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SUP surfing and injuries

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Created by superlizard Two weeks ago, 28 May 2021
superlizard
VIC, 688 posts
28 May 2021 8:29PM
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Howdy fellow breezers. I'm new to SUP surfing, and would love to know from experienced riders how risky would you classify SUP surfing with respect to injury likelihood? Got my MCL shattered recently (leg stuck on the board, body twisted by the wave), and trying to decide whether to come back to it once and if I recover.
Thanks

Haddock
27 posts
28 May 2021 7:10PM
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Odd cuts and bruises, but nothing worse. I've actually used paddling (in some pretty heavy surf) to help my back and broken ribs recover from falling 20ft off a ladder a few weeks back.....

supthecreek
2214 posts
28 May 2021 7:47PM
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Did you need surgery or spain it?
I only ask because you said "recently"
An injury like that sucks fo sure.

Don't go back before it is healed and strong.
Everything is "dangerous"
How we manage the risk, is what keeps us chasing our passions.

My knee is very weak in that area.
I am very deliberate not to expose it to stress caused by outside pressure, pushing my knee "in" from the side.
It has has always felt that if I ever attempted a "pig dog", that my knee would snap off.

I wear a compression brace all day, everyday.
Smaller 2" band from a wetsuit arm during normal daily life,
and a bigger, more supportive one when I am active.

I SUP surf hundreds of days a year, paddle, ride my bike hard and walk in deep sand..... I find I can manage my activity with reasonable caution to protect against the dangerous moves that would tear my leg off.

My feet tell me where my board is, and I tell my board where to go in my frequent wipeouts.
It is my belief that we can ALL manage our wipeouts better, by letting go one second earlier and kick our boards away, fall in a protective manner and generally limit damage to our bodies and gear.

I am always threatening to finish my video on how to "manage" wipeouts... but I should actually do that, instead of constantly editing it



My good friend "Whale Dave" is my poster child for how NOT to manage your wipeouts....
he always waits for the wave to smash him into his board... I can't figure out why he is still alive




Napnap
9 posts
28 May 2021 8:20PM
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Grade 2 thigh abductor tear (groin strain). Totally agree with Mr Creek - didn't kick the board away quickly enough, leading leg got hung up on board. Couldn't stand, and Mrs Nap had to carry board to van and drive home. Took many weeks to get mobility and strength back. Mainly just hurt pride though every time I'm out!!

beefarmer
WA, 306 posts
28 May 2021 8:45PM
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RE injury liklihood, id say its pretty low. obviously you need to learn how to not hit, or get hit by your board.

Wipe outs like creeks example above scare the **** outta me still, 8 years in for me. Each one is a roll of the dice. I've had heaps like that though and have gotten away with it so far, keeping the thing away from your head/face is the top priority for me. lots of knocks and corks but nothing more, maybe Im lucky.

Hard landings on the flats after attacking a lip are another one i dont like, the potential for a broken leg or ankle is real with all the extra surface area there is no give when you land hard, you dont sink like a shortboard, thats for sure. Im very selective if attempting anything like that and as others have said, bail early.

I don't think muscular / RSI / posture type injuries are too bad for SUP, in my case i switched to SUP from prone surfing after chronic neck problems and a munted shoulder. Both were manageable when i started SUP surfing, and I think the SUP helped recovery if anything, I havent looked back since .

lam
VIC, 176 posts
29 May 2021 8:46AM
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My worst injury, bruised kidney but have had many injuries. In hindsight all avoidable. What accidents aren't, in hindsight. In my experience you live and learn, learn from each injury and use the experience to avoid doing the same thing again. I believe this is a better philosophy than wrapping yourself up in cotton wool.

superlizard
VIC, 688 posts
29 May 2021 9:07AM
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Select to expand quote
supthecreek said..
Did you need surgery or spain it?
I only ask because you said "recently"
An injury like that sucks fo sure.

Don't go back before it is healed and strong.
Everything is "dangerous"
How we manage the risk, is what keeps us chasing our passions.

My knee is very weak in that area.
I am very deliberate not to expose it to stress caused by outside pressure, pushing my knee "in" from the side.
It has has always felt that if I ever attempted a "pig dog", that my knee would snap off.

I wear a compression brace all day, everyday.
Smaller 2" band from a wetsuit arm during normal daily life,
and a bigger, more supportive one when I am active.

I SUP surf hundreds of days a year, paddle, ride my bike hard and walk in deep sand..... I find I can manage my activity with reasonable caution to protect against the dangerous moves that would tear my leg off.

My feet tell me where my board is, and I tell my board where to go in my frequent wipeouts.
It is my belief that we can ALL manage our wipeouts better, by letting go one second earlier and kick our boards away, fall in a protective manner and generally limit damage to our bodies and gear.

I am always threatening to finish my video on how to "manage" wipeouts... but I should actually do that, instead of constantly editing it



My good friend "Whale Dave" is my poster child for how NOT to manage your wipeouts....
he always waits for the wave to smash him into his board... I can't figure out why he is still alive





Thanks all for valuable insight.

I'm not sure yet about the surgery. Still waiting to see the surgeon. But the ultrasound said "shattered MCL"
Yes, i think i need to learn how to separate from the board quickly during a wipeouts.

I'm also wandering if wearing rubber boots made it worse... as I felt there was too much grip between feet and the rubber mat.

But the whole thing is definitely making me question whether to continue SUP-ing (despite how awesome it is), as i never had a knee injury in my 10yrs of downhill, and 15 of kite/wake.

FRP
428 posts
29 May 2021 8:00AM
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This is a very good question. Generally for a sport where you are falling all of the time (I am for sure) it is fairly safe if you learn to fall safely. I think Creek posted a thread about how to fall off the board? Personally I think the greatest risk is in shallow water either reef or in close to the beach. Learning to spread out the force by flopping is important and being very careful when stepping off the board in shallows. Board management is an important skill to direct it away from where you are falling. That said I am risk averse and wear a Gath helmet and impact vest every day I am out. If you want a dangerous sport take up downhill mountain biking and a good insurance policy.
cheers

Bob

cantSUPenough
VIC, 2009 posts
30 May 2021 7:42AM
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To possibly state the obvious, you need to choose the conditions when you surf and the waves you try to ride (or paddle through).

To quote a forgotten move "A guy gots to know his limitations."

I mostly surf a reef break, which means I don't have to paddle back out through the waves. The waves themselves often have a decent amount of power but when you watch and learn how the wave is breaking you can take off with an exit plan in mind.

I have had a few injuries, but thankfully nothing too bad - I have been very lucky too. I have had a few back injuries when I tried to channel my inner grom...

Gboots
NSW, 1155 posts
30 May 2021 12:34PM
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Select to expand quote
cantSUPenough said..
To possibly state the obvious, you need to choose the conditions when you surf and the waves you try to ride (or paddle through).

To quote a forgotten move "A guy gots to know his limitations."

I mostly surf a reef break, which means I don't have to paddle back out through the waves. The waves themselves often have a decent amount of power but when you watch and learn how the wave is breaking you can take off with an exit plan in mind.

I have had a few injuries, but thankfully nothing too bad - I have been very lucky too. I have had a few back injuries when I tried to channel my inner grom...



Wise words.

I want to be like Creek and surf at 70 plus . So I am much more fussy these days . Less than 3 foot waves. Avoid strong onshore conditions . Avoid going in at peak of high or low tide when waves more powerful . Avoid crowded spots . Don't ride wave all the way to shore . Don't surf to total exhaustion (leave something in the tank) The more I do this sport the more I realise the risks.
SUPs are big boards (even a 7 foot SUP is big)
Head injuries are probably the biggest risk to yourself and definitely to those around you.
Even bigger danger are those around you who don't wear leashes

hilly
WA, 6080 posts
30 May 2021 12:57PM
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Go hard or go home
had more injuries in tiny surf than big surf. The water is shallow there are more people out and you take short cuts. If you charge Hewy looks after you. Almost 60 and will still have the same attitude at 70. Had some bad injuries but they do not effect my mindset.

Bluehawk
NSW, 34 posts
30 May 2021 4:21PM
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Smashed my leg into a sand bank. I was coming in but still a long way from the beach break. Resulted in dislocated, broken ankle and tore or my ligaments from my right ankle. I now come in on my stmoach and I am very carfel about water depth. Still have 6 months of rehab as ankle still swells and is weak.

808-Obsession
QLD, 413 posts
30 May 2021 5:46PM
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Just a superficial graze - took a while to even start bleeding, and healed up fine after a couple weeks. A poorly-executed exit in very small waves saw me come down elbow-first on the grip of my Speeed. Can 100% confirm that Bert & the Sunova crew don't skimp on grip levels for their pads! I imagine it's part grip-rash, part friction-burn. Definitely stung like a b**tard and I had no left elbow to lean on while drinking beer for the rest of the trip!


Seajuice
NSW, 763 posts
30 May 2021 10:42PM
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Hoping you recover well. Give it good time to heal. Remembering what you did wrong & keeping it in your head helps to prevent it happening again.
Your injury didn't surprise me. I was lucky that mine was minor. Once one leg slips off there is basically nothing you can do to get the other foot off the deck.
My mistake was trying too hard to stay on board for as long as possible. Once you feel one foot starts to slip off then you need to bail fully sideways. Slipping down sideways close to the board is the worst. I was lucky a few times. But after a while it becomes very rare.
The other problem is jumping off in very shallow water which can injure bones in your foot. Knee to back injury.
Other common injuries in waves can be collisions with board rails. I've had a corked thigh & a broken rib.
Another serious injury is an airborn board landing on your head due to not staying under water long enough.
In my learning days I've had a few injuries compared to my mate who had basically none.
There is always a risk for anyone.
My opinion is that the further away you are from your board as you fall the better. And take less risks.

obijohn
85 posts
31 May 2021 10:02AM
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Like most sports, the injury rate is directly proportional to how hard you push it. I have never been injured in small surf (under head high), other than a few bounces off shallow reefs. Bigger surf ups the odds. I sliced my arm open on a fin when pitched over the falls in overhead surf in Mexico, and had my eye socket shattered by the paddle handle when I bailed away from the board at the end of a ride in overhead surf in Costa Rica. I try to SUP-surf at least 100 days a year, so I figure those injuries are not bad odds over the past 10 years. (Prone surfed off and on since 1959, with only one injury from the board slicing open my upper lip when the leash snapped back faster than I expected. I have had a lot worse injuries in other sports, and it always comes down to what the experience is worth to each person.

Brenno
QLD, 795 posts
31 May 2021 2:03PM
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My most significant SUP surfing injury, with lasting effects.
I was however back in the water 3 and a half weeks later (most of me anyway). I am a SUPaholic after all. Totally addicted.


Like others have said, the amount of time spent in the surf, as opposed to the amount of injuries incurred, says the odds aren't too bad.
Compared to bull fighting or bear wrestling anyway.
Send it.

Brenno
QLD, 795 posts
31 May 2021 2:06PM
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Select to expand quote
808-Obsession said..
Just a superficial graze - took a while to even start bleeding, and healed up fine after a couple weeks. A poorly-executed exit in very small waves saw me come down elbow-first on the grip of my Speeed. Can 100% confirm that Bert & the Sunova crew don't skimp on grip levels for their pads! I imagine it's part grip-rash, part friction-burn. Definitely stung like a b**tard and I had no left elbow to lean on while drinking beer for the rest of the trip!



Man, those pixels must have hurt like hell!

808-Obsession
QLD, 413 posts
31 May 2021 4:24PM
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Select to expand quote
Brenno said..

808-Obsession said..
Just a superficial graze - took a while to even start bleeding, and healed up fine after a couple weeks. A poorly-executed exit in very small waves saw me come down elbow-first on the grip of my Speeed. Can 100% confirm that Bert & the Sunova crew don't skimp on grip levels for their pads! I imagine it's part grip-rash, part friction-burn. Definitely stung like a b**tard and I had no left elbow to lean on while drinking beer for the rest of the trip!



Man, those pixels must have hurt like hell!


Really bad plastic surgery fail there!

FRP
428 posts
31 May 2021 4:28PM
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Select to expand quote
Brenno said..
My most significant SUP surfing injury, with lasting effects.
I was however back in the water 3 and a half weeks later (most of me anyway). I am a SUPaholic after all. Totally addicted.


Like others have said, the amount of time spent in the surf, as opposed to the amount of injuries incurred, says the odds aren't too bad.
Compared to bull fighting or bear wrestling anyway.
Send it.


Dang! That is rough. I won't show that to my wife. She already worries about me enough. Leash? Fin? Large fish? Reef? Power tool?

Bob

wazza66
QLD, 530 posts
31 May 2021 8:58PM
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Fin in my right cheek when I tried to tuck into a barrel and got rolled and launched onto my fins. Punctured in about an inch or so.

Internal and external stitches and couldn't sit on my arse for a few weeks due to cutting my gluteus maximius . Pissed off my new boardies got ripped by the fin.

Thanks to the young lady who took the pic for me



OkiWild
82 posts
31 May 2021 7:46PM
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Reef damage on my old helmet. Couple of weeks back, I hit the water really hard about five times in a row, and gave myself a concussion...again. Throwing up on the paddle back in, dizzy for a few days, headache. I wear a lid now on most days that are head-high and bigger. Too many reef injuries and board injuries to recount, but the most serious is four busted out teeth, broken maxilla...



Emeboy
NSW, 342 posts
1 Jun 2021 6:36AM
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Select to expand quote
Brenno said..
My most significant SUP surfing injury, with lasting effects.
I was however back in the water 3 and a half weeks later (most of me anyway). I am a SUPaholic after all. Totally addicted.


Like others have said, the amount of time spent in the surf, as opposed to the amount of injuries incurred, says the odds aren't too bad.
Compared to bull fighting or bear wrestling anyway.
Send it.


Brenno.... DUDE!!
Add this to the gash in the other post and it looks like you need some kevlar in your wettie!! Was this the dreaded leggie wrapped around the finger trick? I got off lucky with at myself... just some bruising.

Worst I've had was a love scratch on Xmas Eve.... brains fell out but otherwise not too bad. The dumbest part of it was the surf was only real small... I think I whipped the board into my own head








martyj4
324 posts
1 Jun 2021 8:04AM
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As many have said before, when going back from injury, ensure joint/body part is strong enough. I'd go see a physio to get exercises that ensure you can build up your knee to a good strength.
Rarely been injured. Tend to shy away from hollow breaks. Get off before it gets shallow. Learn how to fall to minimise damage if you hit the bottom. Wear a helmet. Often wear an impact vest. I'd have to be one of the most bland SUPers you'd see. While I don't throw the board around huge amounts, I just get a kick out of catching a wave.
1 of my shoulders is weak and problematic. Physio gave me exercises and I've been doing them for 3 years now. Shoulder will never be 100%, but it's at about 80% and I can still do lots of things - just at a slower pace. When I wasn't doing the exercises, my shoulder was waaay more compromised. So they're one of these compulsory things if I want to keep doing active stuff.

superlizard
VIC, 688 posts
2 Jun 2021 8:19AM
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fk... i got into SUPing thinking it's the more adequate thing to do as i'm getting older. After seeing all this, I think I'm going back to downhill mountain biking... it's way safer...

Brenno
QLD, 795 posts
2 Jun 2021 4:26PM
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Select to expand quote
FRP said..

Brenno said..
My most significant SUP surfing injury, with lasting effects.
I was however back in the water 3 and a half weeks later (most of me anyway). I am a SUPaholic after all. Totally addicted.


Like others have said, the amount of time spent in the surf, as opposed to the amount of injuries incurred, says the odds aren't too bad.
Compared to bull fighting or bear wrestling anyway.
Send it.



Dang! That is rough. I won't show that to my wife. She already worries about me enough. Leash? Fin? Large fish? Reef? Power tool?

Bob


Leggy got all tangled up, and popped the end off.
My digit was no match for a 10'6" board going over the falls, and coffining away from me.
Sh1t happens.
Positives are I'm right handed, and it's not as important as other digits, so hasn't impeded me too much.

1fox
161 posts
3 Jun 2021 7:17PM
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"and it's not as important as other digits"
Indeed, the middle finger is an essential media for bold messages



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"SUP surfing and injuries" started by superlizard