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Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a rapidly growing sport and recreational activity for which only anecdotal evidence exists on its proposed health, fitness, and injury-rehabilitation benefits. Participants: 10 internationally and nationally ranked elite SUP athletes.
Participants were assessed for their maximal aerobic power on an ergometer in a laboratory and compared with other water-based athletes. Field-based assessments were subsequently performed using a portable gas-analysis system, and a correlation between the 2 measures was performed.
Maximal aerobic power (relative) was significantly higher (P = .037) when measured in the field with a portable gas-analysis system (45.48 ± 6.96 mL · kg−1 · min−1) than with laboratory-based metabolic-cart measurements (43.20 ± 6.67 mL · kg−1 · min−1). There was a strong, positive correlation (r = .907) between laboratory and field maximal aerobic power results. Significantly higher (P = .000) measures of SUP paddling speed were found in the field than with the laboratory ergometer (+42.39%). There were no significant differences in maximal heart rate between the laboratory and field settings (P = .576).
The results demonstrate the maximal aerobic power representative of internationally and nationally ranked SUP athletes and show that SUP athletes can be assessed for maximal aerobic power in the laboratory with high correlation to field-based measures. The field-based portable gas-analysis unit has a tendency to consistently measure higher oxygen consumption. Elite SUP athletes display aerobic power outputs similar to those of other upper-limb-dominant elite water-based athletes (surfing, dragon-boat racing, and canoeing).
Schram and Hing are with the School of Physiotherapy, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Climstein is with the Exercise, Health and Performance Faculty Research Group, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.