December 20, 2011
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

With global reach, the 2012 ISA World Championship gathers momentum

When the ISA announced their 2012 World Paddleboard Championships back in August, a lot of paddlers were probably wondering if it would be a success or not. The ISA doesn’t have a lot of history with Stand Up Paddling, and there are plenty of other well established events that have failed to draw elite paddlers from around the world.

But the ISA does have a massive global reach, working directly with national surfing associations around the world (which themselves are starting to take SUP racing more seriously). Plus the ISA has a lot of experience putting on big, successful events involving a tonne of different national teams.

So it’s not a huge surprise to see many of the world’s best paddlers announcing they’re heading to Miraflores, Peru from 20th-25th February next year.

The unique thing about the ISA World Champs is their focus on national teams, rather than individuals. There will still be individual honours up for grabs, but the main prize is the overall teams victory, which is based on the results from all events.

In addition to the two dedicated Stand Up Paddle races (a 4.5km BoP-style technical course, and an 18km Long Distance race) there’s also the prone paddleboard and SUP surfing events that will help decide the winning country.

Teams are limited to 2x men and 1x woman for the SUP race events, and board classes will be set at 12’6″ for both the course race and the long distance.

It’s a bit of a shame the ISA couldn’t make the 18km race an unlimited board event. With team sizes being so small, the logistics of getting everyone on the same equipment would have been a lot easier than at individual races such as the Battle of the Paddle (which still manage a fair showing in their unlimited divisions anyway). But that’s an endless debate, one that’s already been going on in the stand up paddle racing community for a fair while.

But anyway, it’s awesome to see a well established organisation taking charge with an international event like this. And because of its focus on national teams rather than individual performances, the ISA World Champs should be able to carve out its own spot in the crowded SUP racing calendar pretty easily. Though from the looks of the teams that have already been announced, there’s going to be some super super high quality racing either way.

UPDATE: There will be a live webcast of the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship. Awesome! You can catch the live webcast here on during the event.

In addition to the quality of competition, it’s also interesting to see the amount of high level sponsorship and support the ISA have attracted. The major sponsor is Movistar (one of the largest mobile networks in South America) and there’ll be support from the Peruvian Institute of Sport and ADO Peru (the Peruvian Olympics Association). Not too shabby!

Plus some of the individual teams have major national backing, such as the Australian Institute of Sport supporting the Aussie squad.

So no matter which country comes out on top in Miralores, this event should provide a massive profile boost for the sport of Stand Up Paddle racing in general.