The ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship (or as I call it, the “ISA Worlds”) is an annual event hosted by the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Nations compete as teams in SUP racing, SUP surfing and prone paddleboarding, with individual medals and overall team points awarded. Australia won the first three ISA Worlds in Peru (2012, 2013) and Nicaragua (2014), before Team USA swept the 2015 Worlds in Sayulita, Mexico. The Aussies reclaimed their title at the 2016 ISA Worlds in Fiji and defended it in Denmark 2017 and again in Hainan, China in 2018, each time narrowly edging out a strong French contingent.

The 2019 ISA Stand Up Paddleboarding World Championships were controversially held in Nicaragua late in the year after teams were given just six weeks notice. The event was largely seen as a political move against the International Canoe Federation (ICF), which has been trying to muscle the ISA out of the Olympic bid for stand up paddling.

The 2020 ISA Worlds has not been announced and probably won’t be considering the impact the coronavirus has had on sporting events.


ISA Worlds: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (live show replay)

I had a chat with Mike from Stand Up Magazin for a quick analysis of the ISA Worlds in Puerto Rico — both the good and the bad.

Should we make these live debates a weekly thing?

If the ISA Worlds were like the Olympics, Team USA would be on top of the medal table

I was fascinated by the Olympic medal table as a kid. I recall following it quite obsessively during the first Summer Games I watched live on TV, Barcelona ’92, and long before we had Wikipedia I scoured encyclopaedias (remember those?) with historical medal tallies dating back a hundred years. Who could forget the 1912 games when Sweden almost topped the table and Australia & New Zealand competed under the united “Australasia” flag?

This might explain why I’ve always maintained an unofficial medal table for the ISA Worlds. Given the ISA’s obsession with the Olympics – it’s essentially the whole reason for their existence – I’m surprised they don’t keep a table of their own, but that just means I get to nerd it up and do a little photoshopping.

So I now present you with the unofficial 2022 ISA Worlds medal table. (And I strongly emphasise the word “unofficial” — Team France are still the actual champions, I don’t question that, and Team Spain are the actual vice champions. This medal table is just a fun little novelty.)   → READ MORE

TEAM FRANCE CROWNED ISA CHAMPIONS, SPAIN VICE-CHAMPIONS


 
Final day in Puerto Rico: Team France claimed gold in today’s mixed team relay to cement their spot on top of the team standings. Featuring Melanie Lafenetre on the women’s SUP leg and anchored by superstar Noic Garioud – who won his fourth medal of the championships – France vanquished their rivals to claim a second overall ISA title (matching their result at the last ISA Worlds in El Salvador 2019).

Featuring their new hero Shrimpy on the anchor leg, Team Japan capped off their epic week by winning the relay silver to jump ahead of Brazil into 4th on the overall leaderboard — easily their best ever result at the Worlds.

Spain finished their extraordinary ISA campaign with a bronze in the relay that saw them jump ahead of star-studded Team USA to claim a well-deserved second place on the team standings. The United States could have held on for the team silver but were DQ’d and lost all their relay points after missing a flag on the beach run.

Click here for the complete results sheet from each event.

ISA Worlds: The future on show at junior race day in Puerto Rico


It was pouring rain in Puerto Rico today — a fitting metaphor, perhaps, for the “storm of young talent” that’s been making their mark on the sport at the ISA Worlds this week.

16-year-old Cecilia Pampinella took gold in a commanding performance to win the girls race for Team Italy, while the medals continued to rain down on Team Spain with Sonia Caimari claiming silver (another one of the Mallorca kids). At just 13 years of age Soryn Preston showed the future is bright for Team USA with the bronze, and Yu Tachibana continued Japan’s success with the fourth-placed copper medal.

Over in the junior men’s race … oh boy.

16-year-old Vaic Garioud won gold for Team France with a brilliant performance. If that name sounds familiar it’s because it is: Vaic is Noic Garioud’s little brother, and apparently he’s following the same path to paddling stardom. How many world titles will the Garioud family win in the next 10-15 years?

Nari from Japan took the silver to continue a stellar run for his country’s youth at this event while Team USA’s Campbell Carter was right behind in the bronze position. And it wouldn’t be a junior ISA podium without Team Spain: Luca Simoncelli claimed the copper and yet another medal heading home to the magic island of Mallorca.

photo credits: @pablofrancostudio / @waterworkmedia

ISA Worlds distance race: 19-year-old Duna Gordillo and 16-year-old “Shrimpy” claim incredible wins to herald the new generation


 
In brief: Spain’s Duna Gordillo has upset her teammate Espe Barreras while 16-year-old Shuri “Shrimpy” Araki from Japan overpowered Titou and Boothy to win gold in the ISA distance race in Puerto Rico today.

Duna crossed the line in utter disbelief before being mobbed by her teammates, producing some of the most iconic images of the event and symbolising a changing of the guard as the “new wave” of young talent starts to take over the sport.

Duna photo credit: @pablofrancostudio / race photo credits: @waterworkmedia

Connor Baxter, April Zilg find gold on the sands of Puerto Rico as Team USA takes early lead at the ISA Worlds

Could Team USA actually win this thing? The Stars & Stripes got off to a great start in the battle for the prestigious teams trophy at the ISA Worlds in Puerto Rico today, with superstar Connor Baxter adding yet another notch to his GOAT belt and the perennially underrated April Zilg making it a clean sweep in the 200 metre “In-N-Out” sprints.   → READ MORE

As the ISA Worlds begin in Puerto Rico, so too does a generational shift in women’s racing

Duna Gordillo was just five years old when Jenny Kalmbach won the 2008 Battle of the Paddle, an event that kickstarted modern SUP racing. This week, the two women will verse each other at the ISA Worlds in Puerto Rico where the clear theme is a battle of generations.

Duna, now aged 19 and representing the increasingly-powerful Team Spain, has been one of the standout performers on the European circuit this season and heads to Puerto Rico a serious medal contender after taking junior silver at the last ISA Worlds in El Salvador 2019. Jenny, more than double the young Spaniard’s age at 39, hasn’t raced competitively in years and by her own admission only started training on a race board again 12 weeks ago. But there’s no substitute for experience in surf racing, so if we get some waves then anything’s possible.
   → READ MORE

REPLAY: Watch the new SUP chat show with SUP Racer and Stand Up Magazin on Instagram Live

What was the biggest story in the world of SUP this week?

That’s what we’re going to answer and analyse on the new SUP chat show co-hosted by myself and Mike from Stand Up Magazin.

We’re going to have a 20-minute chat each week on Instagram Live where we debate the hottest topic, starting next week with a recap of the ISA Worlds.

We’re running the pilot episode today (28th October Hawaii time) and will be back in 10 days with the ISA recap. Follow @supracer and @standupmagazin on Instagram to catch every episode.

Update: Here’s a full replay that Mike posted on YouTube; the Instagram video wigged out and was lost in processing purgatory… We’ll play around with the tech setup before next week’s episode

OG Anthony Vela announced as “Strategic Advisor” for ISA as surfing defends against canoeing’s Olympic advances

One of the living legends of stand up paddling, Anthony “AV” Vela, has been announced as SUP manager for the ISA as the surfing crew begin to wake from their covid slumber and start getting shit done again now that the canoe boys have made their presence felt.

AV brings his incredible knowledge of paddling to the ISA as its official ‘Strategic SUP Advisor’ in a role that will see him even more involved with the World Championships (where he was already race director) as well as the Association’s overall SUP strategy.    → READ MORE

INTERVIEW: ISA President Fernando Aguerre shares his vision for the future of SUP (by focusing on the past)

And on the third day he rose again.

Like a prophet arising from his grave, the evergreen President of the International Surfing Association (ISA), surfboard collector and former footwear tycoon Fernando Aguerre has returned from two years of radio silence to address the paddling community. And prophesise he did.

In this 30-minute interview (“monologue” would be more accurate), Fernando opens up about the ISA’s plan for the future of SUP by spending most of his time dunking on the International Canoe Federation (ICF) who are apparently interested in our sport for all the wrong reasons.   → READ MORE

REPLAY: Talking story with KT on SUP Connect Live

Here’s a full replay of my chat with Kristin Thomas on Supconnect Live yesterday. It was a fun chance to catch up with KT and chat a little about where our sport might be heading (it was also fun to be on the other end of the interview for a change).

Kristin is one of the most knowledgeable paddlers in the world and does these interviews every week — follow along on @supconnect insta.

(I was a bit late — I jump on around the 4 minute 15 second mark)

Paddlecast #25 – “Storytime with SUP Racer” part 1: How, when and *why* SUP Racer began…

Welcome back to Paddlecast. I was really excited to release a two-part episode with Annabel Anderson yesterday and today. We had a great chat last week — I talked with Annabel for more than two hours about what she’s been up to over the past couple of years and her thoughts on the sport in general. But I messed up the recording and the audio got jumbled 🙈

I’m going to see if we can get back on the phone with Annabel this week (she’s a fascinating person). But until then, I decided to fill in today’s episode with a little “Storytime with SUP Racer”…   → READ MORE

Paddlecast #006: Mike Jucker from Stand Up Magazin talks “Chaos of Champions”

Mike Jucker from Stand Up Magazin – one of the oldest and most respected outlets in the SUP media world – joins us to chat “Chaos of Champions,” world titles and the future of the sport. Give Mike a follow on Instagram and help him celebrate 10 years of @standupmagazin.

You can also listen to Paddlecast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

   → READ MORE

Chaos of Champions: The “sport” of stand up paddling now has 22 world titles and it’s getting ridiculous

“What did you get on Halloween?”

– “15 gummy bears, three chocolate bars and a couple of SUP world titles.”

“Ooh, I’ll trade you half a pack of M&Ms for your world titles!”

– “Nah, you can have ’em. I’m sick of world titles anyway.”
 

And just like to kids on Halloween, it appears the world titles of SUP have been handed out like candy this year.

By my count, there were 44 individual “world titles” awarded this season — 22 for men and 22 for women.

Even if ignore the confusing number of junior, master and surfing world titles (which would be generous), we’re still left with at least 18 top-level titles — six from each of the “Three Acronyms” (ISA, ICF, APP). Several athletes won multiple, which means we “only” have 12 different world champions.

12 world champions…

How the hell do we promote a sport that has 12 world champions in a single year? How do we market a sport that has no clear winner, no clear leadership and no clear direction. How do we explain the “sport” of stand up paddleboarding to the wider sporting world? How do we even explain it to ourselves?   → READ MORE

PREVIEW: Who to watch at the 2019 ISA Worlds in El Salvador

The International Surfing Association’s annual world championship – the second World Championshps this year following the ICF’s offering in China last month – is about to get underway in the emerging surf mecca of El Salvador, with 27 nations and about 15-20 big names set to compete alongside 100+ national reps that’ll no doubt be surfing or racing with pride.

However, with this event only announced last-minute, the 2019 ISA Worlds are just as notable for who isn’t there, with several top athletes and many of the usual ISA suspects missing from the lineup.   → READ MORE

OLYMPIC PADDLETICS UPDATE: SUP has its day in the ‘Supreme Court of sport’ as the ISA vs. ICF saga continues

Remember that whole political saga surrounding the fight to get SUP into the Olympics? The one between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and International Canoe Federation (ICF) over who has “control” of Olympic paddleboarding?

The one I referred to last year as the selfish parents debate — a story that even made the New York Times (as well as some great April Fool’s joke material).

Paddletics.   → READ MORE