ISA President Fernando Aguerre has criticised the ICF on Twitter ©ISA

International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre has described the International Canoe Federation's (ICF) open competition policy at their World StandUp Paddle Championship in October as a "joke".

Aguerre pulled no punches on Twitter yesterday as he hit out at the ICF, the latest in a dispute between the organisations over the ownership of the SUP discipline.

In his tweet, he praised the ISA's official member policy on eligibility for its World Championship, taking place here.

Pressed on the matter, Aguerre told insidethegames he was fed up of falsehoods that have been created through the dispute.

"Our federation looks at surfing not just as a sport," he said.

"We do it for love and we have no need to build a field of play, that is created by nature and there is no comparison.

"We came under attack by the ICF but we will continue to fight for the athletes.

"Those guys offer increased prize money and free accommodation.

"We don't have the money to do that but we provide support for the love of the sport."

The dispute was addressed in a two-day hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October and Aguerre is hopeful that the ISA's "truer roots" will ensure the federation is granted ownership of the discipline.

"We are driven by the interests of the athletes," added Aguerre.

"If you have a ball it doesn't entitle you to take over all ball sports. 

"It is the same for surfing.

"The ICF have made many promises, including involvement in the Olympics but they already have seven other ICF disciplines in the Games."

In response to Aguerre's social media post, the ICF said they will continue to put their athletes first.

"The ICF is thrilled with the success of our world championships in China, and especially excited with the positive response from the world-class athletes who attended in incredible numbers," said an ICF spokesperson.

"The unanimous verdict was that the event was the best they had ever attended, far from the 'joke' others may want to consider it.

"It's disappointing some seek to denigrate the efforts of others to provide world-class events for hard working athletes who just want to compete at a well organised competition. 

"The ICF will continue to put the athletes first, always."

The spokesperson explained the tournament was funded by the Chinese organisers, with the ICF funding a development camp around the Championship.

Aguerre, who was unable to travel to El Salvador for the ISA's showpiece event after breaking his leg in a skateboarding accident three weeks ago, praised the host nation for stepping into stage the Championship at the last minute.

"We were looking at the Basque region and unfortunately that didn't work out," said Aguerre.

"El Salvador was being looked at for next year but in the end we made it work within three months.

"There was a lot of criticism among the SUP racers when we announced plans to come to Central America that it would be impossible and that it couldn't be done [to organise the Championship at short notice].

El Sunzal beach is currently hosting the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship ©ISA
El Sunzal beach is currently hosting the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship ©ISA

"There was a bad stigma because it is a third world country but actually the difference is that developing nations pull together and get the job done."

Aguerre said he was impressed by the work of the El Salvador Ministry of Tourism for its quick turnaround to deliver the Championship.

"Surfing has changed the views of Brazil, Bali and Costa Rica and that can happen for El Salvador too," added Aguerre.

"The preparations from El Salvador have been amazing.

"I was approached by Nayib Bukele [President of El Salvador] to explore the possibilities to run a World Championships at Surf City.

"They have a new leader and after a 30-year-long civil war they are trying to change the paradigm of El Salvador and how it is perceived globally.

"They have the best waves in the Americas and we were more than happy to bring the World Championship here."