The meaningful use of sprint paddling data to determine surfer’s strengths and weaknesses: A gender comparison

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Medical and Health Sciences


Parsonage, J., Secomb, J., Tran, T., Farley, O., Nimphius, S., Lundgren, L. & Sheppard, J. (2015). The meaningful use of sprint paddling data to determine surfer’s strengths and weaknesses: A gender comparison. Paper presented at the 2015 ASCA Annual Conference, Gold Coast. Available from Journal of Australian Strength & Conditioning. 23(6) 79-82.



Surfboard riding is one of Australia National sports participated by over 2.3 million people, with three in ten surfers now being female. Despite this growth, females still have large windows of opportunity to reach their potential and progress within the world championship tour (WCT). At the competitive level, both competitive male surfers and female surfers (are judged on performance and complexity of manoeuvres (WSL, 2017). However, prior to wave-riding, intense sprint paddle bouts are required allowing for a quicker pop-up and faster entry speed into the first manoeuvre. This requires surfers to possess upper body strength to facilitate surf specific performance characteristics such as sprint paddle ability (Sheppard, McNamara, Osborne, Andrews, & Chapman, 2012). Previous research has noted females are significantly slower in sprint paddle velocity over 15 metres (m) (Secomb et al., 2013). However, the aforementioned research did not conduct a detailed analysis of time to complete each 5-metre split (e.g. 0 - 5 m, 5 - 10 m and 10 - 15 m). Much like a sprint start, the use of split times can provide a better representation of specific strengths and weaknesses (e.g. initial acceleration versus maximum velocity) of both genders in paddling ability over 15 m. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to report and compare competitive male and female surfers over a 15 m sprint paddle, with the intention to identify both individual athlete difference and between gender differences during the initial acceleration phase (0 - 5 m) and maximum velocity phase (10 - 15 m).