SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

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January 2018 46 paddlers converged on the Chatta- hoochee River for the Fourth Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle. Merri C. Sherman, executive director of the Columbus, (GA) Sports Coun- cil, said they worked with Uptown Columbus, Visit Columbus, Ga., and Whitewater Management to create a great experience. " With the creation of the Whitewater Park, we see limitless possibilities in use of the longest urban whitewater course in the world, along with the flat- water abilities the river possesses," she said. "We are getting increased expo- sure in the kayaking and SUP markets. And as the headquarters of Salt Life [a beach gear and apparel store], we have the perfect partners." The ability to host those activities in an urban setting alleviates much of the logistical needs, Sherman said. "The events, with great partners like WPA, are fairly turnkey with the hosts putting the icing on the cake by creat- ing second experiences while assisting in other aspects of production," she said. The River Park and Chattahoochee River become "an amphitheater of sorts," she said, and make a natural viewing area. "Having this along the downtown core makes for a pleasant experience for the attendees and patrons alike." Like Columbus, the Annapolis area, where East of Maui and Capital SUP hosts events, is also great for paddle-sports events because of easy access to a variety of waterways. "We have access to protected creeks, rivers and the iconic Chesapeake Bay," Meyer said. Those waterways offer conditions ranging from very calm to challenging rough water in windy conditions. Saunders and Bandy mentioned several free launch sites to explore, such as Jonas Green Park on the Severn River, Truxtun Park on Spa Creek and Homeport Farm Park on the South River, which at the time of this writing is closed for construction. Because the East of Maui SUP Chal- lenge is co-hosted by Eastport Yacht Club, the infrastructure of the club has helped that race be an enjoyable and safe experience, Saunders and Bandy said: "They take care of notifying the local Coast Guard and Harbor Master, and provide plenty of safety boats for our event. The organizers of the Bay Bridge Race do the same thing." Because the Capital SUP Race Series is held on private property, no special permits are needed but the Coast Guard is also made aware of those races, Meyer said. n Who Will Serve As Governing SUP Body? Is standup paddleboarding (SUP) more surfing or canoeing? That's the fundamental question behind the bid of two organizations to be the national organization body for SUP. And because SUP is fighting for inclusion in the Olympic games, it's an important dispute. The International Surfing Association (ISA) has organized and promoted international standup paddle activities and competitions since 2010. But in early 2017, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) challenged the assumption that ISA will be the Olympic-level governing body of SUP, saying that because SUP uses a paddle, the ICF should govern the sport. When a push was made for SUP to be included in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, both organizing bodies dug in, exempting the sport from the next youth competition. The ISA says it has invested more than $5 million into SUP and developed athletes and coaches. In addition, the ISA has tutored more than 700 SUP specialist coaches from 35 na- tions and welcomed more than 286 athletes from 42 countries to its landmark 2017 edition of the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Cham- pionship, held in Denmark. "SUP was created by surfers and is gov- erned by surfers," according to a statement by the ISA. "The ISA is committed to continuing to drive the sport of SUP forward, with the ultimate goal of one day seeing it included on the sports program for the Olympic Games, as has recently been achieved with surfing." An ISA news release said that as the interna- tional federation responsible for SUP, it will continue organizing groundbreaking world championships and develop the next genera- tion of SUP superstars. "We are excited to see what the future holds." Meanwhile, the ICF has an established relationships with the International Olympic Committee. Canoeing has been an Olympic sport for 80 years, while surfing will hold its first participation in the 2020 games in Tokyo. The ICF also is committed to seeing SUP as an Olympic sport. n t SPORT Report SUP in Annapolis, Md.

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