Q: What is the World Paddle Association (WPA)?

A: The WPA is dedicated to the sport of  Stand UP Paddling (SUP). It is our goal to provide a common ground from which the community as a whole can find information, event support, and provide assistance to the sport of SUP during a period of rapid growth.

Q: Why should I join the WPA?

A: The WPA provides you, the paddler, with not only a more enjoyable and reliable experience, but with a voice in the future of your sport. With more and more events being held every weekend the need for oversight and regulation is becoming a very real concern.

Your support is essential to our success. Membership dues cover the cost of operation, and allow the WPA to continue to make the events we love and cherish operate in a smooth and stream lined manner during a period of massive growth.

The WPA is diligently working with race directors, sponsors, and most importantly paddlers to ensure our association continues to head down the right path.

There have been a few questions asked of us lately and we want to help clarify the WPA’s mission, goals and objectives.


Our Mission: The mission of the WPA is to provide a comprehensive voice, fair and equal access and organizational structure to the sport of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and its participants in a manner that benefits the collective paddling community.

Our Objective: Is to provide a consistent and fair experience for paddlers, through established classes, guidelines and safety.

Who is the WPA, and how are decisions made? The WPA is comprised of a Board of Directors (BOD) three Advisory Board (AB), Paddlers, Manufacturers and Race Directors).  The group as a whole votes on each matter. The group consensus for all parties determines the association direction.  No one individual determines the directives of the association. You the paddler, the manufacturer and the race director have a voice and help determine the best path for the association.


If you are interesting in participating in the process please email us at info@worldpaddleassociation.com.



What do I get and why do I need to be a member? As a member you have made a commitment to help support the mission and goals of the WPA. In addition, members are part of a national rankings system (The rankings go toward qualifying spots for the Hennessey’s WPA Championships and a way to help track your progress against your peers) and finally members receive vendor discounts, free product and other member opportunities.

Do I have to be a member? Non- WPA members are more than welcome to participate at any WPA sanctioned events.   Non-members will not be included in the regional and national ranking system.



I hear the WPA is trying to eliminate my favorite division? This is incorrect.  It is the race director’s decision what division to support based on participation.  The WPA recommends and supports all board classes, Stock (12’ 6” and under), 14’, Unlimited and SUP Surfboard, for men and women.  Additionally Juniors (16 and under) and 50+ age categories (in one board class each race) are also supported.

“Race Directors have the option to omit any of the categories if they so choose depending on regional challenges such as conditions, length of race and participation, etc.  These are recommended guidelines available from the WPA, but they are going to now be to categories that WPA will both sanction and rank against”.



What categories are ranked and are there a minimum number of competitors that need to compete in a division to receive points (see below)? Yes, the minimum is five competitors in a division to receive points for rankings at a WPA sanctioned race.

Does the WPA rank both the long (advanced) and short courses (recreational)? No, the short course is deemed a recreational length and the long course deemed the open length. The long course will be the only course ranked at an event.  If there is a change in the protocol your race director will post this prior to the event, so you can determine the best event for your skills.


What if I am not a member and want to join once the season has started? Will I still get points? As you can imagine compiling all of the data for the rankings takes a tremendous amount of effort and time.  The WPA will allow all non-member participants who want to be included with points for rankings and to qualify for the Hennessey’s-WPA World Championship a grace period of three events from the start of a regional or national series for your points to be retro-active.  Non-members will have five days after the third race of a given regional race series to become a WPA member.  After five days from the third event in a race series all points will only accumulate for races that a participant is a member.  Rankings will be posted 2-3 weeks after the third race in a given race series.  If you see a discrepancy please let us know as soon as possible after rankings are posted, otherwise the results are final.  Send any questions about rankings to Info@worldpaddleassociation.com


Race Categories/Divisions for Rankings


• Stock (12’6”)
• 14′
• Unlimited
• 50+ one board size, to be determined by race director of each event.
• 17 and Under
• SUP Surfboard- 12’2″ less (short course)


• Stock (12’6”)
• 14′
• Unlimited
• 50+ one board size, to be determined by race director of each event.
• 17 and Under
• SUP Surfboard- 12’2″ less (short course)

World Championship Qualifying:

How can a WPA member find out how to qualify if you have qualified for the Hennessey’s-WPA World Championship? The qualifying criteria will be posted on the WPA website and participants who have qualified will be posted as well through the year up the world championship.

Do you have to be a WPA member to qualify for the world championship? No, however there are only two ways that you can qualify without being a WPA member, (1) to have placed in the top 20% of your board division in the 2010 Hennessey’s International Paddle race, long course only, (2) to place in the top 30% of your board division in the 2011 Hennessey’s-WPA National Championship on July 9 at Redondo Beach, CA in the long course race only.


As a race director am I required to use WPA Insurance? No, however for an event to be WPA sanctioned the event must have insurance equal to or better for any event to be sanctioned to ensure the safety and coverage for all competitors, spectators, sponsors etc.


Does a race have to be sanctioned by the WPA? No, however if you would like to be to get extra marketing and be able to offer qualifying spots to your participants for the Hennessey’s-WPA World Championship your event must be sanctioned.

Blast Race Management System:

I have heard of Blast, do I have to use the Blast RMS for my event? No, however Blast Paddlers has offered the WPA access to their system to help optimize and simplify the race processes. In addition, we are using the Blast system for the rankings system as we can push race results directly into the Blast system. If you choose to not use Blast for your sanctioned race you will need to supply the race data back to the WPA in the predetermined format to integrate the results into the Blast system.  Race directors not using Blast for their event will be responsible for supplying the WPA will completed data in the required format that the WPA will supply.   Also, given that Blast provides for results to posted immediately on www.blastpaddlers.com we will need everyone that is not using Blast to post results within 48 hours from the day of your event.


Does the WPA offer instruction certification? Yes, the WPA offers a SUP Instructors Certification classes that are conducted around the country and other regions of world. The curriculmn is put in place by the WPA Instruction Board of Directors that is compromised of elite safety waterman with extensive training, competitive backgrounds and certifications.

How do I find about more on how to get certified? All of the WPA Certified instructors will be posted on the WPA website to get instructor training and or lessons.  Go to www.worldpaddleassociation.com and click on the Instruction tab to get more information.

We invite you to join the WPA now and become a part of solution.

Join Now!
Keep the vibe!


World Paddle Association