Is That Still Paddling Or Is It Already Surfing?
Stand-up paddling has become a successful sport. Of course, that arouses desires from different sides. However, the following argument is bizarre. The world federations of canoeists and surfers cannot agree on what stand-up paddling is all about. Is that still paddling or is it already surfing? Even if it sounds like a joke, the dispute now even went to the Sports Court. The judge was supposed to make a decision, and both agreed. That means that both surfers and canoeists will have a say in stand-up paddling in the future.
Usually, a court ruling should provide clarity. But sometimes it just makes the messy situation worse. That should be such a case. A week ago, the CAS International Sports Court in Switzerland issued a corresponding judgment. The associations have been arguing for years; now, it should continue as follows. In Olympic matters, the International Surfing Association (ISA) will be responsible for stand-up paddling in the future. But that by no means clarified because the canoeists competition also got rights. The court, consisting of three judges, gave the Canoe Federation (ICF) the right to continue to host games. At the same time, the judges from Switzerland, the USA and Great Britain rejected the surfers’ request to be exclusively responsible for stand-up paddling. That means that canoeists can continue to organize stand-up paddles outside of the Olympic Games in the future. What further complicates the situation is that stand-up paddling is not yet an Olympic discipline. That could happen in 2028 at the earliest. That means that the surfers are now, in a sense sitting on dead right, because the judgment does not affect practice.
No Change In The Situation
For the athletes, this situation is anything but satisfactory. Especially, the judgment means that not much will change for the time being. Both canoeists and surfers will continue to host their competitions. That goes right up to world championships. The International Surfing Association has been holding its world championship since 2012. The argument for having the earlier rights cannot be dismissed entirely out of hand. The canoeists, on the other hand, wanted to host their first world championship in 2018. However, the surfers prevented that by a court order. That resulted in an escalation that has now ended before the Sports Court. Those who had hoped for a clear decision from this were far disappointed.
Meanwhile, the canoeists managed to set up their first own world championship in China. That is considered a very successful event in the scene. But how should it go on now? The athletes will likely start at both federations. Many athletes and countries support the surfers in this dispute, because they see the origin of stand-up paddling in surfing. The world surfing federation has the USA, Spain, Portugal, Australia and Argentina behind it. Countries in which surfing has less tradition tend to associate the sport with canoeists. They will host their next World Cup in Hungary in 2021 on Lake Balaton. Stand-up paddling is still a young and emerging sport. It is not surprising that everyone is looking for their advantage here.