Physiological and physical fitness profiles of elite South African surfers.
Patterson, Dean Kenneth.
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The present study profiled the fitness characteristics of elite South African surfers. Sixty-one surfers volunteered to participate in the study. Each subject underwent a maximal tests in order to measure peak maximum oxygen uptake, anthropometery, co-ordination, agility, balance, Wingate test, and isokinetic strength assessments of the knee and shoulder in extension and flexion, including shoulder internal and external rotation. Lung function measurements were also measured to assess the lung capacity of the subjects. The cardiovascular demands of surfing was high showing a peak VO2 of 54.9 (+SD=9.73) ml.kg-1.min-t, and a peak VE of 98.3 (+SD=17.8) l.min-1. Actual lung function results obtained by the subjects were greater than predicted scores for age and weight. Anaerobic scores were excellent for surfers as compared to other sportpersons. Balance and agility scores were excellent. Good strength ratios and values were obtained through isokinetic testing, both for the shoulders and the knees. The subjects showed an above level of fitness in all the measurements as compared to other water-based athletes. As a result the research showed that surfing can be best enhanced through the principle of specificity, and that the subjects engaged in this sport can be regarded as elite athletes.