Frequently Asked Questions

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

A: Since 2009, the WPA has been dedicated to paddle sports and the best growth 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 has provided the paddler with not only a more enjoyable experience, but with a voice with 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 help the sanctioned events operate in a smooth and stream lined manner during a period of massive growth.

The WPA continues to work with race directors, sponsors, and most importantly paddlers to ensure our association continues to head in the direction needed to have a great experience and equal access.

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 for paddle sports, 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 consensus for all parties determines the direction of the association.  You the paddler, the manufacturer and the race director have a voice and help determine the best path for the association and best growth of the sport.

If you are interesting in participating in the process please email us at



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 through PaddleGuru who provides the race solution (rankings go toward qualifying spots for selected events and a way to help track your progress against your peers) and finally members receive partner discounts 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 or receive partner discounts.



What are the SUP board classes and age groups that the WPA supports and can other paddle vessels compete in WPA sanctioned races? The WPA supports all paddle sports vessels like with OC1 & 2, Surfski, prone and SUP. With the rapid growth of the SUP competition in 2008 and 2009, the WPA recommended that races should support (still does) all board classes, 12’ 6” & under, 14’ & under, SUP Surfboard and unlimited for men and women, with the addition of the Foiling class. When SUP started growing in larger numbers, the WPA suggested age groups 17&U, 18-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+.  The WPA also included Juniors age divisions in 2013 with 8&U, 9-11, 12-14, 15-17 on 12’6 & under boards.  The WPA continues to evolve with the sport to provide the best growth for SUP and paddle sports.

Race Directors have the right to combine and add board classes and age groups to best benefit their race and the participants.  Categories are also dependent on challenges such as conditions, length of race, participation, etc.



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 three competitors in a division to receive points for rankings at a WPA sanctioned race.

Does the WPA rank both the long course (advanced) and short courses (recreational) together? No, the short course is defined as the Open/ Recreational length and the long course defined as the Elite or Advanced. Both the short and long courses are ranked so competitors can participate in the race to be ranked that best suits their ability.

Please note, while the WPA with partner PaddleGuru provides the points for rankings, it is up the race director to properly assign the correct ranking level for each of the races they offer.  This is communicated to all WPA sanctioned races.


Race Categories/Divisions for Rankings

• 12’6”& under
• 14′ & under
• Unlimited
• SUP Surfboard- 12’2″ less (short course only)


• 12’6”& under
• 14′ & under
• Unlimited
• SUP Surfboard- 12’2″ less (short course only)


As a race director am I required to use WPA Insurance? No, however for an event to be WPA sanctioned, the event must provide proof of insurance equal to or better to WPA insurance to be sanctioned and ensure the safety and coverage for all competitors, spectators, and sponsors.  Go to click on events and select Insurance.  You will find all of your event and instructor insurance needs provided by Outdoor Insurance Group.  Go to  Special rates are provided for WPA sanctioned races and WPA instructors.


Does a race have to be sanctioned by the WPA? No, however if a race would like the benefits and services that the WPA provides for sanctioned races, they can submit a sanctioning request.  Services include premium lower cost insurance, rankings, races listed and coordinated with a WPA Regional Race Director in 14 regions.

PaddleGuru Race Management System:

I have heard of PaddleGuru, do I have to use the PaddleGuru for my event? No, but your competitors will not receive WPA points for rankings. PaddleGuru offers a one stop race solution to easily help manage your event with your dedicated race webpage, registration, payment, timing and results.  If you are a WPA race, you will get the benefits and services previously mentioned along with rankings for your competitors.  PaddleGuru also works with chip timing systems.  PaddleGuru provides troubleshooting solutions and inclusion of your race on their calendar.  Go to for more information.


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 curriculum developed by the WPA Instruction Board of Directors that is compromised of the best 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 and click on the Instruction tab to get more information.

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

Join Now and Keep the vibe!


World Paddle Association