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Lenny D. Wiersma

Extreme sport athletes perform in environments that are characterized by danger, unpredictability, and fear, and the consequences of a mistake include severe injury or death. Maverick’s is a big-wave surfing location in northern California that is known for its cold water temperatures, dangerous ocean wildlife, deep reef, and other navigational hazards. The purpose of this study was to use a phenomenological framework to understand the psychology of big-wave surfing at Maverick’s. Seven elite big-wave surfers completed in-depth phenomenological interviews and discussed the psychology related to various stages of big-wave surfing, including presurf, in the lineup, catching the wave, riding the wave, wiping out, and postsurf. Big-wave surfers described a variety of experiences associated with surfing at Maverick’s and discussed several ways that they coped with its challenges. The results provide a greater understanding of the psychology of participating in an extreme environment.

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Christine L. LaLanne, Michael S. Cannady, Joseph F. Moon, Danica L. Taylor, Jeff A. Nessler, George H. Crocker and Sean C. Newcomer

Participation in surfing has evolved to include all age groups. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether activity levels and cardiovascular responses to surfing change with age. Surfing time and heart rate (HR) were measured for the total surfing session and within each activity of surfing (paddling, sitting, wave riding, and miscellaneous). Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) was also measured during laboratory-based simulated surfboard paddling on a modified swim bench ergometer. VO2peak decreased with age during simulated paddling (r = –.455, p < .001, n = 68). Total time surfing (p = .837) and time spent within each activity of surfing did not differ with age (n = 160). Mean HR during surfing significantly decreased with age (r = –.231, p = .004). However, surfing HR expressed as a percent of age-predicted maximum increased significantly with age. Therefore, recreational surfers across the age spectrum are achieving intensities and durations that are consistent with guidelines for cardiovascular health.