The jist of the article is this: What the Battle of the Paddle is doing is great and will definitely elevate the sport, however it’s only the beginning. In-competition testing should be backed up with random, out-of-competition follow-up testing, though on the other hand that’s an extremely expensive process that stand up paddling probably isn’t ready for. It’s a great read and offers some solid education for paddlers, most of whom would have very little idea about how the USADA/WADA anti-doping process actually works.
Also interesting to learn that the cost to the organisers is approximately $3,000 per athlete tested, and that that’s just the base rate that doesn’t include follow-up testing. So in other words, if the top 5 men and women from the Elite Race are tested, the Battle of the Paddle will have to spend at least another $30,000 on top of what is already a very expensive event to put on.
We’ve seen some commentators wonder out loud why not every athlete is being tested. Well, there’s your answer… With close to 200 athletes in the Elite Race it would obviously be financially impossible.
The BOP’s move to introduce drug testing is a very big step forward for the sport and something the organisers should be commended on, however it’s also clear that as stand up paddling keeps growing, the measures required to protect the sport’s integrity will have to keep expanding as well.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen drug testing in stand up paddling: The International Surfing Association (ISA) has run anti-doping drug tests at their World Championship events for the past two years. During both editions of the World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in Peru, the top two from each race have been tested as soon as they get out of the water. In addition, the ISA World Champs led to follow up testing for some athletes as well. We know that Travis Grant, Gold Medalist @ Peru 2012, was one such random target. Nine months after his win, an anti-doping officer arrived, totally unannounced, at his house in Australia early one morning. The officer said they couldn’t let Trav out of their sights until a sample was provided. Needless to say, Travis Grant was clean both in and out of competition.
So there you go. Anti-doping drug tests in stand up paddling. The Battle of the Paddle have set the stage for the debate but it seems like this is only the beginning…