Doctors … Surfers … Addicts?

“Keeping the Surfer Healthy and Safe”; that is the motto of the EASD Surfing Doctors.

Rick Rasmussen

Rick Rasmussen: A casualty of the intersection between surfing and drug culture

For years, the stereotype of the ‘pothead’ surfer has prevailed. Yet, there is only scant data to back up this stigma1.

Substance abuse amongst doctors has been more thoroughly researched. The prevalence of substance use disorders among doctors is about 10-12%, which is similar to that of the general population2-4.

What about us EASD surfing doctors? Are we more likely to develop a substance use disorder than our non-surfing colleagues? Or are we healthy athletes taking good care of our bodies and setting the right example for our future colleagues and the surf community?

"Pacific Vibrations" John Severson/SURFER 1970

“Pacific Vibrations” John Severson/SURFER 1970

When it comes to substance use and abuse, are we behaving in a healthy and safe way?

To get an answer to this question, I would like to do a quick scan on substance use and abuse among surfing doctors. A short anonymous questionnaire will be handed out to all participants at the Conference, which I hope you’ll all complete.

If you are interested in the topic of surfing and substance abuse, please sign up for the Masterclass!

Loes Hanck and Tim Jones will present the Masterclass in ‘Surfing and Substance Abuse’ at Conference 2014.


1.            Levin BJ, Taylor J. Depression, Anxiety, and Coping in Surfers. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology. 2011;5:148-165.
2.            Berge KH, Seppala MD, Schipper AM. Chemical dependency and the physician. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84(7):625-631.
3.            Rose JS, Campbell M, Skipper G. Prognosis for Emergency Physician with Substance Abuse Recovery: 5-year Outcome Study. West J Emerg Med. 2013;XV(1):20-25.
4.            McLellan AT, Skipper GS, Campbell M, DuPont RL. Five year outcomes in a cohort study of physicians treated for substance use disorders in the United States. Bmj. 2008;337:a2038.
Note: Featured Image on front page accompanying this post is “Dream L68” (2008) by Mark Sutherland.

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