SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2017

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Page 43 of 67

August 2017 44 t SPORT Report Making A Big Splash! ater sports are making a big splash, with growth continuing for stand-up paddling (SUP), kiteboarding and kayaking. SUP topped all outdoor activities with the highest participation growth rate over the past three years, increasing by 18 per- cent, according to the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2017. Head out to any bay, lake or bayou on a warm, sunny day and you are likely to spot paddle boarders cruising the waterways. There are several reasons SUP is a fast-growing sport: it's easy to learn, improves overall fitness, is accessible on inland bodies of water as well as coastal areas and it's affordable. It's also a safe, low-impact sport. There are SUP paddles, races, yoga, tours and demonstrations taking place across the country. And after years of sibling rivalry, surfing, its sister sport, embraced SUP earlier this summer when USA Surfing crowned its first-ever U.S. SUP champi- ons in Oceanside and Santa Cruz, Calif. Surfing also continues to grow: a healthy 29 percent from 2006 to 2016. That number could surge even more when viewers experience surfing as an official Olympic sport in Tokyo 2020. More than half a million people were expected to attend the nine-day Vans US Open of Surfing, held July 29 – Aug. 6 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Billed as the world's largest surf com- petition and lifestyle festival, the event draws the sport's biggest names to the With Stand-Up Paddleboarding Leading The Way, Participation In Water Sports Surges BY TAMMY LEYTHAM W

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