International Arbitration Stands Out in Paddleboarding


It’s now officially summer, so we at FairClaims wanted to take a break from discussing customer service and online dispute resolution, and focus on something a little more fun: international arbitration in sports.

Summer is a time filled with sunscreen and tanning lotion, packed beaches and camera-toting tourists, family barbeques with cousins you haven’t seen in months, and…stand-up paddleboarding? Yes, that’s right – paddleboarding is seeking to be an Olympic sport, but has run into a kink in its journey to the Olympics that begs a truly divisive question: is it more like canoeing, or more like surfing? As reported by the New York Times, the Court of Arbitration of Sports has taken it upon itself to try to solve this question, and will be presenting a much sought-after award to either the International Surfing Association or the International Canoe Federation before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Why does an international arbitration court have to take precious time to determine the winner? After all, you still get to go out into the Olympics to stand on top of a board (surfing?) and paddle yourself across water (canoeing?) for a chance at the Gold and world fame.

But, there’s a lot more to the story than just determining who controls what. Because it is highly likely for stand-up paddleboarding to become an official Olympic sport, the governing body that regulates it will be officially sanctioned by the Olympics, garnering worldwide recognition and large sums coming from potential sponsorship deals with their athletes.

Furthermore, in international arbitration circles, this is a big deal, as the entire outcome has been placed in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sports, an quasi-judicial body for arbitration in sports. As is the case with companies who use FairClaims online dispute resolution services seeking a faster, fairer way to resolve disputes for themselves and their customers, it’s clear that arbitration is becoming the favored resolution method globally and across industries.

The first steps towards compromise between the ISA and ICF have hit a wall, as both want complete jurisdiction over stand-up paddleboarding in ocean and flat-water circumstances. This is where arbitration shines, as it calls for an objective third party to take into account the cases brought in by both of the parties and to decide for them as fairly as possible.

While FairClaims might not be able to resolve this particular dispute, soon we will be able to have ISA in La Jolla talk to ICF in Lausanne without leaving their offices, and issue an award from a FairClaims arbitrator located in Atlanta. The future of arbitration is online, and we’re proud to be leading the charge.

The Olympics will have to wait a few more years to see stand-up paddleboard races take place, but you don’t have to wait to resolve your dispute. Contact FairClaims and shoot an email to info@fairclaims.com for info on how we can help save time and money when disputes arise.