Sup statistics and history

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Sup statistics and history for stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, has become an increasingly popular activity in recent years, enjoyed by individuals of all ages and skill levels. In more modern times orriginating in Hawaii, SUP has a rich history that spans thousands of years and has evolved into a modern water sport with global appeal. In this article, we will explore some interesting SUP statistics and take a look at the history of this popular activity. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a mainstream sport, we will delve into the fascinating world of stand-up paddleboarding.

SUP statistics and history will always be interesting to follow for the SUP enthusiast. Stand up paddle boarding has become mainstream for some time now; although it's been enjoyed for decades, its popularity exploded around 2005. Enthusiasts express SUP possibilities as limitless—some important figures have even predicted it will become an Olympic sport. As with any sport, records, statistics and history are markers of growth in popularity and of opportunities for athletic excellence. 

Now that stand up paddle boarding has gained wide popularity—and with it more festivals, races, and skill-based competitions—expect to see more SUP statistics recorded and released. As statistics become available, we’ll keep this page fresh so you can watch the cutting edge evolve.

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According to "Bard" here are some key 2023 statistics about stand up paddle boarding globally:

Market size: 
The global stand-up paddleboard market was estimated to be worth $2.6 billion in 2023. This is a significant increase from previous years, and the market is expected to continue growing at a steady rate in the coming years.

  • Growth rate: The global stand-up paddleboard market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% between 2021 and 2026. This means that the market is expected to double in size over the next five years.
  • Popularity: Stand-up paddleboarding is becoming increasingly popular all over the world.This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that it is a relatively easy sport to learn, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels, and it is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Regions: The North American market is the largest for stand-up paddleboarding, followed by Europe and Asia. However, the market is growing rapidly in other regions, such as South America and Africa.
  • Trends: Some of the key trends in the stand-up paddleboarding market include the growing popularity of inflatable boards, the increasing demand for high-performance boards, and the rise of niche markets such as yoga paddleboarding and SUP fishing.

A brief history of stand up paddle boarding by Robert Stehlik

The following link will take you to an interesting article written by Corran Addison and published in SUP World Mag, April of 2013 called "The History of Stand up Paddling"


According to a market research report by Technavio, the global stand-up paddleboard market was valued at $343.4 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $494.8 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 8% during the forecast period. The report also stated that the North American region dominated the market with a share of 43% in 2018.

Another report by Statista states that the number of people who participated in stand-up paddleboarding in the United States in 2020 amounted to approximately 3.99 million. This number has been steadily increasing over the years, with 3.34 million people participating in 2015.

It is worth noting that these statistics may not account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the paddleboarding industry, as the pandemic may have affected participation rates and market growth.


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2018 - 2028


Inflatable paddle boards are gaining ground with greater development of better, stronger materials.


ICF claim "very best" SUP athletes will compete at World Championships

The North America Stand Up Paddle Board Industry
has released a Market Report for the SUP industry.

What you can expect:

-Comprehensive Study of the North America Stand Up Paddle Board market.

-Evaluation of North America Stand Up Paddle Board market progress.

-Important revolution in North America Stand Up Paddle Board market.

-Share study of North America Stand Up Paddle Board industry.

-North America Stand Up Paddle Board market primary strategies of dominant manufacturers.

-Full data regarding Segmentation details of the North America Stand Up Paddle Board industry.

-Rising North America Stand Up Paddle Board industry segments and local markets.

Sup statistics and history continued

SUP statistics and history is widely available on the internet and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. However, some countries may have a higher concentration of SUP enthusiasts and may be more likely to feature such content. Countries such as the United States, Australia, and Canada are known for their thriving SUP communities, and it's possible to find photos, articles, and videos related to SUP statistics and history from these locations. Additionally, many popular SUP brands and athletes are based in these countries, making them a great resource for SUP-related content.


According to Statista, the chart below shows comparison and interest over time (2015 – 2020)

"Profiling the sport of stand up paddle boarding" report released in July 2015 from the "Journal of Sports Sciences". See the following link:

Guinness World Records

Human and dog paddleboarding - Guinness World Records

The longest Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) ride on a river bore is 1,690.5 metres (1.05 miles) and was achieved by Ivan Moreira and Bono the surfing dog from Brazil at Mearim River, in Arari, Maranhão, Brazil.


According to the "2015 Paddlesports report", stand up paddle boarding has increased every year since 2010. The amount of people that tried SUP among all other paddle sports is reflected by "percent" below. 

2010 1.1% – 1.1 million
2011 .4% – 1.2 million
2012 .5% – 1.5 million
2013 .7% – 2.0 million
2014 .9% – 2.8 million

The following statistics according to published artice by March 21, 2014 -

  • In 2008 US Coast Guards classified SUP boards as vessels, similar to canoes and kayaks.
  • In 2009, SUP became the single fastest growing paddle sport in North America.
  • The largest demographic is 35-44 years old for both men and women.
  • In Brazil, SUP grew 500% in one year.
  • There are now over 150,000 SUPers in the US, a number that is expected to grow 10 times by 2016

Sup statistics and history published by


According to the "Outdoor Foundation" stand up paddling continues to show a solid increase in participants in the U.S. See more:

Outdoor Foundation


Article by Green Water Sports:

1) “Tower Paddle Boards” and "Paiwen paddle boards" states that 95% of all SUPs are made outside of North America (overseas) although the bulk of SUPs are purchased in North America.

To date, racing SUPs can claim the most innovative design of all high performance SUPs.

2) A 2013 report for 2012 by "The Outdoor Foundation" shows stand up paddling attracted the most participants in an outdoor activity in the U.S. This included all ages from 6+.

The median age for 2012 was 28.

John Zapotocky SUP/Surf Legend - passed away 2013 at the age of 95. John SUPed and Surfed for 65 years.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Obituaries  - John Zapotocky Sr.


1) Interesting facts 

published by StandupPaddle Magazine in 2012


  • • Largest male demographic is 35 - 44 years old
  • • Second - male demographic is 25 - 34
  • • Third - 45 - 54
  • • fourth is 55+


  • • Largest female demographic is 35 - 44
  • • Second - 25 - 34
  • • Third 45 - 54
  • • Fourth - 55+
  • • Fifth - 18 - 24

2) According to an article by Dorene Internicola states:

Aproximately 1.2 million people tried stand up paddle boarding in 2011. This is up by 18 percent from 2010, according to the Outdoor Industry Association's 2012 report. Nearly 60 percent of SUPers tried for the first time in 2011.

3) The worlds most expensive paddle board sells for $27,500.00

Video released in 2012 — the "Greats" talking about SUP


According to Reuters: written by Dorene Internicola

About 1.2 million people tried stand up paddle boarding in 2011 – up 18 percent from 2010 (stated by the Outdoor Industry Association's 2012 report.

The highest percentage tried paddling boarding for the first time in 2011 (60 percent).

More interesting facts (August 2011) from Svein Rasmussen 

According to Starboard International (August 2011) - Estimate statistics.

Germany - in 2011 SUP paddle board sales are expected to double

France - currently the largest market in Europe for SUP sales is expected to be 3 times as large as German market at 9000 boards per year.

USA - the largest market at 50,000 boards per year. 

  • • Note: women make up half of this number! 
  • • There are currently 57 SUP fairs held in the U.S.
  • • It is expected the U.S. market will not reach its peak for another 5 years.

In the next 5 years SUP growth in Europe is expected to exceed that of the U.S. because it has been promoted by kayak companies for use on rivers.

Although SUP has a surf image, 90 percent of SUP riders use paddle boards for flat water or fitness training.

2011 survey conducted by SUP Magazine

See below the stand up paddling survey conducted June of 2011. Statistics are taken from 937 volunteer paddlers located with the U.S.A. This is a thoughtful compilation presented via an easy to following graphic presentation. 

Right-click to download this PDF file here.


According to Laird Hamiliton in an article from The Wall Street Journal July 2010:

"Nearly 50% of the buyers of our stand-up boards are women, which is a much much higher percentage than" conventional surf boards, says Mr. Hamilton.


July, 2008 read the interview did with Rick Thomas.
Rick was the first person to bring Stand Up Paddle Surfing to mainland America.

2005 declares:

"We are the first fully dedicated all SUP shop in the Americas and we’ve been making and selling SUP’s since 2005."... 


Surf legend Laird Hamilton on video in Malibu using a stand up paddle board. At this time few people knew what a SUP was.


Rick Thomas was the first person to bring stand up paddle surfing to mainland America in 2000. Read interview at supglobal


Surf / paddle board – Clip description

"Commentator John Moyes explains that men are making surfboards out of plywood. A line of surfers carry their boards down to the shore and paddle out towards the breakers. The camera follows their path, capturing them from just in front of the waves. A man who has been hit by a surfboard is rescued by the lifesavers on duty and carried ashore. The clip ends with a shot of the surfers in the afternoon sun."


This is some RARE footage of Duke Kahanamoku surfing his paddle board at Waikiki Beach along with an outrigger flipping over and more surfing.

1930's– Australia paddle photos from the archives

Duke Kahanamoku surfing wooden longboards

and a standup paddleboard (SUP) at Waikiki . Experience the Hula and say hello to the Duke. This clip was made from an ancient piece of 1930's 8mm 'Castle' film supplied by Mr John Mellor of Swaylocks. 'Tom Bloke' makes a cameo appearance ;

1912 — Brandenburg Germany
A pneumatic structure used to propell a board over water—refered to as "water shoes". 1912 Brandenburg, Germany.

1770's — Karakokooa, Owyhee
Sketch by John Webber, published 1785. 
English: A view of Karakokooa, in Owyhee. J. Webber del. W. Byrne sculp. (London, G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785).her. [reference Wikipedia]

Look carefully in the forefront at the bottom left, you'll see what appears to be a paddle board.

Ancient SUP statistics

The following link is an article by on the history of paddle boarding dating back to 7000 BC

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