The International Surfing Association (ISA) has referred the ongoing dispute with the International Canoe Federation (ICF) over the governance of StandUp Paddle (SUP) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) Arbitration process, seeking a resolution in the best interests of the athletes and the sport.
The ISA and its National Federations have invested considerable time and money into the sport since 2008; organising the annual ISA World StandUp Paddle Championships, growing the discipline in new markets, and working for SUP’s inclusion in a range of multi-sport events.
The ISA’s long term governance role has been challenged by the ICF since late 2016. After no resolution was found through direct discussions with ICF and then CAS Mediation, and in line with the desires of the Olympic Movement to find a swift solution on the issue, the ISA has formally opened up a CAS Arbitration process.
On 6th July, elite athletes competing on the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) World Tour declared unanimous backing for the ISA. ISA President Fernando Aguerre has called for a full and final resolution of the dispute with the ICF through the CAS process.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“The ISA has always been committed to working in the best interest of the athletes, the Olympic Movement, and the sport of StandUp Paddle, and as such we want to resolve this ongoing issue so that the important work of growing SUP around the world can continue undisturbed, as it was since day one in 2008.
“Since we were regrettably unsuccessful in our efforts to find a solution through CAS mediation, the ISA has now submitted the necessary documents to CAS to begin the Arbitration procedure. Ultimately, the athletes are the most important aspect of any sport, and we will continue to do all we can to serve their best interests. We believe that ending the current dispute through CAS is a sensible way forward and we hope to proceed swiftly to a resolution, for the good of the StandUp Paddle community.
“The ISA, as the long-standing governing body for StandUp Paddle, has been proud to support the growth of the sport over the last decade. The CAS process can now provide clarity about how best that growth can continue.”
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).