How Surfski Equipment Tweaks can Reduce Injuries Part 1
For my whole life I have been injury resistant. But sadly that all changed when I hit my late thirties and I started rolling from one injury to the next. I started paddling for something to do while recovering from a MTB injury. After a 2 year grace period, the paddling injuries started to show up and it’s been quite a journey since then. Being analytical in nature and having a sports medicine back ground, I got to work fixing the problems. In this 3 part series we will be taking a look at the ski, the paddle and the seating position.
Principally, being right handed, I struggle with injuries to my right arm,. Everything from tendons in my fingers and wrist to tennis elbow and rotator cuff issues in my shoulder. There are so many factors involved in injury prevention and management that there is no way I can cover them all here. But I want to take a look at basic equipment selection and manipulation as a means to managing injuries.
My shoulder has been the most troubling issue. Carrying my heavy ski on windy days really placed a tremendous strain on the shoulder and I am convinced that this where my rotator cuff injury first got a foot hold. This, combined with the extra load of paddling a heavy ski, really gave my shoulder a hard time. As part of a complex recovery process, I took the plunge and and bought a light boat to see what impact it would have. Initially I was not convinced that the reduced weight made any difference at all, until I was forced to go back to my heavy ski while the light one was in for repairs. Almost immediately my shoulder started complaining again. The load of having to constantly accelerate the ski over waves or into runs was just too much. This is probably less of an issue for naturally stronger paddlers but for me it has a tremendous effect. Tell your spouse you need a lighter boat for medical reasons! Perhaps the money saved at the physio can be used to justify the more expensive ski?
In part 2 we will have a look at the most important piece of kit when it comes to injuries, the paddle. Leave your email address in the right hand panel on this page to get part 2 delivered straight to your inbox, hot off the press.