Skip to main content
The physiological profile of male competitive and recreational surfers
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research
  • James Furness, Bond University
  • Wayne Hing, Bond University
  • Jeremy M Sheppard, Surfing Australia Elite Athlete Program, Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre
  • Sean Newcomer, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Ben Schram, Bond University
  • Mike Climstein, Bond University
Date of this Version
Document Type
Journal Article
Publication Details

Submitted version

Furness, J., Hing, W., Sheppard, J. M., Newcomer, S., Schram, B., & Climstein, M. (2016, in press). The physiological profile of male competitive and recreational surfers. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Access the journal

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Surfing consists of both high and low intensity paddling of varying durations, utilizing both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. Surf specific physiological studies lack adequate group sample sizes and VO2peak values are yet to determine differences between competitive and recreational surfers. The purpose of this study was therefore to provide a comprehensive physiological profile of both recreational and competitive surfers. This multi-site study involved 62 male surfers, recreational (n = 47) and competitive (n = 15). Anthropometric measurements were conducted followed by DEXA, anaerobic testing and finally aerobic testing. VO2peak was significantly greater in competitive compared to recreational surfers (M = 40.71 ± 3.28 vs. 31.25 ± 6.31 ml/kg/min, p < .001). This was also paralleled for anaerobic power (M = 303.93 vs. 264.58 W) for competitive surfers. Arm span and lean total muscle mass was significantly (p ≤ .01) correlated with key performance variables (VO2peak and anaerobic power). No significant (p ≥ .05) correlations were revealed between season rank and each of the variables of interest (V02peak and anaerobic power). Key performance variables (VO2peak and anaerobic power) are significantly higher in competitive surfers indicating this is both an adaptation and requirement in this cohort. This battery of physiological tests could be used as a screening tool to identify an athlete's weaknesses or strengths. Coaches and clinicians could then select appropriate training regimes to address weaknesses.
Citation Information
James Furness, Wayne Hing, Jeremy M Sheppard, Sean Newcomer, et al.. "The physiological profile of male competitive and recreational surfers" Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2016) ISSN: 1533-4287
Available at: