Well this isn’t great: News came through this afternoon that Team USA was pulling out of the 2013 ISA World Standup Paddle and Paddleboard Championships, citing a lack of money as the main reason.
An email was sent to the tentative team members and supporters outlining the decision. It was also announced on Candice Appleby’s Facebook page, where there’s a spirited debate currently going on. The decision has basically come down to a matter of funding: The trip was going to cost Team USA $50,000 and they simply couldn’t raise that sort of money.
This is obviously disappointing – the USA would have been one of the instant favourites, having come second last year behind Team Australia. It would’ve been great to see the likes of Candice Appleby and co in action on the world stage. But it’s also a shame for the 20-25 other countries from around the world. These nations, most of them still in the early years of developing their SUP culture, are sending teams to gain experience by competing against the best. And there are few better than the U.S.
Some of the comments on theFacebook post has raised some other questions; can a sport as fledgling as SUP host major events in such exotic locations as Peru? It’s certainly a logistical adventure for almost every competing nation. Though in fairness, other teams have already booked their tickets from a lot further than the States, plus the ISA is known for pushing its major events to new locations, in an effort to spread the sport of surfing (and now SUP).
It also brings up the issue of who’s responsible for paying? Very few (if any) countries have had their trips paid for by their national, ISA-affiliated association or sponsors. Most athletes we’ve chatted to are paying most, if not all of their expenses themselves. It’s not clear whether or not any U.S. team members will make the trip on their own, but I doubt Surfing America wants to send a skeleton team.
But either way, it looks like the decision is final. So… no USA… which makes Australia the huge favourites. Standing in their way is the rumoured Hawaiian team, which could feature the likes of Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny. There’s still no confirmation on those guys either though, so let’s just hope they don’t suffer the same fate as their mainland compatriots.
It’s a bummer Team USA is out as it would’ve been awesome to see the likes of Candice Appleby and co in Peru. But in a weird twist, this could make it an even better event. There will more attention paid to the “lesser” nations (aka The Minnows!) who can add plenty of spirit and flair to the event, even without having the big names.