Four sports in Scotland on the rise

Conditions in Thurso, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen are among some of the best UK-wide for Scottish surfers.

Conditions in Thurso, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen are among some of the best UK-wide for Scottish surfers.

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A plethora of sports not traditionally played in Scotland have seen an increase in membership in recent years.

Golf, rugby and football are usually the main contenders when it comes to any discussion of Scotland’s most popular sporting endeavours. Nevertheless, a growing band of enthusiasts have worked hard to increase the notoriety and membership numbers of traditionally less popular sports in recent years. Across the air, seas and land of the nation, we look at a selection of sports attracting hundreds of

Figures released by sportscotland have shown a general increase in membership across most sports with a Scottish base, according to spokesman Will McLeish.

Mr McLeish said: “Last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, coupled with successful partnerships among organisations in the sport sector, has led to encouraging increases in many Scottish governing bodies’ memberships.

“Over the past four years there has been an eight per cent rise overall in membership of the 17 Glasgow Games sports, an 11 per cent increase in Olympic/Paralymic sports which weren’t in Glasgow, and, as the figures for Scottish Surfing Federation, Waterski and Wakeboard Scotland, and Scottish Archery Association indicate, some significant growth in many of the smaller sports.”

SURFING

Archery is a sport which has seen an increase in members since the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Archery is a sport which has seen an increase in members since the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

The Scottish Surfing Federation saw a 93 per cent increase in membership between 2012-13 and 2014-15. The relatively young organisation has only been in existence in its current form since 2006 after securing funding and increased membership in recent years.

Recent successes at various international competitions and the exploits of a new generation of Scottish surfers have also helped to improve the federation’s fortunes in recent times.

WATERSKIING AND WAKEBOARDING

Waterski and Wakeboard Scotland recorded a growth of 80 per cent, or an increase of four-fifths of their existing member base.

The organisation’s rapid increase in membership numbers may in part be due to the recent victory of Blair Fraser at the men’s open features competition at the World Wakeboard Association and Wakepark Cable Championships in Abu Dhabi.

ARCHERY

A slightly less spectacular boost in numbers was recorded by the Scottish Archery Association, which has seen an increase of approximately one-third (35 per cent) of its member base between 2011-12 and this financial year.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Following in the footsteps of the defunct Granite City Oilers, the RigDeluge-sponsored Aberdeen Roughnecks American Football team is a member of the British American Football Association, which regulates the sport in the United Kingdom by geographic location and team ability.

Left Guard for the Roughnecks Gareth Bonnamy said: “I think it’s growing so fast because of the games coming here, as well as the exposure that the sport now gets on TV in the UK.

“Growth is also due to the grassroots set-up in the UK, with the mature leagues only getting bigger and bigger.”

While exact membership numbers for Scottish American Football teams aren’t readily available from the sport’s UK-wide governing body, the Aberdeen Roughnecks join other teams such as the Glasgow Tigers and Edinburgh Wolves in inviting new players from a range of ability levels to join them, thus promoting a diverse member base.

In addition, the Roughnecks are currently the only Scottish co-operative American Football Club in the United Kingdom after incorporating into an Industrial and Provident Society in spring 2014, highlighting the rapid increase in interest that surrounds the three year-old club.

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