Other Subject Area

Sports Physiology


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(6): 1277-1293, 2021. Surfing is the ability to ride a surfboard along the unbroken section, wall or face of a wave, as it moves closer towards the shore. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the physiological, musculoskeletal and anthropometric characteristics that can differentiate between paddling and wave riding performance in competitive and recreational surfing populations. The eligibility criteria for this scoping review included articles that distinguished between multiple surfing ability groups, identified physiological, musculoskeletal or anthropometric characteristics, were peer reviewed, and directly related to the sport of surfing. The databases used to search for relevant literature included PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus and Google Scholar. All relevant articles were screened and assessed for full text eligibility. This resulted in 28 full text articles to be synthesized and included in this review. A range of significant physiological, musculoskeletal, and anthropometric characteristics were able to differentiate between surfing abilities. The most common differentiating physiological characteristics seen in competitive surfers were faster sprint paddling velocity, greater anaerobic power, higher VO2 peak, and greater lower limb power. The most common differentiating musculoskeletal and anthropometric characteristics seen in competitive surfers were increased postural control, increased ankle dorsiflexion, higher lean mass ratio, shorter stature, and greater arm span, respectively. Knowledge of these characteristics could lead to development of talent identification protocols as well as tailor programs to target specific characteristics the athlete is lacking in order to minimize the risk of these attributes inhibiting optimal performance.