The number of American's inline skating declined 13.9 percent last year, according to the 2010 SGMA Sports and Fitness Participation Topline Report.
The report estimates that 8.2 million people strapped on inline skates at least once in 2009. It says 9.6 million people inline skated in 2008.
What should we make of this?
I would guess that there are two main factors:
1) The graying population: Many of the people who started skating in the 1980s and 1990s, during the height of the inline fad, are moving into middle age and beyond and have become less active.
2) New fads: Today's youth culture favors skateboarding and to a lesser extent scootering.
So how should we feel about the decline?
Of course, we'd like there to be more skaters. That would mean more inline events and products and skate buddies. But taken in context, inline is not really doing that badly.
We have about as many skaters as there are participants in one of today's big fads: Pilates (8.6 million). And we have more participants than skateboarding (7.3 million), snowboarding (7.4 million) and surfing (2.4 million). And nobody is worrying about the health of the board sports.
So keep the faith, skaters.
We're not riding the crest of a fad anymore. But we're still rolling - more than eight million strong.
Here is a sample of the 2009 participation numbers found in the the SGMA report:
- ice skating - 10.9 million
- golf - 27.1 million
- bowling - 57.2 million
- martial arts - 6.5 million
- quad roller skating - 8.2 million
- scooter riding - 5.1 million (down 20.8 percent)
- triathlon - 1.2 million
- tennis - 18.5 million
- mountain biking - 7.1 million
- road cycling - 40.1 million
- downhill skiing - 10.9 million
- cross-country skiing - 4.1 million
- snowboarding - 7.4 million
- skateboarding - 7.3 million
- surfing - 2.4 million
- swimming (fitness and competitive) - 17.4 million
- running/jogging - 43.8 million
- Pilates training - 8.6 million
- yoga - 20.1 million
Thanks to SGMA for providing the Inline Planet with a copy of the Topline report. Go to SGMA for more info: http://www.sgma.com/