The purpose of Surf Physio is to provide high quality education for surfers.

So You can keep Yourself healthy in and out of the water”.

The Vision of Surf Physio

In the future, I would love for collaboration with other surfers to connect and share their stories. I wish that we can inspire others who are recovering from an injury or illness to get back in the water.

I hope that you in turn pass on what you’ve learned with family, friends and other surfers.

Surf Physio Physiotherapy for Surfers Surf Injuries and Rehab

Hello, Kia Ora.

My name is Phil Watson.

I’m a Physiotherapist and Surfer from New Zealand.

I created the Surf Physio website to share my knowledge with the surfing community on how to keep a healthy body, mind and soul.

My journey began in 2006 with the cold water surf and icy winters in Dunedin, New Zealand. It’s where I discovered my passion for surfing and the joy found in helping people to recover from an injury or manage better their health conditions. 2010 I graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy.

After finishing my studies I began my search of a place to work which had beautiful beaches and amazing waves. I discovered that and more in Gisborne on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The local community of Surfers who always had good vibes and caught up with their mates in the water. 

I worked in the Gisborne Hospital and private practice for 5 years. Here I helped give back to the community by providing Physiotherapy services for all ages. I would hear stories of surfers who had surgeries or major traumas and helped them to recover their strength and mobility to get back in the ocean. 

Later In 2016 we moved to Upper Hutt, Wellington to be closer to family and raise our own family. From here we go for weekend surf trips to the Wairarapa or the town beaches to get some salt water therapy.

My Story

While travelling to Fiji in 2013 in my second session with 6 foot sets at a wave called Lambewa.
As I went to take off on my 3rd wave I realised I wouldn’t make the drop and tried to pull out the back. For my efforts I got sucked over the falls and hit the reef hard on my right side. Upon impact, I felt sharp pain in my ribs and back.
After I surfaced from the hold down I tried to gather the board and sprint for the channel. But the pain was immense as I could feel the pressure on my ribs with every stroke paddling. 
The next day I flew to the USA . I almost missed the flight  however as the Fiji Airways staff had concerns about my health  Fever had taken a hold of me and the pain in my ribs  made it hard to breath. I nearly fainted at check in but I convinced them to let me on to the plane. I slept the whole flight  and barely had the energy to get through customs at LAX airport.
After some time in the USA I flew down to travel  the coast of Mexico. I arrived in Pascuales, then La Ticla but in both places I attempted to surf  but the pain significantly limited me as I couldn’t lie on my surfboard  due to pain.  My only option was to treat myself. I found a large rock in Rio Nexpa, Mexico the famous left hand point break. I began to extend my back backwards over the rock. As I performed the exercise I began to slowly feel my rib pain reduce, thankfully!
I continued to improve over the next weeks I was able to lie on my surfboard pain free and enjoy the amazing tropical waves. Like this wave in Playa Colorado, Nicaragua with fun small sized tubes that day.
The experience gave me inspiration to help others acquire the knowledge they need to know to recover from their own injuries. I hope also that someday you might also inspire others along the way in their journey to recovery.

Learn More About Surf Injuries And Exercise

On this site you will find expert advice on injuries, pain, rehabilitation, exercise for surfers and more.
I would love to help you feel better, move better, and get you back to doing what you love most in life.


 Clinical Experience

Inform Physiotherapy & Pilates (2016-current)

Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Hip Pain, Knee Pain and Ankle Pain

Becoming a certified McKenzie Therapist

Pain Education

Gym Based Exercise Prescription

Functional Rehab


Active Physiotherapy Clinic Physiotherapist (2014-16)

Assessment and Treatment of Injuries

Education on Injuries, Pain and Rehab

Exercise Prescription

Return to Work Programs

Focus on Mobility, Strength, Power and Balance for Athletes



Gisborne Hospital Physiotherapist (2011-2014)


Medical & Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Surgical Ward

Rehabilitation Ward

Outpatient Physiotherapy

Community Based Physiotherapy


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