Surfers' ankles put to the test in UOW study

Professional surfer Nicholas Squiers is one of the first to participate in a study on ankle strain. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Professional surfer Nicholas Squiers is one of the first to participate in a study on ankle strain. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Competitive surfers fitted with high-tech sensors are flying onto crash mats at the University of Wollongong as part of a study into aerial surf moves and ankles.

The study, by exercise science honours student James Forsyth, is aimed at finding out whether ankle stiffness affects the way surfers land their aerial moves.

The findings could lead to better strength programs and stretching advice for competitive surfers.

Mr Forsyth said while there was evidence to support such programs in other sports, there had been little need for research into surfing until relatively recently, as the sport placed increasing value on aerial moves - and increasing strain on ankles.

"Airs have become a lot more popular in surfing in the last five to 10 years," 24-year-old Mr Forsyth said.

"If you can add an aerial to your repertoire you can increase the average score of your wave by about two points out of 10."

Professional surfer Nicholas Squiers is one of the first participants in the study, which aims to recruit 40 volunteers.

Participants have small, wireless sensors stuck to their skin to measure how their muscles are "firing" before, during and after landing.

Moves are performed on a trampoline and crash mat rather than in the water, to spare the equipment from damage.

Mr Squiers has injured both ankles while landing aerial moves in the surf in the past.

Competitive surfers able to perform aerial moves are invited to contact Mr Forsyth on 4221 4480.

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