Surf Training Habits and Related Knowledge and Attitudes of Surfers
Kawai, Nyena Weeds
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Surfing is an activity which has historically been considered a ‘lifestyle’ or leisure activity. However, over the last fifty years, surfing has increased in popularity, and this has resulted in greater professionalisation. Consequently, surfing research has increased to improve understanding and knowledge of the physiological demands of surfing. While research has shown land-based training should be utilised to meet these demands, there is little evidence of whether surfers are applying this information to their training habits, or indeed, what their training habits are like. Additionally, there is no current understanding of surfers’ knowledge and attitudes towards training therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate surfers’ current training habits and their knowledge and attitudes towards training for surfing. Four hundred and thirteen surfers (270 male, 143 female) participated in this mixed-methods, cross-sectional study by completing an online questionnaire focused on surfers’ knowledge and attitudes to training and their training habits. The questionnaire had a combination of closed and open-ended questions to provide quantitative and qualitative insight. The qualitative data identified three dominant themes, including: ‘attitudes – to train or not to train’, ‘knowledge of the demands of surfing’ and ‘training habits for surfing’. Almost 90% of participants believed training for surfing to be important. There was no significant difference between gender and the perceived importance of training but there was a significant difference between the proportion of males (87%) and females (76%) who believed being in the water and surfing was the best way to train for surfing. Additionally, significantly more advanced surfers (90%) believed being in the water is best in comparison to novice (75%) and intermediate (79%) surfers. The main motivators for training were to improve their performance, to ensure they had longevity in the sport and to improve their comfort/confidence. Those who were not motivated to train for surfing either train for general health and wellbeing or surf as a hobby and do not need to. Surfers’ knowledge of the demands of surfing was moderate, with 44% of the participants correctly answering at least four of the seven knowledge-based questions however most surfers lacked knowledge about specific aspects of surfing. Results also showed 70% of surfers perform surf training with no significant difference in the length or frequency of training sessions between genders. However, advanced female surfers had significantly more training sessions than novice female surfers, but this was not the case for male surfers. Two trains of thought were found regarding surfers’ training habits. Either they felt that ‘surfing is the best way to train’ or otherwise, ‘great surfing requires out-of-water training’. These findings provide a foundation of knowledge regarding surfers’ training habits and how they may be influenced by their knowledge of and attitudes towards training. They also suggest as many surfers are inclined to train, more surf specific resources are required to ensure surfers are training appropriately for surfing. Additionally, surfers may benefit from a surf-specific warm-up to enhance performance and reduce injury risk.