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221 Injuries in Portuguese recreational surfers
  1. Maria António Castro1,6,
  2. Rodrigo Fernandes2,
  3. Mário A Rodrigues-Ferreira3,4,
  4. João Madail5,
  5. António VencesBrito3,4
  1. 1School of Health Sciences, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal
  2. 2Physiotherapy Department of Coimbra Health School – Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Portugal, Coimbra, Portugal
  3. 3Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior, Polytechnic Institute of Santarém, Rio Maior, Portugal
  4. 4Life Quality Research Center – CIEQV, Rio Maior, Portugal
  5. 5FisioCentro – Gabinete de Fisioterapia de Albergaria-a-Velha, Aveiro, Portugal
  6. 6Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Processes (CEMMPRE), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal


Background Surfing practice has been growing in recent years with an increasing number of recreational practitioners, especially in countries like Portugal with very good ocean conditions. Most studies consider all professional and recreational surfer injuries.

Objective Determine the rate of injuries and their characteristics during the recreational surf practice.

Design Retrospective cohort study.

Setting Standardised data collected with a validated questionnaire.

Patients 150 Portuguese surfers aged between 8 to 68 years practising during at least one of the two seasons in the study agreed to participate.

Interventions Both gender recreational surfers.

Main Outcome Measurements Retrospective assessment of the last 2 years injuries occurrence and conditions of occurrence.

Results A total of 33 athletes sustained 45 injuries (22% injured players) with 9,72 injuries per 1000 h of exposure. The greatest number of injuries occurred in the lower leg (ankle 20%; knee 13%) followed by the shoulder (17.8%). The most common injury mechanism was collision/direct contact (59%) or torsion (11.4%) with the joints most affected (24.4%). Injuries more frequent were wound (17.8%), contusion (11%) and inflammation (11%). The surfboard (28.9%) and the athlete itself (24.4%) were the main cause of the injury, occurring mainly when performing manoeuvres (20.9%) especially descending the wave (16.3%). There are no statistically significant differences in injury frequency per 1000 h of exposure with regards to sex, surfer position (goofy or regular), surfing side (left, right or both). Male athletes demonstrate higher injury rates (women 7.94, SD 1.96; men 10.27, SD 2.89) per 1000 h of exposure.

Conclusions Recreational surfers reveal a considerable injury frequency per 1000 h of exposure, independent of gender, surfer position or side. The greater incidence of lower-limb and shoulder injuries must be underlined, as well as the fact that collision/direct contact represents more than 50% of the injury mechanisms.

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