Increased acute lower limb injuries are associated with completing aerial manoeuvres in surfing

James Furness, Wayne A Hing, J Walsh, J M Sheppard, Michael Climstein

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


Question: Is there a higher incidence of acute lower limb injuries in surfers who complete aerial manoeuvres. 
Design: Retrospective observational study of recreational and competitive surfers. Participants: 1,348 participants completed an online survey consisting of three sections: demographics, acute and chronic injury. 
Results: Surfers completing aerial manoeuvres reported a significantly (χ2=10.3, p<0.01) higher incidence of acute injury (62.4% versus 50.9%). Conversely there was a significantly (χ2=4.9, p<0.05) greater association between chronic injury and surfers who did not complete aerials manoeuvres (28.9% versus 36.5%). This was expected given those carrying chronic injury would perhaps be disinclined to complete such challenging manoeuvres. Younger surfers were more likely to complete aerial manoeuvres with a significant difference (t=15.5, p<0.001) in the age of surfers (mean ages 25.7 ±9.2 years versus 37.5±12.9 years). Of the 194 participants who completed aerial manoeuvres, 44.3% suffered from an acute lower body injury which was significantly higher (χ2=27.3, p<0.001) than for those that did not regularly perform aerials (27.6%). Conversely there were an increased percentage of upper body acute injuries in those that did not perform aerials over those that did (32.1% vs. 29.4%). Though this difference was non-significant (χ2=0.7), it indicated that this association between aerial manoeuvres and acute injury was only associated with the lower body. 
Conclusion: These results suggest that surfers who complete aerial manoeuvres on a regular basis should be performing conditioning (strength, proprioceptive and flexibility) exercises to assist in the prevention of lower body injuries.

Key Practice Points:  Aerial manoeuvres are associated with a significantly higher incidence of acute lowerbody injuries in surfers  Younger surfers were more likely to perform aerials manoeuvres.  It is recommended that surfers completing aerial manoeuvres should be engaging in surfspecific conditioning (proprioceptive, strength and flexibility) exercises.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
EventAustralian Physiotherapy Association Conference 2013: New Moves - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201320 Oct 2013


ConferenceAustralian Physiotherapy Association Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleAPA Conference 2013


Cite this

Furness, J., Hing, W. A., Walsh, J., Sheppard, J. M., & Climstein, M. (2013). Increased acute lower limb injuries are associated with completing aerial manoeuvres in surfing. Abstract from Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference 2013, Melbourne, Australia.