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July 10, 1967

Surfer's Nodules and Other Complications of Surfboarding

Author Affiliations

From the University of California. Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1967;201(2):134-136. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130020080025

THE BEACHES of southern California have become the homesite of the most exciting aquatic sport reintroduced in this century. More than 250,000 surfboards were sold in the world in 1966, with an estimate of more than 300,000 surfers on the Pacific coast of southern Califorina, as noted by R. Van Cleve (oral communication, February 1967).

In addition to frequent lacerations, with occasional fatal outcome, surfboard trauma has produced an unusual collection of nodules, knots, and indolent skin ulcers, as well as osseous changes, of particular interest to the physicians of the West Coast. Personal observations of 500 veteran California surfers, who enjoy the sport once to twice weekly, indicate that nodules develop in 80%. Minor ulcerations occur in 75% of these surfers at one time or another, with 10% of the ulcers becoming chronic and indolent. It is estimated that more than 20,000 injuries occurred on the 12 major surfing