System Analysis of Kitesurfing: Understanding Performance and Injury Risk for On-water Board Sports
The interaction of the task, environment and the athlete are essential for the performance of on-water board sports. This licentiate thesis presents three studies and a system analysis with the aim of increasing the general understanding of the interaction between factors influencing performance and injury risk of kitesurfing. The studies report injuries related to kitesurfing (Paper I), sport performance and self-reported musculoskeletal stress, pain and discomfort (Paper II), and usability issues related to the equipment (Paper III).
The methods used were hierarchical task analysis, web questionnaires (n=206), interviews (n=17) and a focus group (n=7). The system analysis was based on ideas adopted from general systems theory, dynamical systems theory and ecological task analysis.
The results showed that the effect of kitesurfing performance on the athlete can be described through identified output measures, i.e. loads acting on the athlete, movement patterns, comfort, motivation etc., which variables are partly answered by paper I-III. Most injuries reported were caused by jumps and tricks and located in the knee or foot, followed by the trunk and shoulders. Musculoskeletal stress was perceived as high in the abdominal region, thighs and lower back. Knees and feet were areas reported subjected to pain or discomfort, together with the lower back. The equipment and environmental factors can contribute to injuries and discomfort while kitesurfing, and there are usability issues related to the management of kitesurfing equipment.
This licentiate thesis contribute to the understanding of which variables are influencing the performance and injury risk of kitesurfing, such as task goals, movement patterns, comfort and usability. Due to similarities with other on-water board sports, research on kitesurfing contribute to further understanding of this area. The information provided can serve as a basis for development of training methods and equipment for comfortable and safe performance.