The International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) World Tour have signed a partnership that will seek to drive the development of StandUp Paddle (SUP) with the ultimate goal of securing status as an Olympic sport.
The partnership involves the ISA taking a minority ownership in APP World Tour and providing an official ISA sanction of all its events. The World Tour will exclusively align with and support the ISA as the sole world governing body for surfing, including SUP.
The official ISA sanction of the APP World Tour will start with the SUP World Cup in Germany on June 30. On this occasion, the APP World Tour will actively promote and brand the ISA as the official sanctioning body through all communications and event materials. The ISA will do the same through all its official communication channels.
The ISA and APP said they share an ambitious vision in the global development, growth and sustainability of SUP, including the objective of seeing SUP included in future editions of the Olympic Games under the ISA’s leadership and authority.
Surfing will make its Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020 after the International Olympic Committee in August confirmed that it, along with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing would be added to the programme for the next summer Games.
ISA president Fernando Aguerre said: “This agreement marks a historic turning point for the rightful leadership, promotion and unity of StandUp Paddle worldwide. No other International Federation in the world has been as committed or active as the ISA in the organisation and development of SUP. Through this partnering with the APP, we have solidified our role and leadership as the world’s sole governing body for SUP in all its forms.”
APP World Tour chief executive Tristan Boxford added: “Over the past eight years, we have built the sport’s professional platform to where it is today and we have always appreciated and supported the ISA’s commitment to and leadership of SUP. With the re-branding and new direction of the APP World Tour, it was only natural for us to seek a partnership with the world governing body for the sport, in order (to) continue to propel the sport’s development and growth.
“The APP World Tour, our committed professional athletes, and the sport’s stakeholders are confident that this partnership will help the ISA achieve SUP’s Olympic dream. SUP is infused with high performance and youthful values, which would make it a perfect fit for the Olympic sports program in the future.”
The partnership comes amid an ongoing battle for control of SUP between the ISA and International Canoe Federation (ICF).