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




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, multiplechoice 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 paddleboarding, 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 paddleboarding injuries are sustained due to inexperience.