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.
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).