Paddle Australia and the State Paddle Associations conducted a membership feedback survey during March to help understand how our members interact with paddling and how we could maximise the value we add to our members both now and in the future.

The survey was open from 28th February 2020 until 20th March 2020, which was open to current members and past members who held a membership in the past three years.

A total of 905 responses were collected, with the breakdown of responses to the questions broken into two sections: Section 1 contains information about our members and how they engage with paddling, while Section 2 contains feedback around membership benefits and processes.

Section 1

This section contains information about the demographics of our members, including how and why they engage with paddling.


The majority of the respondents (66%) were male.


  • 47% were in the 51-65 age bracket
  • 20% were in the 36-50 age bracket
  • 18% were over 65
  • 7% were under 17 Years
  • 4% were in the 18-25 age bracket
  • 4% were in the 26-35 age bracket


NSW accounted for the highest number of responses with 248, plus an additional 29 who reside in ACT accounting for 30% of the overall responses.

Victoria had 194 responses, Queensland 155, Western Australia 144, South Australia 85, Tasmania 49 and the Northern Territory had 1 response.

Paddling Experience

The majority of respondents have been paddling for more than 20 years.

Paddling Time

Respondents were asked how often they are on the water, with the options being most days, weekly, monthly and several times a year.

The majority of the 17 years and under age group are split mostly evenly between paddling most days and weekly with only a small percentage only hitting the water monthly or less.

The majority of paddlers 51-65 years and over 65 years are paddling weekly.

The highest number of participants who are only getting to the water several times a year are in our 36-50 category.

Member Feedback Survey - Paddling Regularity

Paddling as a Sport

When asked why they chose paddling as a sport, 31% selected family tradition as their reason. 22% selected outdoor activity, while friends participation and affordable activity were the next most popular reasons with 15% and 10% of respondents selecting these, respectively.

What Do You Seek from Paddling?

51% of individuals stated that keeping fit and healthy was what they were seeking most from their involvement in paddling. 17% selected fun as the driver for their involvement, 12% were looking for friendship and social interaction and 6% were looking for skill development.

Competition and Recreational Paddling

Of the 905 recorded responses, 377 stated that they only paddle for recreation, while 378 stated that they paddle for a mixture of training, competition and recreation. An additional 150 stated that they paddle for a competition, including training for competition.

Paddling Environment

Of the 905 recorded responses, the majority are paddling on flatwater, with 524 responses. 114 individuals are sea paddlers, 55 are whitewater paddlers and 212 are paddling on a mixture of the three water types.

Paddling Discipline

Kayaking was noted as the most popular discipline, with 598 currently participating in it, and sea kayaking the most popular discipline that individuals would like to try in the future. Recreational paddling and ocean ski paddling were listed next highest in current participation with ocean ski paddling and stand up paddle boarding being the next two most popular disciplines that individuals would like to try in the future.

Some respondents provided alternative answers to the available selection and where possible, they have been grouped into the relevant category while some have been listed under “Other”, including safety rescue and wherry rowing.

Section 2

This section contains information about membership and levels of satisfaction in types of membership, benefits, processes and communication.

Membership Type

The majority of the respondents were current club members with 802 listed as holding current club membership. There were 28 current direct membership holders, 68 past club members and 7 members who previously held direct membership.

Membership Satisfaction

61% of responses were satisfied with their membership, with 42% of those selecting Satisfied and an additional 19% selecting Very Satisfied.

12% of responses were in the dissatisfied category, with 8% Dissatisfied and a further 4% Very Dissatisfied.

There were an additional 27% who selected Neutral as their satisfaction scoring.

Membership Satisfaction – Positive


The biggest influence on a positive membership rating was the personnel, with some respondents specifically calling out members of their Club, State and PA and others simply noting that the assistance and guidance they received upon joining and continuing throughout their membership made all the difference.


Suggestions for Improvement

While still providing a positive rating, some members pointed out some things that they would like to further enhance their experience, with some calling for a change to the technology side of the membership having found their process to be less than easy, some want to see a focus shift (namely competitive focus shifting to recreational), and others simply feeling that they could be getting more from their membership including access to facilities, boats/boat storage etc.

Membership Satisfaction – Negative

Benefits, or lack thereof was the most common reason for a dissatisfied rating. With many noting that “aside from insurance” they saw little to no benefit of holding membership.

Coming in very close second to this, was a perception of focus by the State and/or National Body with recreational paddlers believing that the focus on competitive and Olympic Discipline is too great and some specifying a particular discipline as being forgotten

Membership Benefit Importance

Ability to enter club events was the most important membership benefit to respondents, which is in line with the fact that many of the respondents hold club membership. Access to pathways, family discounts and eligibility for state and national competitions were listed as the least important to the respondents.

Membership Benefit Delivery Satisfaction

“Neutral” was the most popular response across all membership benefits with regard to the satisfaction levels. Access to pathways and family discounts were the areas with a highest dissatisfied rating and once again, ability to enter club events rated at the top of the scale with regard to the satisfaction.

Membership System Ease of Use Satisfaction

62% of members were satisfied with the membership system that they used to process their membership. Of these, 11% were very satisfied, 51% satisfied and 21% of members noted that they were neutral with regards to their system satisfaction levels.

14% were dissatisfied with the system and an additional 3% were very dissatisfied.

Membership Process Communication Satisfaction

Of the 867 respondents who answered how satisfied they were with the communication received regarding the membership purchase / renewal process, 67% of members are noted as being satisfied with the process. Of these, 12% were very satisfied and 52% were satisfied.

A further 26% noted that they were neutral, while 8% were dissatisfied and 2% were very dissatisfied with the communication that they received.

Membership Process Satisfaction

When asked of their satisfaction when their membership was last purchased or renewed, 559 respondents were in the satisfied category, 141 were dissatisfied and 167 were neutral.

Access to Websites and Social Media

Respondents were asked how frequently they visit the websites and various social media channels of their club, their State Paddle Association and Paddle Australia. Club Facebook pages and club websites are the most frequently visited, with the State Paddle Association Facebook page coming in at the third most frequented. Paddle Australia Instagram and Twitter were the least popular amongst respondents.

Paddle Australia, State Paddle Association and club websites, respectively were the three top “occasionally visited” sites.

Website & Social Media Satisfaction

Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with the relevance of the information on each of the channels that they visit across their club, state and national platforms.

A small percentage are not satisfied with the information across the available mediums. Although smaller in numbers of respondents, there was no dissatisfaction recorded against the Paddle Australia Twitter page.