Injury Prevention and Management of Pro Surfers

Injury Prevention and Management of Pro Surfers

With the rise of aerial surfing in free surfing and competitive heats; surfers like John John Florence, Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina who are elevating their air game to the highest heights are bravely putting themselves at a higher risk of ankle or knee injuries. John John Florence has already suffered from ankle injuries in 2014 and 2015 which have affected his ability to be among the world title race, although he has bounced back from both injuries strongly and surfed incredibly well on return. John John´s example is not only a testament to his resilence and talented atheltic ability but also the support of his family and medical staff who have assisted with his rehabilitation.


Injury prevention and exercise has become increasingly popular since Mick Fanning amazingly came back from an severe hamstring injury, which was surgically repaired in 2004 and went on to win the word title in 2007. Surfers more and more aware that keeping the body healthy and reducing injury risk are extremely important, especially for those who surfing is their primary job. An injury coud knock them out of contention for the Men or Womens´s WCT or WQS events and that serious implications on their chances of winning or requalifying.

Exercise, rehab and training can help to improve the stability of the ankle and knee joints and the reactive capacity of the tissues to respond to the stresses of rapid movements and forces from landing airs.

Of course, due to awkward movements and extreme forces injuries can still occur. There is always a risk that the unfortunate random events happen within recreational or professional sports. Thus, excellent rehab is essential for these athletes to get back to performing at their best; rehab is not only physically but mentally challenging too, fortifying and developing the traits of perserverance, motivation and desire to return to surfing in peak condition.


Notable surfers who have sustained injury in 2015:


Men´s Championship Tour

Jordy Smith (Knee meniscus injury at Western Australia, missed Fiji, Back injured at J-bay missed Tahiti, Trestles, USA, France, Portugal and Pipe, Hawaii)

John John Florence (High ankle sprain from landing an air in free surf, missed 2 events Fiji)



Michel Bourez (3 Fractures in fingers, Back Injured at Teahupo´ missed 2 events Rio Pro, Brazil and Fiji)  Bourez Injured at Teahupoó


Matt Banting (Knee Injured at Jbay on landing an air, Missed 6 events Fiji, Tahiti, USA, France, Portugal and Hawaii) Banting Injury Report


Brett Simpson (Back, injured at Huntington, USA missed 1 event Fiji)


Jeremy Flores (Face and cranium from falling onto reef missed J-Bay, South Africa)

Dusty Payne (Back injury, missed Portugal Pro)


Women´s Championship Tour

Stephanie Gilmore a left knee injury she suffered during a freesurf at the Margaret River, Western Australia. Missed 5 events (Brazil, Fiji, Huntington and Trestles, USA, Portugal)


Sally Fitzgibbons perforated ear drum at Fiji, surfed incredible that event with protective taping and padding



I really feel this is an excellent video on Courtney Conologue and her road to recovery.

Things to note is her outlet of her love for making art and spending time in gardens for her emotional and mental well being, and also long distance paddling on a surf ski for her physical and mental well being too.


Previous notable injury recoveries include: Owen Wright (Back), Dusty Payne (Ankle, Knee MCL and ACL), Courtney Conolgue (Ankle)

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