Anthony Vela is the ISA's new strategic advisor for stand-up paddle ©Getty Images

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has appointed former athlete Anthony Vela as its new strategic advisor for the stand-up paddle (SUP) discipline.

In the position Vela will be working closely with Casper Steinfath, the ISA vice-president and multi world champion in the SUP discipline, as well as the wider ISA leadership.

Vela is anticipated to play an influential role in deciding a range of issues, including SUP competition formats, competition rules, course designs, selecting judging panels and race officials for events, and competition scheduling.

He will also assist executive director Roberto Fasulo in aiding the technical management of SUP competitions when they are being held at multi-sport events.

The ISA say that he will work to raise the global profile of the 2022 ISA World Stand-Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships and to ensure it is carried out safely.

The hosts and dates for the competition are yet to be announced.

Some of Vela’s latest roles include working as the ISA race director for the 2018 and 2019 editions of the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships and assuming the same position for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima in Peru.

"I am stoked to support the ISA team and to continue to contribute to the global development of SUP as a surfing discipline," said Vela, who has previously worked as a coach, commentator and organiser.

Anthony Vela will have influence over a variety of SUP issues which include competition rules and formats ©Getty Images
Anthony Vela will have influence over a variety of SUP issues which include competition rules and formats ©Getty Images

"The potential for SUP on a global stage is huge and I have been thrilled to be a part of the ISA’s efforts to promote the sport at the World Championships and Pan Am Games.

"I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to getting to work."

ISA President Fernando Aguerre praised Vela’s appointment, referring to the importance he will have in growing SUP.

Aguerre cited that the global SUP board market is now worth around $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion/€1.3 billion) and it is predicted to surpass $3.8 billion (£2.8 billion/€3.4 billion) by 2032.

"SUP is hugely important for the ISA as we continue our programme of investment and promotion to develop the sport globally," Aguerre said.

"I am really happy to have someone of Anthony’s calibre and experience on our team and have no doubt he will make a big impact on our efforts.

"The global SUP community can look forward to great events in 2022 and, following surfing’s successful Olympic debut in Tokyo, the ISA is investing in our long-term plan to now see SUP included in the Olympic programme.

"Anthony’s extensive expertise and experience will help us along this journey and ensure we deliver the best SUP events for all athletes and fans."

In 2020, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the ISA and its competitive rival the International Canoe Federation, can both stage SUP events but only the ISA could govern at an Olympic level.

SUP is currently not classed as an Olympic discipline.