Surfing-Surfing body chief vows to continue battle for SUP rights

By Jack Tarrant

By Jack Tarrant

MIYAZAKI, Japan, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The International Surfing Association (ISA) are adamant they have the rights to organise stand-up paddleboard (SUP) competitions after accusing their canoeing counterparts of copyright infringements in promotion of the fledgling sport.

ISA and the International Canoeing Federation (ICF) are embroiled in a battle for control over the future of SUP competitions.

Earlier this month, surfing’s governing body claimed the ICF used their footage in promotional material for next month's SUP World Championships in China.

The protracted dispute is expected to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before the championships scheduled to start on Oct. 24.

An ICF-backed SUP World Championship in Portugal was cancelled last year after the Portuguese CAS ruled the country's surfing association held the rights to the discipline.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre says it should be an open and shut case in favour of his organisation’s rights to SUP events.

"It is 10 years we have been supporting and promoting the stand-up world championships yet they never organised anything. Not even one (event)," he told Reuters at the World Surfing Games in Miyazaki on Saturday.

"We have fought this and we are going to fight it until CAS makes a decision."

"It is unfortunate that there isn’t a better method to solve this. We tried to converse, tried to mediate through CAS and eventually we were thrown into an arbitration process.”

"They used footage with ISA logos in their video and we have this submitted to CAS.”

The video has since been taken down from the ICF’s YouTube page and the body called it "an innocent mistake".

"As soon as we became aware that third party copyright might be included in the video, we took immediate steps to ensure that all copies of the video were removed," ICF said in the statement to Inside the Games website.

"This was an innocent mistake and any suggestion to the contrary is entirely false."

Both sports claim historic ties to SUP, which requires athletes to stand upright on their board and use a paddle to move.

However, Aguerre is adamant the sport was invented by surfers and accuses the ICF of wanting to usurp the discipline once it became popular.

"It is inevitable when you have a nice garden with nice flowers and nice fruits hanging from the trees that your next door neighbour says 'hey, that is my garden,'" said the Argentine.

"You never planted a tree, never mowed the lawn, you didn’t do anything. So I think the case is very obvious. It is a sport invented by surfers, it is a surfboard, you paddle in a surfing, standing position."

"I understand their desire to take away something that they didn’t realise was cool, or existed even. They came up with a typical solution – let's take it away."

Both canoeing and surfing are sports at next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where surfing will be making its Games debut. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)