The International Surfing Association (ISA) recently held the first-ever development program for StandUp Paddle (SUP) in Iran, continuing its vision to drive the global growth and reach of the sport.
The program, which was held in conjunction with the I.R. Iran Surfing Association and Official ISA Course Presenter, Andy Joyce, took place over April 25-26 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and then April 28-29 on Ashgabad Lake, south of the Iranian capital of Tehran. 34 Iranians from nine different provinces participated in the course, half of whom were women, highlighting the power of the world’s fastest growing water sport to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, and engagement with the country’s youth.
The course was organised with the aim of fostering the early stages of SUP’s development in Iran. To do this, the ISA trained Iranian instructors who can then spread the sport throughout different regions of the country.
The I.R. Iran Surfing Association joined the ISA as its historic 100th member in June of 2016, marking a landmark moment for the global growth of Surfing and SUP in non-traditional Surfing nations. The National Federation has used both sports to unite people of various cultural backgrounds in Iran while promoting inclusivity and empowerment. They are planning to build upon the success of this course by spreading SUP with properly trained instructors and organizing an ISA Surf Level 1 training course in the future.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:
“It’s amazing to witness the impact that SUP is having in Iran to create positive social change – promoting gender equality and engaging the youth to ensure a bright future for the sport.”
“The ISA has been the only International Federation leading the global growth and development of SUP for nearly a decade. This course in Iran exemplifies the efforts that the ISA has undertaken to foster the growth of the sport. In recent years we have seen exponential growth of SUP in non-traditional Surfing nations such as Russia, China, and India, to name a few, all due to ISA leadership and initiatives.
“Last week we announced a historic partnership with the APP World Tour (the SUP world tour). This further solidifies the ISA’s role as the sole governing body of SUP, responsible for the sport’s growth and development as we continue to push for its inclusion in future editions of the Olympic Games.”
President of the I.R. Iran Surfing Association President, Alireza Rostami, said:
“In the short time that the I.R. Iran Surfing Association has been a part of the ISA we have been able to take giant steps in developing and promoting the sports of SUP and Surfing in Iran.
“I have to give a special thanks to ISA President Fernando Aguerre for his leadership, vision, and tremendous support in helping us to push towards the goals we set when we started on this journey.
“SUP and Surfing are relatively new sports in Iran, but they are among the fastest growing sports in the country and we think many young people will soon be enjoying them on the lakes, rivers, and sea in Iran.”
Official ISA Course Presenter, Andy Joyce, said:
“Running these ISA SUP Courses in Iran was an amazing experience for me both personally and professionally. The Iranian culture, sights, and people were amazing and I was thrilled with this opportunity to help train the first generation of SUP instructors.
“I was impressed with the students’ understanding of sports science and how they were able to critically evaluate the ideas and concepts they were presented with in the course.
“Both the students and myself learned a great deal in this ground-breaking initiative that has laid a solid foundation for the future growth of SUP in the country.”
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, 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, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 104 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).