ISA Brings its World StandUp Race Champion to SportAccord in Belek for Special Live Demo of StandUp Paddle

Posted - News Posted for ISA News.

Part of ISA 50th Anniversary Celebrations throughout 2014

The International Surfing Association is pleased to announce that its 2013 World StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing Champion Casper Steinfath from Denmark will be joining the ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, at SportAccord in Belek, Turkey on April 9 for a special live demonstration of one of Surfing’s most popular and fastest growing disciplines.

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ISA President Fernando Aguerre along with Denmark’s Casper Steinfath after Steinfath’s Gold Medal Technical Race win at the 2013 ISA World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship in Peru

“I’m super stoked to come to Belek and support the ISA’s promotion of our great sport,” said Steinfath who narrowly defeated Australian legend, Jaime Mitchell at the 2013 ISA World Championships in Lima, Peru. “SUP is taking off in Europe and the rest of the world and I can’t wait to get in the water, cool off, and have fun with the SportAccord participants.”

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A unique moment of peace and unity between fellow competitors Jamie Mitchel (AUS, left) and Casper Steinfath (DEN, right) as they approach the finish line

The ISA is also celebrating it’s 50th anniversary throughout 2014 with a series of events and initiatives including Steinfath’s participation in SportAccord. As the World Governing Body for surfing and wave sports, the ISA has been crowning world champions in the sport since 1964 and has seen its membership grow to 81 Members this year with the recent recognitions of national federations in Belgium, Hong Kong, Poland, São Tomé and Príncipe, The Gambia and Nigeria.

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ISA President Fernando Aguerre, pictured here during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama, is honored and excited to achieve 50 years of the ISA developing the sport of surfing around the world, and is looking forward to celebrating this milestone in 2014

 The ISA has set a goal to recognize 100 national federations by the end of 2015.

“These new territories underline our sport’s trajectory and expansion,” said Aguerre who will be in Belek and promoting Surfing and SUP to Olympic leaders. “What may have started as a niche activity in handful of coast-lined countries of the world back when we got started in 1964, is now a truly universal and global sport”

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Alfred Lomax is Liberia’s first surfer and two-time National Champion. The 2010 trophy was branded using a metal bucket handle that was heated in coal fire. Liberia joined the ISA as its 71st Member Nation in 2012 and has developed a thriving surfing community.

Aguerre will also be using the opportunity of the SportAccord Convention in Belek to promote new venue technology to Olympic Movement leaders that will make the sport of Surfing more accessible to multi-sport events and the Olympic Games, as well as to illustrate the progress of the ISA’s development of SUP Racing and Surfing.

“One of the biggest obstacles to Surfing in the Olympic Games has been a consistent, reliable venue to ride waves, but this technology has the potential to change all that,” said Aguerre. “Surfing is one of the fastest growing sports among youth around the world and we understand well how important this demographic is to the Olympic Movement.  Wave pool technology will change the landscape for future high performance surfing and competitive opportunities everywhere and opens the door for our sport to major multi-sport games.”

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An aerial view of the showroom version of the Wavegarden wave pool in Spain. By late 2014 to early 2015, a full performace wave pool will be built in many locations around the world that will deliver 2-meters waves in height and 120 meters in length.

With the capacity to deliver a 2-meter (6-7 foot) high, 120-meter (400 foot) long wave suitable for high performance surfing every 60 seconds, the technology would allow for a consistent, reliable venue even in locations where there is no ocean and potentially using existing Olympic venues. There are already 10 facilities around the world in development that are expected to be completed towards the end of 2014 and early 2015.

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“The speed is perfect” –Dane Reynolds (USA),

Aguerre will also be pushing the case for SUP with the help of his Danish star Steinfath.  Practiced in both racing and surfing formats, SUP has gained an enormous global following, and could be even easier for Olympic and multi-sport organizers to integrate, depending on the local venue infrastructure.

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Casper Steinfath leading the pack of the SUP Technical Race on his way to winning a Gold Medal

For the past three years, the ISA has been running world championships in SUP, and has consistently seen the number of participating athletes and countries grow. There are already 40 ISA Member Nations with SUP teams, and many of them are expected to compete at the 3rd annual ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in Nicaragua in May.

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The start of the StandUp Paddle Technical Race featuring the world’s best StandUp Paddlers, where Casper Steinfath (center in red jersey) went on to win Denmark’s first Gold Medal in an ISA World Championship

“Because SUP is easier to practice, and can be done on waves or flatwater, it offers an additional element of universality to the Olympic Movement,” Aguerre added.

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Casper Steinfath holding on to his Gold Medal during the Closing Ceremony of the ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddlboard Championship