The Rip Curl Pro Portugal, organized by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) was held in October 2012 in Peniche. As every year, it was a fantastic event with a spectacular final. The EASD is proud to portrait one of its members Nuno Oliveira, MD who was in charge of the event’s medical team.
What led this colleague into Surfing Medicine and what has been his medical career so far?
Twenty years of surfing was what led me into this event. I am a huge admirer of the guys who are surfing professionally. Since I am a surfer myself I do believe that I can feel the medical needs of my patients and prepare myself for the job much better than a non-surfing doctor could do.
My main area of work is sports medicine; I work in the orthopedic department of a major public hospital in Lisbon and for Sporting Club de Portugal, a professional football team, as a medical consultant. Working for such a big Football Club is a great and demanding job. But to be honest, my personal passion is surfing.
How did you become the medical doctor for the Peniche Rip Curl Pro event?
It was a long process that started in 2009 with the Rip Curl Search project ending up in Portugal. At that time of my life I have started to burn for the idea of being the MD for the event. I offered my help for the Rip Curl Search event and, with a lot of work and great support from the Rip Curl team, the ASP and its medical board, I have been responsible for the Medical team of Peniche WCT since then.
It is a big honor to work with these guys and I believe that professional surfing and the EASD are going to continue to cooperate as close as possible in order to reach the level of medical care that the professional surfers need!
With respect to Surfing Medicine in particular, can you tell us what happened on the Rip Curl Pro 2012?
One of the surfers got a cut on his head, which had to be stitched. Also, we were helping another contestant with a foot injury that he suffered from since the previous event in Hossegor, France. We had two surfers in the recovery process of knee sprains that worked on a daily basis with our physiotherapist. Some surfers had “overuse” injuries that demand the intervention of the osteopath, who is an obligatory member of the event’s medical team. Then, some minor injuries occurred and a lot of common colds and headaches had to be treated. In my opinion, in this kind of events, when working with professional athletes, you have to work as a team in order to provide in each moment a complete medical care. Our team priority is to support the athletes on the competition site, but also to take care of the whole staff.
What was your most interesting case in the last 4 years?
Well I have to admit that all of the cases are interesting. The challenge is to decide quickly and correctly having in mind the safety of the athletes and their interests as professional surfers.
But If I have to point it out, it would be Owen Right´s eardrum rupture in the first year!
When did you start surfing and what is your home spot?
This year I’m celebrating 20 years of surfing. So I decided to reward myself with a beautiful DHD 6.0 anniversary board, I think all surfers out there will understand that.
My home spots are probably Costa Caparica near Lisbon, Ericeira and Peniche. It is a privilege to live in Portugal where you have so many good spots in a close reach.
On the last 20 years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot, chasing waves around the globe (France, Costa Rica, Brazil, Maldives, Indonesia, Hawaii, California, Cabo Verde…).
So Nuno how do you see yourself as a surfing doctor in the future?
It is my dream to work like I do right now. Being the MD in charge for the contest is a challenging and exciting job. Now through the EASD, we have much more possibilities of cooperation for the exchange of knowledge and experience. As member of the EASD ASP Team I am looking forward to the years to come.
The community of surfing doctors is proud to have Nuno in its ranks. The future collaboration with the ASP and the EASD is a process, which, we trust will further more enhance the medical care, and evidence based science for the surfing world. A lot has to be done but we are sure that with Nuno as a part of our ASP Team, we will make our goals and give the surfing professionals and the surfing community the evidence based medical care they need.
For me personally it was a big pleasure to talk to Nuno. Those people, who have met him in person at the EASD Conference in Sagres 2012, were impressed by his modest nature, friendly voice and openness of the heart. Working like this is just different than in the normal medical work and so much more fun. It is not only sharing knowledge, it’s sharing passion.
The EASD would like to congratulate Nuno and his team for the great work on the Rip Curl Pro 2012 Peniche.
We hope you can live your dream for the next 20 years!