MORE SKATERS LINE UP
NEW YORK — In-line skating is still on a roll.
The sport has seen substantial gains since its inception in 1990, according to a 1996 study released by American Sports Data, a Hartsdale, N.Y., agency that tracks industry trends.
In-line skating should gain more participants due to the emergence of aggressive in-line skating, which involves doing stunts on ramps and rails, industry sources said.
There are currently 4.5 million aggressive in-line skaters in the U.S., with women accounting for less than 5 percent, they said. In 1994, the sport’s first professional competition was held in California.
Increased media coverage should help make the sport more mainstream. In addition, commercial skate parks — designated areas for aggressive in-line skaters — are growing, as communities seek alternative areas to streets, sidewalks and parking lots, industry sources said. There are currently about 25 skate parks in the U.S.
In 1996, there were 27.5 million in-line skaters — a 22 percent jump compared with 1995, according to American Sports Data. Despite the preponderance of men as aggressive in-line skaters, recreational in-line skating is equally popular with women and men.
Youngsters are a key component of the in-line skating population. More than half of the in-line skaters in the U.S. are 19 or younger. Of all the in-line skaters in the U.S., 35 percent are no older than 12. Teenagers constitute 29 percent.
Last year, baby boomers represented the most growth. Participation among skaters between the ages of 35 and 54 increased by 61 percent, compared with 1995.
In 1996, teenagers saw the second-largest increase with a 39 percent gain over 1995. Teenagers also spend the most time on skates — an average of 82 minutes each time they take a spin. Other in-line skaters average nearly an hour on their wheels, according to the survey.
In terms of hot spots, California has the largest base of in-line skaters — with 2.5 million. Texas and New York ranked second and third, with 1.76 million and 1.69 million, respectively.
Top 10 States With the Most In-Line Skaters*
State Participants (in millions)
1. California 2.52
2. Texas 1.76
3. New York 1.69
4. Florida 1.40
5. Michigan 1.31
6. Ohio 1.29
7. Pennsylvania 1.11
8. New Jersey 0.966
9. Wisconsin 0.830
10. Minnesota 0.808
* Based on a three-year average