Paddle-boarding: Fun, New Sport or an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Trauma Mon. 2016 Mar 8;21(3):e19299. doi: 10.5812/traumamon.19299. eCollection 2016 Jul.


Background: Stand-up paddle-boarding is an increasingly popular water sport; however no published data to our knowledge exists on the nature and type of injuries sustained in this sport.

Objectives: This study aims to describe the frequency, pattern, and mechanism of paddle-boarding injuries.

Materials and methods: Descriptive data of paddle-boarding injuries were collected using an interactive website-based, multiple-choice survey. Data were collected from May 2012 over a 6-month period.

Results: Completed surveys were obtained from 142 individuals, 20 paddle-boarders reporting 18 injuries and 122 surfers reporting 4 paddleboard-related injuries. Fifty percent of responding paddle-boarders reported an injury. For all injuries sustained paddle-boarding, sprains accounted for 50% (n = 9), lacerations for 22% (n = 4), contusions 17% (n = 3) and fractures 5% (n = 1). Seventy-eight percent of injuries were to the lower extremity, and 17% to the head and neck. Seventeen percent (n = 3) sustained recurrent injuries, 2 sustained 2 twisting knee injuries resulting in sprains, one sustained > 3 ankle injuries, resulting in sprains. Seventeen percent of injuries resulted from contact with one's own paddle-board, 17% from another paddle-board, and 5% from the sea floor.

Conclusions: All paddle-boarding injuries were sustained by individuals who surf waves on a paddle-board, rather than paddle on calm water. Despite concerns, paddle-board related injuries only accounted for 1% of 326 injuries suffered by surfers. We suggest equipment and practice modifications that may decrease the risk for injury and challenge the anecdotal theory that paddle-boarding injuries are sustained due to inexperience.

Keywords: Injury; Paddle; Surfing; Trauma.