Entries for this week’s ICF stand up paddling world championships in Qingdao have climbed above 200, with 41 countries signed up for what will be the biggest world championships held outside of Europe. The official closing date for entries is still 24 hours away, but already the number of athletes who have registered and the number of countries who will be represented, has thrilled organisers.
“We knew for some time there was a hunger among athletes for the ICF to put on a great event and now they have supported our decision to come to China in great numbers,” ICF SUP advisory committee chairman, Rami Zur, said. “The feeling on the ground is fantastic. The venue is taking shape, our Chinese hosts are very enthusiastic and working overtime to make sure everything is in place, the event already has a great feel to it. “We are determined to show that the ICF run top level world championships. We can’t wait for Friday to arrive.”

Athletes from every continent will be represented during the world championships, including several nations who will be competing at their first ever world titles. The ICF has been running a development camp for new SUP athletes, which has attracted more than 20 competitors from 13 countries. Many of the world’s best SUP athletes have already arrived in Qingdao, including Mistral’s team rider from, Brazil’s Lena Guimaraes Ribeiro, the gold medalist from this year’s Pan American Games. It’s her first visit to China.
“I’m so excited to be here, I think it is going to be a great event, great athletes and the place is awesome,” she said. “This has been a wonderful year for me. The Pan American Games was so big for me and I also won the SUP 11City race in Holland and I hope I can finish off well here. It would be a great way to finish off the year.

“I love stand up paddling because it’s the kind of sport that everyone can do. There are so many different types of races. The conditions here will be good, because there will be a little bit of wind so it will make a challenge.” The International Canoeing Federation World Championships 2019 are soon to get underway from the 24th October to the 27th and will star some of the best SUP racers on the planet. Also representing Mistral, Martino Rogai from Italy, keen to race amongst the world’s best.

There’s been many contentious moments during the ICF’s move to embrace the sport of SUP but the inescapable fact remains, this a paddle sport that just happens to be practised standing. Paddle sports are of course at the heart of the ICF’s reason to exist and they are well skilled and versed in running paddling events of all types supported by a wealth of paddlers from differing disciplines. Add to this, the very long list of canoeists both inland and coastal who are finding appeal in SUP and it makes sense that the ICF’s association has genuine kudos. More importantly, the event needs to win over the sports leading exponents in order that they give genuinely of their support and allegiance to the aims of the ICF. Lena and Martino will have the choice of the Mistral 14’ Vanquish or Vortex boards both race winning boards on any given day, though they will be up against fierce competition.

Wisely, the ICF have had no issue on the matter of which board length to use, opting for the faster more versatile 14’ board where length equals glide regardless of any other debate in order to have the best racing. The event shall be covered by SUPracer.com and takes place in Qingdao China and includes, sprint, technical, long distance and inflatable races for juniors and masters.

The 2019 ICF stand up paddling world championships begin on Friday and run through to Sunday. You can watch the races on the PlanetCanoe YouTube page.