Gradual-onset surfing-related injuries in New Zealand: A cross-sectional study

Debbie Remnant, Robert W Moran, James Furness, Mike Climstein, Wayne A Hing, Catherine J Bacon

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OBJECTIVES: Gradual-onset injuries associated with surfing have not previously been closely examined. This study investigated the duration, mechanisms, body locations and types of gradual-onset injuries in a sample of New Zealand surfers.

DESIGN: Retrospective, cross-sectional online survey.

METHODS: Self-identified surfers reported gradual-onset surfing-related injuries experienced in the preceding 12 months.

RESULTS: Respondents (n=1473, age range 8-74 years) reported a total of 550 gradual-onset major injuries: 44% acute duration (<3 months) and 56% chronic (≥3 months). The injury incidence proportion was 27%. Shoulder (146 injuries, 64% chronic), low back (115 injuries, 58% chronic) and neck (105 injuries, 46% chronic) were the most commonly reported injury locations. Prolonged paddling was the most commonly reported mechanism of injury (40% of all injuries). Incidence proportion for gradual-onset major injuries was 6% higher for greater surfing abilities compared to lower abilities (p=0.01), and 13% higher for long boarders compared to short boarders (p=0.001). Respondents reporting any gradual-onset surfing injury, compared to those with no injury, averaged 3 more years surfing experience (p<0.001), were 3 years older (p<0.001), and reported 43h more surfing exposure in the preceding 12 months (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The most common gradual-onset surfing injuries involved the shoulder, low back, and neck, most frequently attributable to paddling. Risk factors for these injuries included board type, higher ability, older age, more hours/year, and years of surfing. These findings affirm the existence of sufficient injury burden to justify investigation of surfing injury prevention initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2020

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