International Canoe Federation President Thomas Konietzko has thanked the world stand up paddling community for helping confirm the ICF as the pre-eminent supporter of the sport globally.

Mr Konietzko used his speech at the opening ceremony of the 2023 ICF SUP World Championships to pay tribute to all those in the SUP family who have been part of the federation’s journey.

“Today, the ICF is proud to be the leading Federation in the development of SUP sport worldwide with the organisation of numerous World Cups and the cooperation with many professional organisers and the SUP industry,” Mr Konietzko said.

“And we owe it all to you for your ongoing support and commitment. As we embark on this new milestone in Thailand, let us remember the journey that brought us here and the trust that made it all possible.

“Thank you again for your belief in the ICF and for being a part of this incredible journey.”

Mr Konietzko observed how the ICF SUP World Championships have grown from just 145 athletes in 2019, to more than 1000 participants in Thailand this week. Pattaya marks the fourth ICF world titles, after successful competitions in Qingdao, Balaton in Hungary, and Gdynia in Poland.

“Since we organised the first world championships back in 2019, we knew that as the ICF, we had the experience and expertise to deliver professional events for SUP athletes,”he said.

“But in order to truly reflect the spirit of the SUP community, we understand that we should keep evolving and go beyond just offering professional competitions.

“Thanks to your support, we could embrace the special culture and feeling of SUP and take individual needs into account with a more flexible approach to create unforgettable experiences for all participants.”

The first medals at the 2023 world championships were decided on Thursday, with seven different countries sharing the eight SUP sprint titles on offer. Competition continues on Friday and will run through until Sunday.

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