Thirty-one stand-up paddle-boarders and 144 surfers responded to the web-based survey.
Thirty stand-up paddle-boarders responded regarding levels of experience as illustrated in
Figure 1; 27 % (n = 8) had been boarding for less than 6 months, the majority (33%) having practiced the sport for greater than 2 years.
Figure 1. Previous Paddle-Boarding Experience
Seventy three percent (n = 22) of paddle-boarders participate in the activity at least once a month (
Figure 2. Frequency of Paddle-Boarding Activity
Only 13% percent (n = 4) paddle-boarded purely on flat water. The majority, 87% (n = 26) paddle-boarded on open sea yet only 31% (n = 8) of these, 27% of the total paddle-boarders, surfed on waves with a stand up paddleboard. Forty percent (n = 3) of those who surfed waves on a stand up paddleboard considered themselves as beginners or amateurs and 60% (n = 5) as intermediate or advanced.
4.2. Injuries Sustained While Standing-up and Paddle-Boarding
Twenty people responded regarding injuries sustained whilst paddle-boarding. As illustrated in
Figure 3, Ten (50%) had never sustained any kind of injury from the sport. The remaining 10 people sustained 18 injuries; with sprains accounting for 50% (n = 9), lacerations for 22% (n = 4), contusions 17% (n = 3) and fractures 5% (n = 1). One in 5 (n = 4) had been injured more than 3 times, all of whom surfed waves whilst stand-up paddle-boarding.
Figure 3. Number of Injuries Sustained Whilst Paddle-Boarding
Of the 10 people sustaining injuries paddle-boarding, 3 sustained isolated injuries to the head/face, 1 sustained an isolated injury to the elbow/shoulder, 5 people sustained a total of 7 injuries to the knee, and 4 people injured their feet/ ankles and one was injured more than 3 times. The results are summarised in
Table 1. The Location and Frequency of Paddle-Boarding Injuries Sustained
Anatomical Location of Injury No. of Times Injury Sustained 1 2 > 3 Total Head 3 0 0 3 Neck 0 0 0 0 Back 0 0 0 0 Elbow/Shoulder 1 0 0 1 Trunk 0 0 0 0 Hand/Wrist 0 0 0 0 Hip 0 0 0 0 Knee 3 2 5 5 Foot/Ankle 3 0 1 4
Of the 3 head injuries, 2 were due to being hit by their own board and one in a manner not specified by the survey. The main type of injury was a bruise/black eye (n = 2).
Five people injured their knees, 2 of these twice. Two of the knee injuries sustained were by a collision with someone else’s paddle-board, 2 by twisting off the board and 1 by an unspecified nature. The main injury pattern was sprains/ ligament injuries, (n = 4, occurring twice in the 2 people twisting their knee). Other injuries included 1 bruise, 1 laceration and 1 unspecified injury.
Four people injured their foot/ankle, one of them more than 3 times. The injuries were sustained upon impact with seabed, by being hit by their own paddleboard and by being hit by someone else’s paddleboard and the recurrent injury was sustained by twisting off the board. The type of injury for the foot and ankle were the most serious with multiple lacerations, one person sustaining a recurrent ligament injury/sprain and one had a fracture.
4.3. Causes of Injury
Individual responses were analysed from all respondents as to their surfing patterns, (paddling on flat water, paddling across open sea or surfing on waves with a paddleboard) and cross referenced with how frequently they sustained an injury. Of 19 complete responses, No injuries were sustained by paddle-boarders paddling on flat water only (n = 10). 9 out of 19 respondents reported sustaining at least 1 injury whilst either paddling on open sea or surfing on waves. Of these, 6 of 9 were multiple injuries. There was no correlation with experience.
4.4. Medical Attention
Following the 18 injuries sustained by 10 paddle-boarders, 88.9% (n = 16) did not seek any medical attention. One paddle-boarder sought the advice of their family doctor and one paddle-boarder attended the Emergency Department. None required surgery for a paddleboard related injury.
4.5. Perception of Hazard to Other Surfers/Water Users
In open questioning about concerns of being injured by a paddle-boarder, the majority of paddle-boarders (7 out of 12 respondents) had no concerns. Those that did related their concerns to two main aspects; the size and weight of the board and the potential lack of control of the user.
We also conducted a separate survey analysing injuries sustained surfing and addressing anecdotal concerns that surfers had regarding injuries sustained from paddle-boarders. Of 145 surfers surveyed, 122 responded regarding sustaining surf-related injuries and 96 responded regarding concerns relating to paddle-board-induced injuries. Although 40% (n = 38) had no concerns, 50% (n = 48) were concerned with sustaining injuries from other paddle-boarders, 10% (n = 10) were concerned with all other significant water-craft, such as kayaks and wave skis. Those that were concerned were asked to justify their concerns as a free text response. The principal concerns related to the large size and mass of paddle-boards and a general opinion that paddle-boarders are in-experienced and have less control of their board.
However of the 326 surfing injuries reported, only 4 (1%) of injuries were actually attributed to paddle-boards. Surfers were more likely to injure themselves by contact with either their own surfboard (33%, n = 108), other surfers (10%, n = 34) or other water craft (2%, n = 7). The majority of surf injuries occurred secondary to other means, such as impacting into the sea floor, into rocks or a reef, slipping awkwardly off one’s board etc (55%, n = 180).