Both wellness and athletic-gear fashion trends are on the rise in 2020, and forecasts for outdoor sports participation during the upcoming spring and summer months look promising. It hasn't hurt that some of the winter storms in the 2019 - 2020 winter season have been especially icy and harsh, creating more buzz and excitement about "fun in the sun" this year. Here is the lineup of outdoor sports trends - some may surprise you and some... not so much - our editors expect to see this summer. Leave your own predictions in the comments.
An overwhelming surge of popularity in the sport of disc golf (pro tip: the term "frisbee" is frowned upon in disc golf circles) has been viewed by many as a sign of things to come. Over the past few years, many traditional community golf courses have intertwined disc golf challenges among the greens. But don't expect to see discs sailing around Pebble Beach or Saint Andrews on your cable sports channel any time soon, although a televised tournament on the clifftops of the Pacific Ocean might spark more international interest in the sport.
You can always tell when it's a competition day at the local surf break: The beach is lined with more than one canopy tent, and sponsor banners flutter in the morning breeze. Competition surfing is only one segment of the anticipated increase in surfing activity this summer. Typically, the waves in summer are more mellow, which means the die-hard surfers might mellow out for a few months and the beginner- and intermediate-level surfers will have a chance to dust off their rusty-from-the-winter skillsets. And as access to surf breaks in formerly isolated locations become more accessible, the sport is expected to draw more than the usual number of fans and participants in less-crowded waters.
The past five years have seen a surge in rock climbing gymnasiums across the country. Add this to the lifestyle image that the sport provides to its participants' social media accounts, and the popularity of this outdoor sport is only expected to rise. The hashtag #vanlife may have something to do with it. Rock climbers who used to travel around in their vans from one climber's campsite to the next called themselves "dirtbags," and their exploits were the stuff of hippie folklore. Now, designer-clad hipsters in Sprinter vans are taking to America's highways in search, not so much for adventure, but for the next social media photo opp, and the locations where rock climbers usually camp provide plenty of those coveted dramatic and stunning photo opportunities.
Beach volleyball is seeing a rise in popularity not because of the image of the sport itself, but because of another factor entirely. More people are working out in gyms four or five days a week all year round, and workout culture has created a byproduct of casual consumers happy with their "beach bods." And what better way to show off the fruits of your winter-long daily CrossFit regimen - both the body image side and the newfound athletic prowess side - than in the sand at the beach volleyball nets? It's a sport commonly played in swimsuits and sunscreen; it's physically demanding and also associated with partying.
The past several years have seen fashion trends of the 1990s come back around. And, while some Americans have been binge-watching reruns of sitcoms like "Friends" and "Frasier," others have been lapping up movies in the genre of street pick-up basketball. Like beach volleyball, more Americans are benefiting from the popularity of workout culture and are in better shape than ever, which makes the transition from watching movies about playing basketball to actually playing basketball easier.