Training Methods in the Sport of Surfing: A Scoping Review

Terry Donaldson, Malcolm Scantlebury , James Furness, Kevin Kemp-Smith, Sean Newcomer, Mike Climstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Surfing has grown significantly in the past decade as highlighted by its inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. This growth substantiates a need for training methods that improve surfing performance. The purpose of this review is to (a) identify training methods available to competitive and recreational surfers in peer-reviewed literature, (b) evaluate the effectiveness of these methods, and (c) highlight any limitations and potential areas for future research. Five electronic databases were searched, and 8 papers were identified that met the eligibility criteria. Five of these studies used a quasi-experimental design, and 1 used a case study. The remaining 2 studies used field-based outcome measures specific to paddling; however, no study demonstrated improvement in wave-riding performance. The main training methods identified were (a) resistance training, (b) unstable surface training, and (c) cardiovascular training. Maximal strength training of the upper-body and high-intensity and sprint-interval paddling demonstrated effectiveness for improving paddling performance; however, unstable surface training was ineffective. Although all interventions improved laboratory-based outcomes, there were no objective measures of wave-riding performance. The findings of this scoping review demonstrate a paucity and low level of evidence in peer-reviewed literature relating training methods to surfing performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalStrength and Conditioning Journal
Issue number3
Early online date17 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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