SUP: The Fastest-Growing Outdoor Rec Activity in the US

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has been growing faster than any other outdoor recreational sport in the United States.

SUP paddler

The Outdoor Industry Association tracks how Americans engage in outdoor recreation each year. Their 2017 Participation Report shows stand-up paddleboarding has grown at a whopping 61.6% between 2014-2016. (See the Topline Report here)

(The next fastest-growing activity was BMX biking at 43.2%.)

The first time I saw someone on a stand-up paddleboard was in 2011 on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. As a paddler myself, it instantly caught my attention—but I had no idea what it was or what it was called.

Incidentally, that was just a year after OIA started tracking SUPing in its annual report, as numbers became available.

aqua-bound SUP paddle

What is it about SUP that intrigues so many people?

I posed this question to some of Aqua-Bound’s SUP ProStaffers. Here’s what they said:

“SUP is an activity that can be done regardless of age! From my five year-old to active seniors, it's safe, fun and a great workout.” Karla Briones (Ottawa, Ontario)

“SUP is becoming a sport that has opened up to people of all ages and athletic abilities. In the past SUP was something done on the coasts or whitewater rivers. In the Midwest it is done as a recreational activity and a leisure sport. This is a result of brands and retailers recognizing that this is a unique region and different style of SUP audience. As a result they are making products for it and creating ways for all levels to enjoy the sport.” Jesse Hieb (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

“What really makes the sport so great? Its ease of use—if you can kneel or stand up on your board, you can paddle. Unlike surfing, SUP is very easy to learn, you can be on the water and on your way to adventure in well under an hour. This is why you see people of all ages are enjoying the sport, even dogs love riding along!" Mary Lou Cerami (Chicago, Illinois)

"Stand-up paddle boarding caters to a wide variety of abilities and allows access to enjoy many types of water while burning calories and not gas. Fishing from a SUP allows for the ultimate stealth approach, access to skinny/fishy water & further casts." Sean Callinan (Branford, Connecticut)

Are you a SUPer? Email us and let us know why you love it! If you haven’t tried it yet, why not be one of the growing number of Americans jumping into this great paddling sport?

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