What To Expect From The ISA World SUP Championships Next Week
It’s been a long year of great expectations for the 2016 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Now, with the event coming up Nov. 12 through 20 and as many as 26 nations competing in both the race and surf divisions this year, select athletes from all corners of the world are finally gathering at the event’s new location—the Fijian Islands—to prepare for the fifth annual competition. To get you up to speed on the action, here’s a basic breakdown of the 2016 ISA Worlds in all its glory.
So, the ISA Words! Wait, what is that again?
The ISA Worlds, while not the biggest event on the competitive paddlers’ calendar, is certainly one of the most prestigious. It’s the international championships. The event where whole nations compete rather than mere individuals. It’s the grand finale of the season and for the championship nation, it’s ultimate bragging rights for a year to come. It boasts competitions in SUP surfing, SUP racing (distance and technical) and traditional prone paddleboarding. And for the first time ever, 2016 finds the ISA’s in the tropical, turquoise waters of Fiji.
Fiji, huh? Sounds exotic…
The Fijian island nation offers one of few destinations in the world that might be considered a step up from past ISA World locations. Last year, Sayulita, Mexico provided a picturesque arena for the multi-event SUP competition. In 2014, it was Nicaragua. For 2013 and 2012—the birth years of the ISA Worlds for SUP—it was Peru.
While the surfing segment of the competition is set to be held at Cloudbreak, the precise location of the racing portion has yet to be announced. We'll keep you posted with details, updates and analysis regarding the event and the country's team selections as information comes forth. Stay tuned.
27 nations is a lot. Who should I watch out for?
Good question, and with this year’s cast of stacked talent, there’s more than one good answer. The three heavyweight nations that traditionally dominate the ISAs—Australia, the United States and Hawaii—are coming into this year’s event with rosters in peak form and all three promise to be worthy contenders for both the surf and race events. But newcomer nations like the Cook Islands, Barbados and the host country itself are all bringing fresh rich blood to the game this year, so the potential for an upset is certainly present. But we’re calling it now: with an all-start team featuring athletes like Olivia Piana, Titouan Puyo and Arthur Arutkin on the race side and Benoit Carpentier and Caroline Angibaud in the surf, France might just take a sneaky victory after all.
Stay tuned to SUPthemag.com as the competition unfolds for live updates and real-time results.
Watch the ISA Worlds LIVE November 12–20.
Coverage of the 2015 Sayulita ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships
More ISA Worlds.