As the battle for governance of standup paddling rages on between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF), the debate about which entity is worthy to control the sport is drawing attention from well beyond the standup paddling community.
With the prospect of SUP in the Olympics looming on the not-so-distant horizon, the right to control the sport has gained perceived value and both the ISA and ICF are staking claim. The ISA, which is the first, current and only internationally governing body in the history of SUP, claims they are the rightful proprietors because SUP is a form of surfing that employs a paddle. Meanwhile the ICF, the entity challenging the ISA for the rights to govern the sport, claims SUP is a form of canoeing in a standing position, thus their federation is more suitable to manage the sport.
The debate may seem trivial to those without a vested interest, but there’s enough at stake for the two bodies to seek mediation by the court of arbitration for sport, and for media outlets like the CBC to take note as seen above. The mediation process begins this December and we’ll be following it closely. Stay tuned for updates as the situation unfolds.