The Opening Ceremony for the event took place today ©ISA

An Opening Ceremony described as spectacular by organisers has been held in Copenhagen to mark the official start of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship.

A total of 286 athletes from 42 countries participated in the Ceremony in the Danish capital today.

The competing teams made displays of national pride while marching through the streets of the city in front of crowds of fans.

They were then greeted at the Copenhagen Opera House by a delegation including ISA President Fernando Aguerre and Michael Gatten, a member of the Culture and Sport Council of the City of Copenhagen.

Each team also took part in a "Sands of the World Ceremony", where two representatives of each nation poured sand from their home beaches into a clear container.

It is meant to symbolise the peaceful gathering of nations of the world through SUP, according to the ISA.

"This is the largest ever world SUP Championship in history, and additionally this is the first time in an ISA competition that there are equal spots for both men and women competitors," Aguerre said.

"The ISA has been the natural home of SUP for many years and we have already secured the first SUP medals in a multi-sport event in the Olympic Movement, the 2019 Pan Am Games.

"SUP is a major priority for the ISA and all our federations and the growth of this event is a testament to our love and passion for the sport.

"We are looking forward to an exciting future with the goal of including SUP in the Paris 2024 Games, but this is not an individual effort. 

"This is a team effort that will require the continued support and development from all of you here today. 

"Together, we can achieve this dream of ours."

The event in the Danish capital, which concludes on September 10, is being held amid a row as to who governs SUP racing.

A row has been ongoing between the ISA and International Canoe Federation (ICF) concerning which of the organisations should have control of the discipline as it features elements of both sports.

The ISA claim they have "longstanding experience" in the sport, but claim their counterparts at the ICF have tried to get it added to the events programme at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

The ICF claim, however, they have been involved with SUP for a "number of years".

As the row rumbles on, both governing bodies asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to step in with the discussions.

Action begins tomorrow with the distance and sprint races in the picturesque canals of Copenhagen until Sunday (September 3).