October 24, 2013
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

2014 ISA World Championship Dates Confirmed: We’re Heading To Nicaragua In May

2014 ISA World Stand Up Paddle & Paddleboard Championship NicaraguaIt’s confirmed. After we announced the news four months ago that the 2014 ISA World Champs will be in Nicaragua, we now have word on the actual dates of the event. It’s not the late February we all assumed it would be (after the first two editions in Peru were held around that time), instead the 2014 ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship will be run from May 3rd – 11th in Nicaragua.

The finer details of the Championship are still being decided, but it looks very likely that the SUP surfing will be on the coast (obviously) while the SUP racing will be half an hour away on Lake Nicaragua.

To avoid teams splitting in half between two locations, there will be no overlap (as there was in Peru) between the racing and surfing events. This means the teams can stay together and cheer each other on, while it’ll also make it easier for the individual paddlers that want to compete in both disciplines. Assuming this two-host-towns plan goes through, the whole event would be held on the Lake for the first three days, then there would be a lei day while the setup is moved over to the coast, before the final four days would be purely the SUP surf contest.

The decision to split the event between two host towns was due to the surf being unsuitable for the majority of paddlers. From all reports, the contest will be held at a pretty solid beach break in the South-West part of the country (we’re waiting to hear the exact locations but possibly the Rivas region). It’s also a chance to showcase two of Nicaragua’s natural wonders rather than only one. We’ve also been told the winds can be very strong on the Lake (which is fairly huge by the way) so while we won’t have big waves for the racing, it shouldn’t be a total flat-water affair either (in fact if you Google Image search “Lake Nicaragua” you can see there could definitely be some interesting conditions…).

Again, the finer details are not yet confirmed – all that we can definitely confirm right now are the dates. But assuming the above plan goes through then the schedule may look something like this:

May 3rd: Opening Ceremony and Parade of Nations (@ the Lake)
May 4th-6th: SUP racing, prone racing, team relays (@ the Lake)
May 7th: Lei day (rest day)
May 8th-10th: SUP surfing (on the coast)
May 11th: SUP surfing finals + closing ceremony (on the coast)

(Again… dates are confirmed but exact schedule is not… While it’s extremely likely the event location will be split in two, which comes first – surfing or racing – is still being decided)

It’s going to be a very busy SUP racing schedule in 2014 so inevitably there will be clashes of events, and unfortunately it looks like ISA will overlap with OluKai next year. We believe the local Nicaraguan organising committee chose May to showcase optimal conditions in their country: Winter can be cold, inconsistent and too windy. Spring and Summer are apparently the best times. 

So there you go. Nicaragua. May. Should be a lotta fun.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the ISA World Champs are based around national teams, where stand up racers, surfers and prone paddlers compete for both individual medals as well as overall team points. The first two editions were held in Miraflores, Peru, with the Aussies having little trouble taking consecutive titles.

I was there for the Peru event earlier this year and can see the potential of what the ISA Worlds could do for the sport. The racing was still missing some big names – the US sent a skeleton squad this year while Hawaii is yet to make an appearance – but I believe this is one of those events that the whole SUP community should support. The ISA definitely still needs to fine-tune the event, it’s not perfect (and the ISA is aware of that – they’re already fielding suggestions for changes & improvements from some of the leading athletes) but I also believe the whole paddling world needs to step up and jump on board, for the good of the sport.

The ISA (International Surfing Association) exists to promote surfing, and now paddling, around the world. The organisation’s main focus is development of the sport, however their clearly stated goal is to one day have surfing be an Olympic sport.

Speaking of the Olympics, I chatted with ISA’s charismatic President, Fernando Aguerre, last week in California. Fernando discussed the possibility of surfing making it into the Olympics in the not-too-distant, and whether or not Stand Up Paddling (especially the racing discipline) would be included in the deal.

Some very interesting insights… So look out for a detailed recap of our chat with Fernando after the weekend.

In the meantime start looking for flights to Nicaragua… (assuming you’re one of the top few paddlers in your country that is 😉