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The ISA is unequivocally opposed, on ethical and medical grounds, to the practice of doping in sport and fully supports the position of the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the use of banned substances and methods.

The use, possession and/or trafficking of banned substances, methods, or the encouragement or counseling to use banned substances, or methods, and/or taking measures to mask the use of banned substances, or methods by any participant in competitions over which the ISA has jurisdiction is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

As a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, the ISA implements a strict adherence to the Code as a way to ensure a clean, healthy and fair sporting atmosphere for all athletes. By conducting both in-competition and out-of-competition testing, the ISA confirms proper testing and results management methods are administered throughout the sport.

The rules and regulations of ISA’s Anti-doping Policy aim to:

  • Promote Surfing as a drug-free sport;
  • Uphold and preserve the ethics of Sport;
  • Ensure that all athletes have an opportunity to compete equally;
  • Safeguard the physical health and mental integrity of the athletes;
  • Establish consistent standards of anti-doping policy and testing;
  • Encourage Member Federations to execute similar regulations with their athletes.
  • In addition, the ISA strives to continuously educate and monitor the National Federations’ yearly activities regarding their self-implemented policies to members. It is of the utmost importance that the ISA member federations accept and promote an anti-doping policy within their national events, camps and championships.

The WADA Code: Who is subject to the code?

If you are a national – or international – level athlete, the Code applies to you. “International-level”athletes are defined by the athletes’ International Federation. “National-level” athletes are defined by the athletes’ National Anti-Doping Organization.

Roles & Responsibilities

As an athlete, you have certain roles and responsibilities. These include:

  • You must know and comply with all “applicable anti-doping policies and rules.”
  • You must take responsibility for what you “ingest,” meaning what you eat and drink and anything that may enter your body. The essential rule is this: if it is in your body, you are responsible for it. In legal terms, this is called “strict liability.”
  • You must be available for sample collection.
  • You must inform medical personnel that they are obligated not to give you prohibited substances or methods. You must also take responsibility to make sure that any medical treatment you receive does not violate the Code.
  • You must cooperate with anti-doping organizations investigating anti-doping rule violations.
  • For more details, see links below under the “Get Educated” section

Coaches, trainers, managers, agents and other support personnel are often role models for athletes. They, too, have certain rights and responsibilities. These include:

  • They must know and comply with all anti-doping policies and rules that apply to them or the athletes they support.
  • They must cooperate with the athlete-testing program.
  • They must use their considerable influence to promote a clean sport philosophy.
  • They must cooperate with Anti-Doping Organizations investigating anti-doping rule violations.
  • They must not use or possess any prohibited substance or method without a valid justification.
    For more details, see links below under the “Get Educated” section



In-competition testing

All Athletes competing in ISA World Championships or ISA Sanctioned Events shall be subject to In Competition Testing at any time, with or without advance notice.

All ISA World Championship finalists (gold-copper) per division will be tested

In addition, the ISA typically conducts 3 random drug tests at every ISA event. The ISA will determine, in its sole discretion, whether random tests will be conducted or not, based on a variety of factors including but not limited to: event schedule, medical staffing schedule and available supplies.

a. Random athletes are selected via computerized random number generator in the presence of the testing doctor or other impartial witness.

All minors under 18 years of age must have a legal guardian or representative present at the time of testing. The representative and the athlete must sign all supporting documentation.

Out of competition testing

All Athletes under the jurisdiction of a Nation Federation that is a member of the ISA shall be subject to Out of Competition Testing at any time or place, with or without advance notice.

The ISA maintains a Registered Testing Pool of Athletes who are required to comply with the whereabouts requirements of the WADA International Standard for Testing.

The ISA notifies all athletes of their inclusion in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP), after which it becomes the responsibility of the athlete to forward their Whereabouts Filing and thereafter to provide the ISA with updated information specifying their whereabouts. The ISA provides detailed instructions to athletes and their managers for this process.

Like all International Federations, the ISA’s Registered Testing Pool is comprised of top- level athletes who are subject to both In-Competition and Out-of-Competition testing. The ISA’s RTP is updated annually, or more frequently at the ISA’s discretion.

All minors under 18 years of age must have a legal guardian or representative present at time of testing. In addition to the athlete, the representative must sign all supporting documentation.

Therapeutic exemption rule

What is a Tue?

Athletes, like all people, may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take a particular medication/substance or undergo certain procedures/methods. If the substance or method appears on WADA’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, athletes must obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) in order to have the permission to take it or use it. TUEs can only be granted by Anti-Doping Organizations following a robust review process that is defined in WADA’s International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions and involves evaluation by a panel of at least three physicians specialized in sports medicine and/or other relevant specialties.

Who must obtain TUE’s from ISA?

The ISA Anti-Doping Rules (ISA ADR) require that all International-level Athletes*  who need to take medication/treatment which is on WADA’s Prohibited List must submit a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) application to ISA as follows:

  • If the Athlete does not already have a TUE granted by his/her National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), he/she must apply directly to ISA.
  • If the Athlete already has a TUE granted for national-level competitions by his/her NADO, that TUE is automatically valid for international-level competition and it is not necessary to apply to ISA for recognition, provided that such TUE decision has been reported in accordance with Article 5.4 of the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions and therefore is available for review by WADA.

International-level Athletes are defined in the ISA ADR as reported below.

Which athletes are considered to be “International-level athletes”?

International-level athletes are defined as (1) athletes included in the ISA Registered Testing Pool (RTP), or (2) Athletes who compete in any of the following International Events:

  1. World Surfing Games;
  2. World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship;
  3. World Longboard Surfing Championship;
  4. World Bodyboard Championship;
  5. World Masters Surfing Championship;
  6. World Adaptive (Para) Surfing Championship;
  7. World Kneeboard Championship;
  8. World Tandem Championship;
  9. World Junior Surfing Championship (*Athletes competing in U16 division only are not to be considered “International Athletes”).

I am an international-level athlete. How and when should I apply to ISA for a TUE?

  • As soon as a new treatment is prescribed to you, you must check whether it involves prohibited substances or methods. If this is the case, a TUE Application Form must be completed, signed and sent to ISA ([email protected]) by you or through your National Federation. In accordance with the ISA ADR, TUE applications should be sent at least thirty (30) days before your next competition.
  • TUE applications must be adequately documented with relevant medical records in order to be considered. According to the ISA ADR, medical evidence confirming the diagnosis and explaining the reasons for the required treatment shall be transmitted along with the TUE application. The medical evidences must include a comprehensive medical history and the results of all relevant examinations, laboratory investigation and imaging studies. Please note that applications sent without medical evidence cannot be considered. Please refer your treating physician to the medical information available on WADA’s website to support the decisions of TUE committees. In case of doubts, contact [email protected]
  • Once your application is received, ISA may request additional information in order to document the clinical situation in accordance with WADA’s Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions. The ISA TUE Committee has twenty-one (21) days to issue a decision once the full application (including sufficient medical documentation) is received. For this reason, you should send your TUE application at least 21 days prior to your next competition.
  • If it is not possible for you to apply 30 days before the decision is needed, you must imperatively attest the urgent nature of the application in the form. ISA tries to be as flexible as possible to accommodate these situations, however urgent applications should be exceptional not routine.
  • TUE applications cannot be considered for retroactive approval except in the cases mentioned in article 4.3 of the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.
  • Once a TUE is granted: (1) any change in substance, dosage, route of administration and/or frequency requires the submission of a new TUE application (ISTUE Art. 6.12); and (2) in case of persistence of the medical condition, it is the athlete’s responsibility to apply in advance for renewal of the present TUE prior to its expiry date.

Athletes selected for doping control must systematically (i.e. regardless of the presence of a TUE) declare on the Doping Control Form the use of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications as well as supplements taken in the last 7 days.

What happens if my treatment involves prohibited substances/methods and I do not have a TUE?

Using a prohibited substance or method on WADA’s Prohibited List before or without TUE approval will most likely result in an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) in the event of an anti-doping test. It is therefore important that athletes check very carefully whether any treatment they are prescribed involves prohibited substances or methods. Athlete should also not assume that all medical professionals who prescribe medication have a full understanding of anti-doping-related matters in their sport. Athletes are advised to treat the matter of TUEs seriously and in all instances seek expert advice.

For more general information about TUEs please visit WADA TUEs section.

For any request, clarification or doubt please contact: [email protected]

The ISA is available and willing to assist any member federations with the implementation and organization of a strong anti-doping plan. 

Please contact [email protected] to discuss bettering the drug-free future of your athletes.


ISA Anti-Doping Rules

WADA Prohibited List

TUE Application Form – 2022 Version

Checklist for TUE Applications

Link to the WADA SpeakUp Whistleblowing Platform:

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Website

Athlete Reference Guide to 2015 Code

WADA Video Tutorial

List of WADA Accredited Laboratories

2021 ISA Anti-Doping Statistical Report

Anti-Doping Privacy Notice – WADA template – ISA


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