We all know Stand Up Paddle Boarding is the fastest
growing sport in the world right now. But some of the statistics about SUP
might surprise you. It took less than 10 years for SUP to go from a non
recognizable word to a household name. Here are some of the key points that
have contributed to Stand Up Paddle Boarding becoming the immensely popular
sport it is today.
The growth of the SUP industry
The SUP industry has seen enormous growth over the last few years. The
number of manufacturers has dramatically increased each year as well as
specialized paddle boarding stores opening up across the United States.
1.2 million people tried SUP for the first time in 2011, with over 50% of those first time SUP users being interested in trying it again. In addition to all of the first time paddlers, experienced SUP users participated in over 9.6 million SUP outings in 2012. Those outings can range anywhere from a basic paddle to participating in a race or SUP event. Interestingly 25% of the population ages 18-65 have never done SUP but are interested in trying it out.
Check out the timeline of events
leading up to the tremendous growth of the SUP industry.
1960's - First documented photographs
of Stand Up Surfing emerge from Waikiki.
2003 - "Beach Boy Surfing"
(aka Stand Up Surfing" added to Buffalo Big Board Contest at Makahana
Beach. A photo of Laird Hamilton was picked up by surfing media.
2004 - Rick Thomas credited with
bringing SUP to California from Hawaii.
2007 - Standup Paddle Sports establishes
the first dedicated SUP store in North America.
2008 - The U.S. Coast Guard officially
classifies SUP boards as vessels.
2013 - SUP has the most first-time
participants of any sport in the USA
of the SUP Industry
The demographics of stand
up paddle boarding are constantly changing and very diverse from year to year.
This can be attributed to where the sport was started geographically, how it emerged into its own asport as
well as the rapid growth the sport has seen over the last 10 years. As in any
new sport or activity, it takes time to gain exposure to the masses and develop
a market clearly recognized and categorized by the public.
The median age for someone
SUPing in 2012 was 28. A study about the 2012 SUP Industry, by "The
Outdoor Foundation" states that stand up paddling attracted the most participants
in an outdoor activity in the U.S. That’s phenomenal for the new sport that’s
still “wet behind the ears” (no pun intended.) The study included all ages from
6+, with the 18-35 year old demographic having the most participation and the
most interest in the sport. In 2013, 43% of the people who went SUPing were female. A large part of
this can be attributed to the popularity of SUP Yoga as well as female media
highlighting the sport as an fun and exciting new way for women to exercise and
stay in shape.
While the SUP industry is growing
across the world, note the United States is the largest consumer of SUP related
products and boards. In 2011, 55,000 boards were purchased in USA, with Germany
and France accounting for 12,000 boards. According to “Tower Paddle Boards” and
“Paiwen paddle boards” 95% of all SUPs are made outside of North America
(overseas) although the bulk of SUPs are purchased in North America.
The SUP sporting goods category is still such a small and
young industry that each year new data comes out that completely changes how
the market is represented and understood. On the contrary we are starting to
see trends and areas of yearly growth in specific SUP subcategories. As the SUP
industry starts to mature in coming years, the percentage of growth is anticipated
to slow down becoming closer to that of the current paddle sports industry