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Matthew John Barlow, Joshua Rowe, Oliver Ruffle, Mark Davidson and John O’hara

Abstract

Purpose. To evaluate the anthropometric profiles of female surfers and to identify whether any anthropometrical factors might predict competitive ranking. Secondly, to evaluate the activity profile of female competitive surfing with respect to environmental conditions using Global Positioning System (GPS) derived measures.

Methods. Following institutional ethical approval, 31 female competitive surfers underwent anthropometric assessment (mean age: 20.49, s = 5.32 years; stature: 165.2, s = 4.8 cm; body mass: 63.0, s = 6.8 kg). A subsample (n = 22) wore GPS units during competition at four different locations with varied surfing conditions.

Results. The mean somatotype values of the surfers were (Endo-Meso-Ecto) 4.06, 4.15, 2.01. Significant correlations (p < 0.05) were found between the national ranking and triceps, medial calf skinfolds, sum of six skinfolds, body fat percentage, and sum of eight skinfolds. Percentage time sitting, paddling, and riding equalled 62.58 ± 10.18%, 30.70 ± 9.44%, and 6.73 ± 2.91%, respectively. The mean ride time, maximum ride time, total time spent riding, and total distance surfing were significantly correlated with the round of the competition. Furthermore, the number of rides, time spent riding, percentage of total distance surfing, and percentage time riding were correlated with heat placement (p < 0.05). Time spent sitting was associated with poorer heat placements (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. Body fat levels are associated with the national ranking in competitive female surfers. The number of waves ridden in a heat, the length of the rides, and activity levels were significantly related to heat placement and competition progression.