Retrospective Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Orthop. Dec 18, 2016; 7(12): 814-820
Published online Dec 18, 2016. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v7.i12.814
Windsurfing vs kitesurfing: Injuries at the North Sea over a 2-year period
Christiaan J A van Bergen, Joris P Commandeur, Rik I K Weber, Daniel Haverkamp, Roelf S Breederveld
Christiaan J A van Bergen, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Spaarne Gasthuis, 2134 TM Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
Joris P Commandeur, Department of Surgery, Luzerner Kantonsspital, 6000 Luzern, Switzerland
Rik I K Weber, Daniel Haverkamp, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Slotervaartziekenhuis, 1066 EC Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Roelf S Breederveld, Department of Trauma Surgery, Red Cross Hospital, 1942 LE Beverwijk, The Netherlands
Author contributions: van Bergen CJA designed and performed the study and wrote the article; Commandeur JP helped perform the study; Weber RIK and Haverkamp D assisted in the analysis; Breederveld RS supervised the study; all authors reviewed and commented on the text and approved the final version.
Institutional review board statement: The study was reviewed and approved by the METC Noord-Holland Institutional Review Board.
Informed consent statement: All study participants provided informed consent prior to study enrolment.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflict of interest to report.
Data sharing statement: The anonymized dataset is available from the corresponding author at
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Christiaan JA van Bergen, MD, PhD, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Spaarne Gasthuis, Spaarnepoort 1, 2134 TM Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.
Telephone: +31-23-2240000 Fax: +31-20-5669117
Received: March 27, 2016
Peer-review started: March 30, 2016
First decision: May 13, 2016
Revised: September 26, 2016
Accepted: October 17, 2016
Article in press: October 19, 2016
Published online: December 18, 2016

To analyze all windsurfing and kitesurfing (kiteboarding) injuries presented at our coastal hospital over a 2-year period.


Twenty-five windsurfers (21 male; aged 31 ± 8 years) and 32 kitesurfers (23 male; aged 29 ± 11 years) presented at our hospital during the 2-year study period. Various injury data were recorded, including transport to hospital and treatment. After a median follow-up of 16 mo (range, 7-33 mo), 18 windsurfers (72%) and 26 kitesurfers (81%) completed questionnaires on the trauma mechanisms, the use of protective gear, time spent on windsurfing or kitesurfing, time to return to sports, additional injuries, and chronic disability.


Most patients sustained minor injuries but severe injuries also occurred, including vertebral and tibial plateau fractures. The lower extremities were affected the most, followed by the head and cervical spine, the upper extremities, and the trunk. The injury rates were 5.2 per 1000 h of windsurfing and 7.0 per 1000 h of kitesurfing (P = 0.005). The injury severity was the same between groups (P = 1.0). Less than 30% of the study population used protective gear. Kitesurfers had a higher number of injuries, and required transport by ambulance, inpatient hospital stay and operative treatment more often than windsurfers, but these differences were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). The median time to return to windsurfing and kitesurfing was 5 and 4 wk, respectively (P = 0.79). Approximately one-third of the patients in each group experienced chronic symptoms.


Kitesurfing results in a significantly higher injury rate than windsurfing in the same environmental conditions but the severity of the injuries does not differ.

Keywords: General sports trauma, Extreme sports, Surfing, Epidemiology, Prevention

Core tip: To our knowledge, this is the first study that directly compares kitesurfing and windsurfing in the same weather and environmental conditions, giving a unique insight in the injuries associated with these sports. Kitesurfing resulted in a significantly higher injury rate than windsurfing in the same environmental conditions but the severity of the injuries did not differ. The presented results may assist the health-care professional and the athlete in taking measures to prevent injuries and in advising or choosing the safer sport.