The International Surfing Association (ISA) has today welcomed a ruling in Portugal that confirmed the Portuguese Surfing Federation (FPS) as the exclusive governing body of StandUp Paddle (SUP).

The ruling, made at the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport, confirmed FPS as the only national federation with a remit to organise and authorise StandUp Paddle (SUP) events within Portugal.


The 2017 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship takes to the canals of Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

As such, the Court declared that in recognising the FPS’s exclusivity, the planned 2018 International Canoe Federation (ICF) StandUp Paddling World Championship was deemed illegal under Portuguese law.

Consequently, and per the ruling, the Portuguese Canoe Federation is prohibited from involving itself in the event, while national judges are forbidden and the event is unable to draw from public support granted by the Sports and Youth Councils of Esposende and Viana do Castelo.

The ruling comes as the ISA and ICF enter CAS Arbitration and reinforces the ISA’s long-standing and historic governance of the sport of StandUp Paddle. In particular, the Court noted in its decision that the record clearly shows that the ICF has never organized any SUP World Championships, and that the ISA has organized every World SUP Championship in history.

The president of the Portuguese Surfing Federation, Joao Aranha said: “This is a decision that defends SUP, its history, and the competitions legally held by our National Federation, under the Portuguese government regulations. I believe this decision will also help the ISA’s position in its dispute with the International Canoe Federation.”

In discussing the ruling, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“This news is important to the ISA as it, once more, reinforces our standing as the sole governing body for StandUp Paddle. Ultimately, the facts speak for themselves and that has been shown here. There can be no doubting the long history that StandUp Paddle has with Surfing, as both the SURF and RACING disciplines of SUP where created by surfers. It is encouraging to see that the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport has recognised this intimate and historical relationship between surfing’s International and National Federations since day one.

“In addition, the ruling further underlines the importance of exclusivity within world sport – an idea that is important to the Olympic Movement – and gives the ISA momentum as we continue to move through CAS Arbitration. With this ruling, we move one step closer to a resolution and ultimately, ensuring the athletes can be best served by a single governing body.”