Surfing Participation Up 25 Percent From Last Year

According to the fourteenth annual American Sports Data Superstudy of Sports Participation, surfing was the seventh fastest growing sport in the United States in 2000.

According to the 1999 Superstudy, 1,736,000 people said they had gone surfing during the year. This year that number had increased to 2,180,000 — or an increase of 25.58 percent compared to 1999.

****Surfing Partcipation Up 49 percent compared to 1987 ****

Here is a year-to-year breakdown of all the years surfing was included in the Superstudy:

1987 (benchmark): 1,459,000 participants

1990: 1,224,000 particpants (down 16.11 percent compared to 1987)

1998: 1,395,000 particpants (up 13.97 percent compared to 1990)

1999: 1,736,000 participants (up 24.44 percent compared to 1998)

2000: 2,180,000 participants (up 25.58 percent compared to 1999)

Looking at the 1987 Superstudy benchmark figures, surfing has shown a 49.4 percent increase in participation (1,459,000 partcipants in 1987 compared to 2,180,000 participants in 2000).

**** Which Sports Are Tops? ****

Leading the participation charge was snowboarding, which saw a 51.2 percent participation increase. Skateboarding was close behind with a gain of 49.2 percent.

Team sports, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. Baseball was down 28 percent from 1987. Basketball has slid seventeen percent from its 1997 peak. Softball and volleyball also took big hits, falling 37 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

The survey occurred in January 2001 and polled 14,772 Americans nationwide.

So, what does the future hold for surfing? Now that we’ve lapped elliptical motion trainers (always a tough competitor), it’s a sure bet that artificial wall climbing will be the next sport chewing our dust. If we train really hard — and if spring ever arrives — we might just stand a chance against gymnastics.

**** The Growth Sports ****

1. Snowboarding — Up 51.2 percent to 7.1-million participants.

2. Skateboarding — Up 49.2 percent to 11.6-million participants.

3. Wakeboarding — Up 32.3 percent to 3.6-million participants.

4. Snowmobiling — Up 28.1 percent to 7.0-million participants.

5. Gymnastics — Up 27.3 percent to 6.7-million participants.

6. Artificial Wall Climbing — Up 27.0 percent to 6.1-million participants.

7. Surfing — Up 25.6 percent to 2.2-million participants.

8. Elliptical motion trainers — Up 21.6 percent to 6.2-million participants.

9. Softball (fast pitch) — Up 18.1 percent to 3.8-million participants.

10. Snowshoeing — Up 17.8 percent to 2.0-million participants.

For more data check out

Just how many surfers are in the lineup? Click here.