Down below we’ll overlook some of the key paddleboarding statistics from two popular watersport nations – the USA and UK. Although the stats are not that fresh in 2022, we can still get a brief overview of the market trends during the past decade.
After all, paddleboarding is a relatively new recreation. Compared to most other popular watersports, we are the very beginning of this new – two-in-one sport and leisure activity. Let’s have a look:
*Paddleboarding offer a great alternative to kayaks, canoes and other small watercraft
*Paddleboards have become popular surf-crafts
*Popularization of inflatable SUPs has been a key factor for increased popularity
*From 2010 to 2020, paddleboarding has seen a steady market growth
*From 2022 to 2027, paddleboarding is expected to grow as steadily
USA SUP participants (2011 – 2022)
In 2020, there were around 3,68 million active paddleboarders in the United States of America, and the number is naturally predicted to increase as steadily. The main root of growth is that paddleboards offer a great alternative to many, much larger and rigid platforms for open ocean touring, fishing and leisurly rides. Also, the selection of different types and sizes have increased with the total number of SUP brands.
US Paddle Sports Sales (June 2019 – June 2020)
Paddle sports include kayaking, rafting, stand up paddleboarding and canoeing. In a one year time period, from 2019 to 2020 – paddle sports sales increased by 63% in the US. The pre-pandemic era, where many new inflatable paddle board brands entered the SUP market. Many new brands that started making SUPs around 2017-2019 have made their way closer to the sales funnels.
United Kingdom (2019)
As we can see, in the UK paddle sports are the second most popular water-related recreation right after outdoor swimming. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are definitely a favorable sport in UK, an island country surronded by sea. Although, as the waters in UK are not as warm as in Australia, Hawaii or the United States, surfing is way less popular than paddleboarding at 1.2% compared to any other activity.
In comparison – the UK surf stats (2015-2020)
Surfing in UK (surfing, bodyboarding, kite surfing, windsurfing) is still a relatively small portion compared to their 67-million population (in 2021). Surfers in UK make only 0.2% of the whole population.
Youth Surfing in US (2006 – 2020)
From 451 000 to 1,139,000 young participants, the popularity of youth surfing in the US has shown a steady 48% increase in a 10-year time period. A slow yet steady growing population of the sport. One of the main reasons for slower increase might be that surfing, compared to paddle sports – requires a way more dedicated approach and good surf breaks for participants to stick to the sport. Paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing are much easier disciplines where one can use the platform for many other uses as well.
SUP Market Value – Worldwide (2015 – 2020)
From 4.96-billion USD to 9,99-billion USD, a 49.6% increase in five years is great news for both paddleboarders and to the SUP brands. Although surf apparel makes the majority of surf industry, the main income from paddleboard industry becomes from board sales, and renting business.
US stand-up paddling participants (2011 – 2020)
During the 9-year period from 2011 to 2022, the number of paddleboarders have increased from 1,150 000 to 3,680 000, a 31.25% increase. While the inflatable paddleboards came to the market around 2015, it was just in the recent years, around 2021 when the selection of different type and size ratio were well coverd for the end-consumer.
Conclusion & predictions for the future
Popularity of paddleboards will definitely see an increase and stable growth during the 2020’s. At the moment, there are around 90 more-known brands that have produced a wide variety of boards in different sizes, types, materials, and price categories. Compared to their close counterparts – kayaks, canoes, and surfboards – paddleboards offer an easy entry to the recreation. A major selling point is also the fact that the majority of SUPs are inflatable, which make it much more accessible to many.
Read next – History of Paddleboarding
I created Nulltuul to share my experience, research and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels - I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.