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International Surfing, Canoeing Federations In Standoff Over Stand Up Paddleboarding

Photo Credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty

Stand up paddleboarding—is it surfing, or is it canoeing?

A question for the ages! And, now, a question for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


The court has been brought in to mediate a dispute between the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation on the subject, according to a report from the Associated Press. The two governing bodies have been fighting over the sport in hopes that it will be added to the Olympics at some point in the near future.

The ISA has organized stand up paddleboarding competitions for years and claims that the use of a board makes it eligible to be classified as a type of surfing. But the ICF claims that the use of a paddle makes it canoeing. Back in April, ISA President Fernando Aguerre told Reuters that surfers did not take kindly to canoeists trying to hop in on the newfound popularity of the sport: “Up until last year there was no interest from the ICF.... We have a track record of doing this. At the ICF now there is an interest of how they can be part of the popularity of the sport.” 

Hopefully the Court of Arbitration can resolve the matter soon. Otherwise the two groups may find themselves up a creek without a paddle... or a board.

[Associated Press]

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