Extreme Sports Series: Understanding The Demands of Surfing (part 1)

In this series of blogs I will address some of the most common extreme sports, starting with surfing. It is important to acknowledge that surfing can be further subdivided into bodysurfing, bodyboarding, longboarding, shortboarding, tow-in and more recently stand-up paddle boarding. This blog will focus on its most popular form, shortboards.

Extreme Sports Brief Overview

Firstly, I would like to point to a particular trait which is normally present in those who engage with an extreme sport. They have a particular mind-set and temperament that can manage high-risk activities in a controlled manner. It is known that temperament traits are neurochemically regulated and can also be heritable, which means these participants can be seen as genetically hardwired to engage in extreme sports. In other words, equipped with the mind frame to manage danger successfully.

Omer Mei-Dan, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and BASE jumper from Israel, mentions in his book that the new and inexperienced participant as well as the experienced extremist are the two groups at higher risk of injury.

Other particularities observed with extreme sport rehabilitation, including surfing, are the fact those participants or athletes are more resistant in accepting changes in sports participation due to injury or prevention. Moreover, a gradual return to sport is not always feasible as full commitment may be required for safety reasons. For instance, one cannot paddle out on 6ft surf expecting to be ‘half-ready’ to drop-in on a wave. The consequences, even in smaller surfing conditions and among professionals can be disastrous

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