La Boquita and Granada, Nicaragua, 12 May 2014:

The 2014 ISA World Standup Paddle [SUP] and Paddleboard Championship came to end yesterday in La Boquita and Granada, Nicaragua, after a week of world class competition that saw record participation numbers at the showcase event.

SUP is one of the fastest growing and most exciting of the Surfing disciplines which was underlined by consistent growth in this Championship in recent years. 27 national teams from all five continents participated in this year’s competition, compared to 22 in 2013 and 17 in 2012. 250 athletes also competed in the 2014 edition, a 40% increase on the 150 athletes that took part in 2013.

The host country, Nicaragua, also competed in the Championship for the first time and finished in a very respectable 11th place overall, highlighting the steady development of the sport in Latin America. The team result was quite an achievement for the small Central American host nation given many of its athletes only recently made the transition to the SUP and Paddleboard disciplines. The top four finishes by the teams from France, Australia, USA and Brazil also underline the broad universality of the disciplines.

The ISA also provided 15 boards for each team to use during the competition and, to aid the growth and development of Surfing in Nicaragua, these boards have been donated to the Nicaragua Surfing Association for recreational use for the local population.

The successful hosting of Surfing competitions in new markets replicates the consistent growth of the ISA in recent years, particularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organisation now has 84 Member Federations across all five continents and that figure is expected to rise to over 100 by 2015. It is also estimated that there are 35 million surfers around the world, 14 million of which are aged between 12-24, placing emphasis on the booming popularity of Surfing and all its disciplines and the sport’s great appeal amongst young people.

Speaking about the success of the 2014 ISA SUP and Paddleboard Championship and the growth of the sport, ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:

“We have seen a spectacular event here in Nicaragua and it’s wonderful to see the participation figures grow at such a consistent rate year on year. The feedback from the athletes and teams has also been phenomenal. Many of the racers are calling the long distance race through the Isletas de Granada the best race in the history of the sport. For us, this means the SUP is progressing both technically and in terms of development, which is truly exciting.

“The success of this event in Nicaragua is also a testament to the organizational capacity of our hosts. The ISA has been responsible for growing the sport in recent years and by hosting successful World Championship events in new markets such as this demonstrates the true universality of Surfing and the resonance of the core values intrinsically linked to the sport.

“There are some wonderfully inspiring stories to take away from this championship involving athletes from all over the world – including some that had never taken part in SUP before. It is the accessibility of Surfing and the natural focus on youth that makes the sport a perfect fit for multi-sport events such as the Olympic Games. We are excited and energised about the continual growth of Surfing and as the Agenda 2020 debate evolves we remain enthusiastic about what the future holds.”