Surfing Australia SUP Series Provides Pathway From Grassroots To World Title

16 Feb 2012 0 Share

A direct pathway fromgrassroots stand-up paddling (SUP) through to State, National and World titlesand ultimately the Olympic Games is now firmly established following a forum ofsome of the sport’s key stakeholders on the Gold Coast.

Attendees at the forum included representatives from Surfing Australia, itsState branches, leading paddlers including Jamie Mitchell, Justin Holland andPaul Jackson, and grassroots club representatives from Queensland, NSW andVictoria.

The forum established criteria for the upcoming Surfing Australia SUP Series,which begins with the Victorian and Western Australia SUP titles on February25-26. A Surfing Australia SUP committee was also established and includes:Mark Temple (South Australia), Troy Pease (Queensland), Elyse Comerford (NSW),Neil Thompson (Western Australia) and Paul Harrington (Victoria).

The series will be held across three divisions – surfing; Technical Racefollowing a Battle of the Paddle style format between 4-8km; and 20km Marathon.The Technical Race will be held on boards 12’6 and under, and the Marathon willbe held on boards 14’ and under with fixed fins. The Battle of the Paddleformat involves several laps of a course paddling in and back out through thesurf.

Each State – Victoria, WA, SA, NSW and Queensland – will host their own SUPtitles before the series culminates in the Australian SUP titles to be held atPort Macquarie from August 19-20, 2012.

The winners at the Australian SUP titles will represent Australia at the annualInternational Surfing Association (ISA) World SUP Titles.

Mitchell, the 10-times Molokai paddleboard champion and former Battle of thePaddle SUP winner, said a clear pathway was a major step forward for thedevelopment of SUP in Australia. Mitchell is leading TravelSIM Team Australiato Peru next week for the ISA World SUP titles in Peru.

"Like anything you have to start with the basics or the grassroots and inAustralia that’s local clubs, through to the State branches and the StateTitles, through to the Australian Titles and then the World Titles through theISA who are part of the International Olympic Committee,” Mitchell said.

“So I think it’s important there is support for the only pathway to the OlympicGames down the track.

“When you look at the track record of Surfing Australia and what they have donewith surfing then this series is the right move for stand-up paddling. There’snow an opportunity for anyone to participate at any level they want to. Iflocal club members want to just have a bit of fun they can enter their clubevents, but if they want to take it to the next level then the opportunity isnow there.”

Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said the organisation was committed tosupporting the new SUP series and the sport as it grows in Australia. Theinaugural Jamie Mitchell SUP Camp to be held at the Hurley Surfing AustraliaHigh Performance Centre at Casuarina in northern NSW filled quickly and willnow also include Battle of the Paddle winner Travis Grant and Australianchampion Justin Holland to provide coaching.

“Surfing Australia is determined to embrace SUP in Australia by providing theonly legitimate pathway to give any Australian participant the chance torepresent the country at the World Titles,” Stark said.

“This weekend a powerful Travelsim Team Australia leaves for Peru for the ISAWorld Titles and we have high hopes of the team performing well.”

TravelSIM Team Australia includes Jamie Mitchell, OC champion and fellow Battleof the Paddle winner Travis Grant, former Molokai champion and currentAustralian SUP surfing champion Shakira Westdorp and defending Molokai championJordan Mercer, who will compete in the paddleboard division. Also in the teamare current Australian SUP surfing men’s champion Justin Holland and currentAustralian longboard champion Jackson Close, who finished second to Holland atthe national SUP titles, and champion prone paddleboarders Joel Mason and BradGaul.

Surfing Australia SUP Series:
Divisions:
Surfing: Open Men; Open Women; Over 40s
Racing Technical (Battle of the Paddle format – 12’6 and under) – 4-8km sprint:Open Men; Open Women; Over 40s
Racing Marathon (14’ and under) – 20km: Open Men; Open Women; Over 40s

Schedule:
Event 1: February 25-26: Victorian SUP Titles, Pt Danger, Torquay
Event 2: February 25-26: HIF WA State Longboard and SUP Titles presented bySunSmart, Yallingup
Event 3: May 19: South Australian SUP titles, Victor Harbor
Event 4: May 24-27: NSW SUP Titles Festival, Port Stephens
Event 5: June 9-11: Surfing Queensland SUP and Ocean Paddle Festival, GoldCoast
Event 6: August 19-20: National final: Australian Surf Festival – AustralianSUP Titles, Port Macquarie, NSW

The Surfing Australia SUP Series is supported by the Australian SportsCommission, the International Surfing Association, Nikon and Suncorp.

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