditional markets and we hope to continue that expansion to other new frontiers around the world. “Surfing is a cool and dynamic sport and it’s very popular amongst young people so inclusion in the Olympic Games would bring a whole new, youthful audience for the Olympic Movement. Surfers around the world are committed to helping the sport become part of the Olympic Programme, and for our athletes, participating in the Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of their career.