Paddle Boarding’s Biggest Trends in 2020

Photo courtesy: Eric Harper, Supconnect Photo Contest 2020 Photo courtesy: Eric Harper, Supconnect Photo Contest 2020

SAN DIEGO, California - 2020 was a year full of adventure, thrills, learning, and more. There were a few trends that caught on this year that caught the attention of our editorial staff here at Supconnect. Here are 5 of the biggest trends of 2020:

Virtual Events

With the Covid-19 Pandemic taking over the world in 2020 event cancellations were inevitable. This, however, didn't stop event organizers from getting their creative juices flowing and thinking of ways paddlers could still connect with their fellow paddlers and participate in events around the world. Many event organizers took their events virtual which allowed people to still participate and enjoy their favorite events of the year. Events such as Molokai 2 Oahu, APP World Tour, Standup for the Cure, Chattajack and more all went virtual for 2020 keeping the stoke alive. It will be interesting to see once the pandemic is behind us if event organizers will continue to have their events include a virtual version...we shall soon see!

top sup trends 2020 virtual eventsStandup for the Cure went virtual for 2020. | Photo courtesy: SIC Maui

SUP/Kayak Hybrid

While 2020 wasn't the first time we've seen a SUP/Kayak hybrid board on the market it was the first time we started seeing a solid amount of brands add this type of board to their product lineup. Brands like Body Glove, Surftech, Pau Hana and more all added their version of a SUP/Kayak hybrid to their product offering. Seeing the utility and versatility that these hybrids offer we have no doubt these SUP/Kayak hybrids will continue to be offered.

top sup trends 2020 sup kayak 1 top sup trends 2020 sup kayak

Supconnect's Editorial team reviewing the Body Glove Porter SUP/Kayak hybrid in early 2020. | Photos: Supconnect

Live Streams

Another trend we saw that was due to the Covid-19 pandemic were the addition of live streams. With the cancellation of events, trade shows and other industry gatherings brands and athletes alike were all chomping at the bit to connect with their peers. The livestreams were hosted on multiple platforms and by multiple brands and other industry folk. From SIC Maui to the ICF partnering with Starboard and their athletes livestreams were all the rage. We here at Supconnect even joined in on the fun and started doing weekly Instagram live sessions with athletes and industry professionals around the world. As another access point for paddlers to connect with their favorite brands, athletes or other paddlers around the globe we think livestreams will continue to be utilized as a way for the paddling community to connect, whether or not we're in a global pandemic.

top sup trends 2020 webinarThe ICF partnered with Starboard and their athlete roster for a webinar series. | Photo courtesy: ICF


A few years ago foiling was just coming on the scene and people were hyped on foil boards. In 2020, a new spinoff to foiling was all the rage and people have been replacing their paddles and adding an inflatable wing to the mix. To conceptualize, wing foiling is kind of like a cross over between windsurfing and kite surfing. You use your foil board and the wing picks up the breeze and propels you along the water's surface. Brands like Slingshot, SIC Maui, and others are starting to provide these wings for purchase and events have started creating divisions for wings. We definitely see this trend building through 2021.

top sup trends 2020 wingSlingshot's Slingwing was one of the first wings to hit the market. | Photo courtesy: Slingshot

SUP on the Rise

While the Covid-19 Pandemic was a major hardship for many of us the SUP and outdoor industry as a whole seemed to have had a major boost. With social distancing in place, gyms closed and limited access to areas we're used to frequenting to get exercise, many people took to the outdoors to reclaim their sanity after quarantining for weeks and months on end. Many people discovered paddle boarding to be the perfect activity to get outside, get exercise and be socially distant all at once. This caused boards and other paddle boarding gear to fly off the shelves and sell out in many SUP retailers in store and online. Looking forward, we're expecting to see participant growth continue to rise as people continue to discover the sport and all its benefits.

top sup trends 2020 riseCovid-19 drew more people to the water this year. | Photo courtesy: Anja Lindelaub, Supconnect Photo Contest 2020

For 2021, we predict these trends listed above will continue to be topics that show up in your news feed. The only question is, what else do you think will trend in the new year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Last modified onTuesday, 29 December 2020 17:53

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