The Outdoor Foundation Releases 2013 Paddlesports Report 


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The Outdoor Foundation and The Coleman Company, Inc. released their Special Report on Paddlesports, providing a detailed look at participation in kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and (for the first time) stand up paddle boarding in the U.S.

Among other findings, the report said that more than 19 million Americans participated in paddling in 2012 on rivers, lakes, streams and other waterways in their communities.

“Paddlesports have remained a popular way for Americans to connect with the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “While paddling participation is stable, the report highlights outreach opportunities for growth – minority groups are significantly underrepresented in every paddlesports category.”

The report is designed to help the outdoor industry, public agencies and community organizations understand the trends in paddlesports. The report uses the latest participation data collected annually by The Outdoor Foundation to present information on participation in kayaking, canoeing, rafting and stand up paddling by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education, geographic region and more.

Some of the key findings from the Special Report on Paddlesports include:

Overall Participation

-19.2 million Americans ages six and older participated in kayaking, canoeing, rafting and stand up paddling in 2012.

-10.3 million Americans participated in kayaking in 2012; 9.8 million Americans participated in canoeing; 3.7 million in rafting and 1.5 million in stand up paddling.

-Paddling participants made 202 million outings, averaging seven days per participant.

-Outside of their paddling pursuits, paddlers generally prefer outdoor recreation, rather than indoor or other activities.


-Kayaking has enjoyed steady growth since 2010, climbing to a participation rate of 3.6 percent of Americans ages six and older in 2012.

-Recreational kayaking is the most popular type of kayaking followed by a significant margin by sea/tour kayaking and whitewater kayaking.

-63.2 percent of kayakers get out one to three times per year.

-Most kayakers live in states bordering the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean — the Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States.


-Canoeing is the second most popular type of paddling behind kayaking; 3.4 percent of Americans age six and older participated in canoeing in 2012.

-Canoeing participants get out more often than kayaking participants. Nearly 50 percent of canoeing participants make four or more outings per year.

-Canoeing appeals to youth and is the most popular paddlesport among Americans ages 6 to 17.

-Geographically, most canoeists – more than 40 percent of all participants – are located in the East North Central and South Atlantic regions of the US, those states bordering the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.


-1.3 percent of Americans ages six and older participate in rafting.

-38 percent of rafters make only one outing per year and 68 percent make three outings per year or less.

-Participation in rafting fell from 2010 to 2011 but remained relatively steady from 2011 to 2012.

-Rafting is most popular among teenage boys.

Stand Up Paddling

-The emerging sport of stand up paddling made modest participation gains from 2010 to 2012, when participation grew from 1.1 million participants to 1.5 million.

-In 2012, stand up paddling participants made 9.6 million outings.

-Stand up paddling appeals most to young adults ages 18 to 24 and adults ages 25 to 44, an age group which saw significant participation gains in 2012.

-Like kayaking, stand up paddling participants tend to live in the Pacific and South Atlantic regions of the United States.

“Coleman has worked with The Outdoor Foundation on a variety of research projects over the years, and we’re excited to expand our partnership to provide valuable information about paddlesports participation in America,” said Robert Marcovitch, president and chief executive officer of The Coleman Company, Inc. “As our Sevylor brand team launches an all-new line of stand up paddle boards in 2014, we are pleased to enhance the report with data that examines this emerging sport.”

Click here to download a copy of the Special Report on Paddlesports.

Staff Post
Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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