Are we really paddling that much?

The 2nd Annual Conference Surfing Medicine2-5 October 2013, Sagr

It’s Paddle Time!

In a study performed at the Sports Performance Research Institute at Auckland Technical University by Farley et al. (1) twelve nationally ranked NZ surfers were equipped with heart rate (HR) monitoring devices, global positioning system (GPS) units, and were videoed during two competitive heats.

The greatest amount of time spent during surfing was paddling (54 ± 6.3% of the total time; % TT). Stationary phases represented 28 ± 6.9% TT. Wave riding, and paddling for a wave represented only 8 ± 2% TT and 4 ± 1.5% TT, respectively. The average distance covered was 1605 ± 313m.

These results tally with other research where paddle time of 51% TT (Range: 25-70%) and stationary periods of 42% TT (23-72%) were observed (2). In contrast to the professional realm, Meir et al. (3) reported  44% TT and 35% TT spent paddling and remaining stationary, respectively, in recreational surfing of duration one hour.


  1. Farley ORL, Harris NK, Kilding AE. Physiological demands of competitive surfing. JStrengthCondRes, 2012, 26(7): 1887–1896
  2. Mendez-Villanueva A, Bishop D, Hamer P. Activity profile of world-class professional surfers during competition: A case study. JStrengthCondRes, 2006, 20(3): 477–482
  3. Meir RA, Lowdon BJ, Davie AJ. Heart rates and estimated energy expenditure during recreational surfing. Aust. J. Sci. Med. Sport, 1991, 23:70–74

Interesting … Find out more at the Surfer’s Academy: #surfersacademy

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