It’s Official: Led By SUPs, Paddlesports Sales Swelling


- Advertisment -

Paddlesports sales are swelling like the waves their followers paddle on.

As part of this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Online tradeshow Jan. 6, that’s what NPD Executive Director and industry analyst Dirk Sorenson pointed out in a seminar examining what’s trending in the outdoor market heading in to 2021. And Sorenson can appreciate paddlesports’ growth as well as anyone; before his retail analyst career at NPD, he held management positions at both Dagger and Perception

Person paddling inflatable kayak Advanced Elements Airvolution
Rec kayaks, like this Airvolution from Advanced Elements, are booming during the pandemic.

As consumers reinvented their lifestyles to include outdoor activities, “and looking for activities that are family friendly,” he cited a survey showing people are exercising more, with 60% of Americans working from home now who didn’t before the pandemic, giving them more time to recreate.

All this, in turn, has fueled unprecedented growth in certain outdoor categories, with paddlesports, like bicycling, leading the charge in terms of growth.

Paddlesports, in fact, occupied four out of the 10 top categories in terms of growth this past year. Leading the charge were SUPs, whitewater kayaks, PFDs and rec kayaks. Rec kayaks were up 22%; PFD sales up 46%; SUPs up 76%; Touring kayaks up 26%, canoes up 10% and whitewater kayaks up 129%.

Inflatable SUPs Surging

SUPs, he added, were the real winner, growing at a rate four times that of kayaks between May and July, led by inflatable SUPs, which were up 300% year to date. He credits this to their advantages when it comes to shipping, storage, design and travel, as well as better inventory levels.

“SUP inventory levels were up 344% over the previous March, so that helped a lot,” he said. “I think that’s because the inventory got sucked out of the rec kayak market early and SUPs are still riding some momentum of being new. Regardless, it’s a thriving market that we should look at continuing to capitalize on.”

The trick, he said, is keeping these consumers  engaged in 2021. “It‘s fair to predict lower demand in 2021 once these households reach their threshold in gear,” he said. “Once they have a kayak they likely won’t buy another.”

One way to do this is through such accessories and other add-on sales as car racks, which was another category listed in the top 10 in terms of growth, up 24%.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Inside Level6’s Duke Drytop

Our friends up in the great white north have been working on a three-season drytop the past few years...

NRS Inks Deal to Use Gore-tex

Northwest River Supplies (NRS) has inked a deal with Gore-tex to bring the high-end waterproof/breathable fabric into a new...

First TIme’s a Charm: Dane Jackson Wins Oetz Extreme Race (Formerly Sickline)

Surprise? Not! We all knew it was coming. Jackson Kayak and Red Bull kayaker Dane Jackson showed he is still...

360 Adventure Collective Announces Dates for 2022 Paddlesports Experience

The 360 Adventure Collective (Formerly EORA / NESR) has earned more than 40 years of success connecting the most...
- Advertisement -

Paddling Life Photo Contest

2021 PHOTO CONTEST IS HERE We are looking for paddling shots showcasing kayaking, SUPping, rafting, and everything in between! Send...

Canuck Dianne Whelan Finishes 6-year Journey on Trans Canada Trail

Talk about a doozy of a paddling and hiking trip. In July, Canada’s Dianne Whelan became the first person to...

Must read

Inside Level6’s Duke Drytop

Our friends up in the great white north have...

The Quest for 4.0: Dane Jackson on Breaking the 4-minute Mark on the Green

Forget Chasing Mavericks. Like runners’ quest for the 4-minute...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you