Home » Sports Channel » Snowboarding Center » Extreme Sports: Ranking High in Popularity

Extreme Sports: Ranking High in Popularity

NORTH PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - There's never an off-season for extreme sports. Whether it's winter, spring, summer, or fall, at least one, two or more extreme sports are getting the time and attention of the American sporting public. According to SGMA International's analysis of the current Superstudy® of Sports Participation, extreme sports are so popular that they attract more "players" than some traditional team sports.

Most Popular Extreme Sports in the USA
(U.S. population; 6 years of age or older)

RANK Sport # of Participants
(participated at least once in 2004)
1. Inline skating 17,348,000
2. Skateboarding 11,592,000
3. Paintball 9,640,000
4. Artificial Wall Climbing 7,659,000
5. Snowboarding 7,110,000
6. Trail Running 6,486,000
7. Mountain Biking 5,334,000
8. Wakeboarding 2,843,000
9. BMX Bicycling 2,642,000
10. Mountain/Rock Climbing 2,161,000
11. Roller Hockey 1,788,000
12 Boardsailing/Windsurfing 418,000


Following are some additional facts on the 12 most popular extreme sports:


  • Inline skating. There are more inline skaters than the combined number of baseball players (9.7 million) and tackle football players (5.4 million).

  • Skateboarding. The average number of days of participation for a skateboarder in 2004 was 48 days.

  • Paintball. Overall participation has grown by more than 60% since 1998 - from 5.9 million in 1998 to 9.6 million in 2004

  • Artificial Wall Climbing. The average age of an artificial wall climbing enthusiast in 2004 was 20.2 years of age.

  • Snowboarding. The average snowboarder went snowboarding an average of 7.6 days in 2004.

  • Mountain Biking. Nearly 40% of all mountain bikers have, at least, graduated from college.

  • Trail Running. Since 1998, overall participation has grown nearly 25% - from 5.2 million in 1998 to 6.5 million in 2004.

  • BMX Bicycling. The average age of a BMX cyclist in 2004 was 24.7 years of age.

  • Wakeboarding. Approximately 50% of all wakeboarders have been participating in the sport for 1-3 years.

  • Roller Hockey. Nearly 98% of all "frequent" roller hockey participants (those who play 25+ days/year) are male.

  • Mountain/Rock Climbing. The average age of a mountain/rock climber is 22.7 years of age.

  • Boardsailing/Windsurfing. Nearly 30% of all boardsailors live in the South and more than 55% of all boardsailors live in cities with a population of more than two million people

This information has been abstracted from the Superstudy® of Sports Participation conducted by American Sports Data, Inc., which monitors more than 100 sports and fitness activities.