An Australian survey on health and injuries in adult competitive surfing

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BACKGROUND: There is limited research that explores health and injuries of surfers. The aim of this study is to describe the health and injury profile of adult Australian competitive surfers.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, all registered participants at the 2014 Australian Surfing Titles were invited to complete an online survey comprising: (1) demographic and surfing information; (2) health-related quality of life using the SF-12 questionnaire; and (3) surfing injury history. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the survey responses. The sample consisted of 227 (77% male) surfers with mean age of 35.0±13.2 years. They spent on average, 10.0±6.5 hours per week surfing.

RESULTS: The mean SF-12 physical and mental health component scores were significantly higher than the population norm at 53.3±5.4 and 55.6±6.2, respectively. A total of 175 (81%) respondents reported incurring at least one surfing-related injury in their lifetimes, while 90 (58%) respondents reported incurring at least one surfing-related injury in the current season. The most commonly injured body regions were the lower back, foot, knee, and ankle, while the most frequent types of injury were abrasion and laceration.

CONCLUSIONS: Although adult Australian competitive surfers report greater physical and mental health-related quality of life compared to the general population, surfing-related injuries are relatively common. The present study reveals a higher burden of lower back injuries compared to previous reports as well as differences in injury profiles amongst the surfing disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019



  • Australia
  • sports
  • epidemiology
  • athletic injuries
  • Athletic injuries
  • Epidemiology
  • Sports

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