The rapid emergence of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) as a global sport has caught the attention of Bond University researchers, who are keen to uncover the long-term health benefits of the popular water based activity.
Ten-time Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race Winner Jamie Mitchell and 2012 World SUP Champion Travis Grant are lending their time to the project, with researchers hoping to pin point what it takes to succeed in the sport at an elite level.
Recreational paddle boarders are also being invited to take part in the study, which will include involvement in a 10-week SUP training program.
Over the course of the program, changes in the health and fitness levels of the participants will be monitored, both on the water, and in the laboratory, through gas analysis, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose testing.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding – a hybrid of surfing and paddling – has experienced a massive swell of support in recent years and is widely described as the fastest growing sport in the world.
Lead researcher, Bond University Physiotherapy PhD student Ben Schram, said while advocates of the sport tout the use of paddle boarding to increase strength, fitness, core stability, balance and decrease back pain, the long-term effects are currently unknown.
“As a relatively new sport, there has been very little research done on the potential health benefits of participating in Stand Up Paddle Boarding,” said Mr Schram.
“Our intention is to put some evidence behind the anecdotal claims of fitness, strength and balance benefits and uncover what physiological changes can occur in the long-term.
“We will be investigating everything from its potential to combat the obesity epidemic and improve blood pressure, to its effectiveness as a rehabilitation tool for lower limb musculoskeletal dysfunction and back pain,” he said.
Mr Schram added that along with investigating the effect of the sport on various health parameters, the Bond research team would also be examining Stand Up Paddle Boarding from a performance point of view.
“As with any new sport, we are interested in what it takes to succeed,” he explained.
“Similar to the emerging research on surfing, investigation of the aerobic and anaerobic fitness, strength and balance required for Stand Up Paddle Boarding will provide an insight in to the physiological demands required to participate in this sport at an elite level.
“Determining the ideal physiology of the elite athletes in this sport along with tracking of training and events is knowledge required to advance this sport to the next level.
“With paddle boarding now growing as surfing did many years ago, an insight into this sport is beckoning to be discovered,” said Mr Schram.
Recreational stand up paddle boarders who are keen to take part in the study, should contact Ben at the Bond University Water Based Research Unit on [email protected]