The Popularity of Stand Up Paddle Boarding is Still on the Rise

Posted by: roger on Feb 03, 2016

Stand up paddle boarding, otherwise known as SUP, was once an ancient method of transportation. Today it’s much more than a way to get from point A to point B – it’s a trendy way for people across the country to spend time on the water. It’s becoming an ever-increasingly popular way for tourists to enjoy the beaches of Maui, Floridians to take to the seas, and even a way for New York folks to ring in the New Year.

Though it was indeed originally an ancient transportation method for cities surrounded by bodies of water, stand up paddle boarding got its start as a water sport in Hawaii. One of the many things that enthusiasts love is that it can be done by almost anyone. While surfing requires a certain level of dexterity and flexibility, stand up paddle boarding is enjoyed by young kids, older adults, and everyone in between.

One of the reasons it’s continued to be so popular along many different lines is the fact that there are so many different types of SUP boards available. Those most interested in racing can pick long, skinny boards, while casual riders can pick a wider, sturdier one. Folks can do yoga or fish off them, and there are even inflatable boards for riders who want to take their boards on the go.

While it was once viewed as nothing more than a fad or fringe sport, it’s now taking its place in the ever-increasing field of outdoor recreation. Many companies are making some serious money selling boards, accessories, and paddles.

In the past, SUP was generally limited to ocean-dwellers, but these days it’s moved well beyond the coasts. From inland lakes and rivers, to private ponds, folks love the exercise they get, enjoy racing, and even do yoga with friends – and their pets! – aboard.

According to one study from the Outdoor Foundation, participation in this sport has grown three-fold in just a few years – from 2010 to 2014. These impressive stats make it one of the quickest-growing outdoor sports in the world. Consider that in 2015 more than 2.5 million people took part in the sport, compared to just 1 million in 2010. These numbers put it on par with popular sports like BMX biking and surfing.

Another reason SUP is so popular is because it’s easy to learn. While surfing lessons can help virtually anyone master surfing, it takes years of practice to become great. SUP enthusiasts report feeling proficient almost from the very beginning.