The International Canoe Federation has announced it will host the first ever Masters, Juniors and Inflatables Standup Paddling World Championships later this year.
The first-time world titles will be part of the inaugural ICF SUP World Championships, which will be contested at Esposende and Viana Do Castelo in Portugal from August 30.
ICF President Jose Perurena said his Federation is responding to a call from its athletes and members to broaden the appeal of Standup Paddling.
“Our National Canoe Federations all around the world have been working hard for several years to develop SUP as a sport, and now we are seeing the benefits of that hard work,” Mr Perurena said.
“We are thrilled to be able to add these new events to what is already shaping as an incredible carnival. The response from many of the world’s best athletes to our SUP World Championships has been fantastic, and now we are hearing from the older and the younger athletes that they want to be part of the action as well.
“And for those who might not be familiar with inflatable SUPs, these World Championships are going to really open their eyes to the possibilities this craft can bring.
“Easy to carry on a plane or a train, inflatables are proving to be wonderfully convenient for many of our athletes. Now we will provide these athletes with a chance to become the first ever ICF Inflatable SUP World Champion.”
The Masters categories will begin from 40 years of age and will be contested in five-year blocks and will be contested over the 19.50 kilometre course.
The junior category will be open to all athletes aged between 15 and 18, and will also be held over the long course distance.
The inflatables title is expected to be contested over five kilometres.
“Our first ICF SUP World Championships is really starting to take shape, and is a great credit to everyone involved,” Mr Perurena said.
“The venue is world-class, the facilities are going to be the very best, more and more sponsors are signing up, and we already know the athletes are excited.
“We’ll have several more exciting announcements in the coming weeks which will further underline the ICF’s commitment to Stand Up Paddling.”
The 2018 International Canoe Federation Open, Masters, Junior and Inflatable Stand Up Paddling World Championships will run from August 30 until September 2 in Portugal.