Surf injuries growing

Sally Marx with a spinal board at Mooloolaba Beach.
Sally Marx with a spinal board at Mooloolaba Beach. Warren Lynam

BODY surfers are being warned to be more careful or risk copping whiplash injuries.

Buderim chiropractor Alistair Lavery - a body surfer himself - said the number of shoulder, back and neck injuries he was seeing was growing.

Dr Lavery said body surfers and bodyboarders were also at risk of spinal compression injuries from surf breaks.

"Occasional visitors and tourists might be completely unaware of the way a particular beach break can rapidly change, and they may not be experienced at reading surf conditions," he said.

French bodyboarding website surveyed 3064 riders of all skill levels and found a quarter had had head injuries and another 16% had had back injuries.

Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club captain Lee Purchase said the beach was no better or worse than other surf spots, but care had to be taken.

"When conditions are relatively good, we might have next to no potential spinal injuries," Mr Purchase said.

"There might be one or two which could include dislocated shoulders and that sort of thing."

Lifeguard services manager Scott Braby said there could be "two to three" possible spinal injuries a week across the Sunshine Coast during peak times.

"Anyone who has potential injuries, we treat it as a worst case scenario with spinal board, neck brace and Queensland Ambulance to assist," he said.

Dr Lavery said chiropractors helped by correcting misaligned joints and vertebrae.

"Chiropractors can do a thorough examination when someone presents with a surf-related injury or pain," he said.



  • Check with lifeguards/lifesavers on water conditions
  • Swim between the flags
  • Avoid rips and white water in middle of a wave
  • Stretch before bodyboarding or surfing to avoid pulled muscles
  • If new to bodyboarding/surfing, take it slow

Topics:  beach chiropractor health injury spine surf

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