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  1. #15
    To answer the question here, I think it's important to distinguish between the numbers of people using an SUP and the numbers of SUPs sold.

    I'd say there are more people now using SUPs than ever before, but the boards may not be selling in huge numbers now that people have already got one.
    There is also a lively second hand market, feeding those without the wish or the means to buy new.

    Industry insiders might give us some true figures, but we can also speculate, as in threads like this.

    The biggest seller must be the all-round paddling board but the SUP designs have diversified to allow different uses and so sales will reflect those niche interests.

    So what classes are there:

    1) All round, 10-12ft – sales will depend on local weather, and I'll bet UK sales were down last year (2017) because the summer wasn't so good as in 2016.
    2) All round inflatable – sales, as above, will increase in warm/dry weather.
    3) Race boards, 12ft, 14ft. Designs evolve and get more expensive each year. keen racers will buy new, but the second hand market will also supply semi-keen long distance paddlers.
    4) Wave SUP boards are quite diverse, and the board you buy depends on your weight and on your ability to go small. This niche market merges into surfing. it would be interesting to know how sales are holding up here, and to hear what size board is now the most popular.
    5) WindSUP – my own SUP board can take a mast foot but I have yet to bother to put a rig on it. I either paddle the SUP or else I go windsurfing on proper kit. But windSUPs may work better in other parts of the world.
    6) Boards that can take a foil. This must be the new and developing market (although I don't really see the point of it myself).

    It would be interesting if the industry would reveal the numbers of SUPs sold, year on year. They might also tell us how many SUPs were made each year.
    Presumably the boards made all end up being sold off eventually, even if the supply exceeded the anticipated demand, because old stock will get discounted to clear it (as we see with windsurf kit).

    True market analysis would also look at regional markets, and connect sales to summer weather. I can tell you that there haven't been many SUPs spotted on my local beaches in recent weeks – due to the cold weather. But in Cape Town's summer season there were more SUPs than ever on the few days the wind dropped.
    Now back in the UK.

  2. #16
    Senior Member tezwoz11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Hayling, Portsmouth, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Things have definitely changed since I wrote that SUP trend report. You can see some 2018 predictions here - Although, again, things have changed since that article as well.

    SUP is in a stage of consolidation at the mo so it'll be interesting where we're at in a few months and then a few years.

    From my point of view it still offers a viable alternative for windless/wave only days if you just want to be afloat. And if you're an inland dweller then SUP could be your water lifeline, even if only paddling on static waters. If you're not interested outside of windsurfing then other activities will, of course, take precedence.

  3. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Isle of Wight
    Small clean waves yesterday, & there were about 4/5 SUPs in the lineup at any one time (maybe 25 surf boards/ long boards) More than before. Most are 9'-11' rather than surf specific designs. Also often see inflatables out in the waves.

    On the river in the summer there were lots, mixing it with sit on kayaks. Many inflatables off the yachts.

  4. #18
    Senior Member Billyboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Inevitably it will plateau and maybe even decline a bit but it's such an accessible and versatile sport that I think numbers will always be reasonably significant. You don't see all that many in the surf compared to surfers, not as many as I thought there would be when I started. That's probably a good thing as sups, waves and crowds don't mix! You can still paddle off and find a quiet peak even on the busiest of summer days and long may it continue!

  5. #19
    I'd say the split between long boards and SUPs at my local surf box is around 85:15.... strange really, as the SUPs seem to catch far more waves than the longboards do, especially given we ride relatively short wavelengths in mediterranean wind swell only.

    As for the impact on windsurfing... I've loved my SUP for lighter days, but I'm looking forward to getting my windsurf kit wet again more.
    hostis humani generis

  6. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I love SUPing in the waves, and never take my surfboard out nowadays. Flat water is ok on a sunny warm day, but it's a bit boring and not something I'd do regularly.

    I just wish I lived somewhere with consistent waves.

  7. #21
    Lots of sup going on down here in Poole, even in the cold months and in the harbour where I fail to see why kayaking is not the better option for the zero wind days. Lot of crossover where people do sup on days when I still use a long board. All good if it gets you out there on the water!!

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