ISA Brings its World StandUp Race Champion to Belek

13.03.2014

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is pleased to announce that its 2013 World Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Champion, Casper Steinfath from Denmark, will be joining the ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, at SportAccord Convention in Belek/Antalya, Turkey on 9 April 2014 for a special live demonstration of one of surfing’s most popular and fastest growing disciplines.

“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 Convention participants.”

The ISA is also celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2014 with a series of events and initiatives including Steinfath’s participation in SportAccord Convention. 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.

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 promoting surfing and SUP to Olympic leaders. “What may have started as a niche activity in a handful of coast-lined countries of the world back when we got started in 1964, is now a truly universal and global sport.”

Aguerre will also be using the opportunity of SportAccord Convention 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.”

With the capacity to deliver a 2-metre (6-7 foot) high, 120-metre (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.

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 organisers to integrate, depending on the local venue infrastructure. 

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 countries with SUP teams expected at this year’s ISA World Championships in Nicaragua next month.

“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.