In an observational, retrospective survey of acute and chronic surfing-related injuries, a 30-question interactive, internet-based, multiple choice survey was advertised in surfing periodicals and on surfing-related websites (inclusion for further analysis: n=1348, 90% men, 28.6 years of age).

For an overview of injury localisations and the parts of the board that causes injuries, see our edit of Leroy Grannis’ photo called “Wipe Out” that was used as the cover for Macgillivray & Freeman’s 1968 surf movie called “The Moods of Surfing”.

Fifty-five percent of injuries resulted from contact with ones own board, 12% from another surfer’s board, and 17% from the sea floor. Sixty-seven percent of acute surfing injuries are caused by board contact. Older surfers, more expert surfers, and those surfing large waves have a higher relative risk for significant injury.

Fins with duller edges, made from a softer material, and fins that are designed to break away on impact may result in fewer lacerations. The sharp nose and tail common to many modern shortboards could easily be rounded to a radius of approximately 1 inch to decrease the likelihood of injury to the rider and other
surfers, with little if any change in performance characteristics. Rubber shock absorbers on the nose, rails, and tail may further reduce risk for injury.

Although the introduction of leashes in the 70s decreased injuries caused by someone other’s board, improving leash design by dampening elasticity of the leash cord may lessen the frequency of injuries caused by one’s own board.

Furthermore, helmets and (puncture resistant) lycra shirt may decrease injuries.

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