Over 200 athletes are set to compete at the International Canoe Federation's (ICF) first Stand Up Paddling (SUP) World Championships in Qingdao in China this weekend.
The event, taking place during a dispute between the ICF and the International Surfing Association (ISA) over the ownership of the discipline, begins tomorrow and concludes on Sunday (October 27).
The ICF claim a host of the world's top SUP racers, mainly those who have won gold medals at the ISA's own World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, will be in action over the three days of competition.
Australia's Michael Booth, Sonni Honscheid of Germany, France's Olivia Piana and Americans Fiona Wylde and Connor Baxter are among those due to participate.
Brazil's Lena Guimaraes Ribeiro, gold medallist at the Pan American Games in Lima in August, has also entered the event.
"We knew for some time there was a hunger among athletes for the ICF to put on a great event, and now they have supported our decision to come to China in great numbers," ICF SUP Advisory Committee chairman Rami Zur said.
ICF SUP #development camp is off to a great start! We have participants from all over the world looking to become #nextlevel #paddlers. 🔝👍#Niceweather #Beautiful #Beach #BeachLife #GreatPeople #ICFstandup #PlanetCanoe #SUP #ICFworlds #WorldChampionships #Qingdao #China pic.twitter.com/vL0Kfs0b3D— Planet Canoe (@PlanetCanoe) October 21, 2019
"The feeling on the ground is fantastic.
"The venue is taking shape, our Chinese hosts are very enthusiastic and working overtime to make sure everything is in place, the event already has a great feel to it.
"We are determined to show that the ICF run top-level World Championships."
The ICF event will be the first of two SUP World Championships in the space of a month, with the ISA competition in El Salvador between November 23 and December 1.
It was initially scheduled for Portugal last year, but the ICF was forced to cancel the event after the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled the country's national surfing body had exclusive control of the discipline.
The row between the ICF and ISA is heading to the CAS in Lausanne and is due to be settled this month.
The ISA first held a SUP World Championship in 2012.