When the surf icon began making surf paddling more popular more than ten years ago, many athletes initially shook their heads. This form of walking on water caused a lot of misunderstanding. But the surf star was right again. Today surf paddling is booming around the world. It even goes so far that two large associations are arguing about whether this sport is more a form of surfing or a form of canoeing.
The Sport Comes From Hawaii
The reason for the popularity of the new sport lies in the ease with which you can learn it. Once you can keep your balance, you glide elegantly and smoothly through the water. Even inexperienced athletes can quickly discover the correct posture after a few attempts. What looks like a new way to move about on water is quite old. Centuries ago, the kings of Hawaii should have moved on longboards like this. Supposedly, the surf instructors on Waikiki beach rediscovered surf paddling and subsequently made it famous. It was a popular way to move between dangerous reefs on a board decades ago. Besides, the standing posture provided a good overview of what the surf students were doing with their boards.
The Star Knows The Business
Now a new sport has developed from practical aid. Robbie Naish discovered this niche and, as so often before, did profitable business out of it. After all, the surfer has already succeeded in raising niche sports to the masses in the past. The best example of this was kite surfing. In contrast to the classic surf sports, surf paddling does not require wind or other special conditions. Anyone can learn it quickly and get started on the water right away. Surfers also use the sport for training. It is suitable for both strength and endurance training and relaxation. Internationally, sports goes one step further. Surf paddling has a good chance of becoming Olympic soon. But first, the world federations of canoeing and surfing should agree. These have been arguing for years about which association shall assign the sport. Both claim surf paddling for themselves. Of course, that’s not exactly helpful when it comes to making the sports Olympic.
In the summer of this year, there was the first judgment by a sports court. But instead of ending the conflict once and for all, the verdict created even more confusion. In August 2020, the International Court of Justice for Sports (CAS) decided that the International Surfing Association will be responsible for Olympic matters in the future. At the same time, the court gave the competing International Canoe Federation the right to continue to host its surf paddling competitions. They also rejected the surfers’ request for their responsibility. This judgment does not exactly contribute to legal certainty. So let’s hope that the brawlers will soon agree for the good of the sport and its fans.