Comparison of the 400 metre time endurance surf paddle between elite competitive surfers, competitive surfers and recreational surfers
Australian Strength and Conditioning Association
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Surfing is an intermittent, high performance sport requiring the athlete to perform multiple endurance paddling bouts and explosive paddling bursts to catch the wave. Due to these demands surfing has been documented as a sport requiring high muscular endurance and power of the upper torso, excellent cardio-respiratory fitness and the ability to rapidly recover. In addition, surf competitions demand that athletes possess the ability to out paddle the opposition to gain an optimal position for wave take offs, and also need to gain enough momentum to catch waves). Those who can out paddle a heat opponent, and catch waves at the most critical point when breaking, are likely to maximize their scoring potential. Given the high metabolic demands of surfing, literature on surfers’ aerobic characteristics is surprisingly limited. Previous studies have utilized laboratory-based ergometers as an alternative to swimming pool-based testing to investigate peak or maximal aerobic capacity (VO2peak or VO2max). These studies reported no correlations between a surfer’s season rank and VO2Peak recorded from land based ergometery testing. Furthermore, from the current studies, it is still uncertain how the peak power outputs measured on the ergometer correlates with power generated when paddling on-water during surfing. Currently appropriate and valid testing protocols evaluating the physiological fitness of surfing athletes are not well established. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether the testing procedure of a pool based, 400m endurance time trial is more appropriate given the nature of the sport, and provide a test that is a better discriminator of performance.