The planned ICF Stand Up Paddling World Championships ©ICF

An inaugural Stand-Up Paddling World Championships due to be organised by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) in Portugal later this month has been cancelled.

The decision to scrap the event was made following a ruling by the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport that the national surfing body had exclusive control of the discipline.

It is a major blow in the ICF's attempt to gain a share of a stand-up paddling market also claimed by the International Surfing Association (ISA), who reacted jubilantly to the Portuguese court decision.

"It is with great regret that the ICF announces today the cancellation of this month’s Stand Up Paddling World Championships in Portugal," the world canoeing body said today.

"Unfortunately the ICF was left with no choice following the local Portugal court challenge led by Portuguese surfing and the ISA against the Portuguese Canoe Federation. 

"Whilst the ICF World Championships could be held there and was not in itself ever challenged, the decision by the court against the Portuguese Canoe Federation meant the event license could not be obtained locally to ensure safety of the athletes. 

"Therefore, the ICF has seen it prudent to cancel the event."

The event had been due to take place from August 30 to September 2 in Esposende and Viana do Castelo.

The ICF added that they are "currently examining other options for a SUP World Championships this year with several countries already making contact and expressing interest in hosting an event".

Stand-Up Paddling contains elements of surfing and canoeing ©ICF
Stand-Up Paddling contains elements of surfing and canoeing ©ICF

A decision is expected "in the coming weeks".

"The ICF had hoped to stage a world-class event at a stunning venue which would benefit athletes from all over the world," the ICF added.

"The decision to cancel this event has not been taken lightly. 

"With close to 200 athletes from more than 40 countries having already registered to compete, along with volunteers, sponsors and organisers, this court decision has impacted a lot of people."

They blamed the "ongoing campaign by the ISA and its national members" which has "left hundreds of people disappointed in this case". 

"The ICF can assure the SUP community it has done everything possible to enable this event to take place, but ultimately the determination of the ISA to prevent paddlers taking to the water has prevailed," they said.

The ISA insist that they have longstanding experience in stand-up paddle and have only faced interference from the ICF since they tried to add the discipline onto the programme for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

This is denied by the canoeing body, however, who claim no organisation should have a monopoly over a specific sport.

The ISA emphasised how the Portuguese Court "noted in its decision that the record clearly shows that the ICF has never organised any SUP World Championships, and that the ISA has organised every World SUP Championship in history".

They have not yet responded to today's ICF World Championships decision.