Surfing Bad No.12: The Serratus Anterior Muscle

After spending Christmas with a tracheal and lung infection I hadn't been in the water for weeks. During violent coughing I had torn the Serratus Anterior muscle on my right side. Yesterday the waves were nice, clean, 3-4ft and as the muscle wasn't bothering me much and my cough nearly gone I thought it time to get back out there.

With excitement and slight trepidation (the water has dropped a good few degrees since I was out last) I put on my wetsuit. The familiar wetsuit smell was like a kind of surfing aphrodisiac as I got ready, anticipation building by the second as I reaquainted myself with my surfing kit and pleasures of the routine. (As Mikey had correctly diagnosed: my current state was as that of a coiled spring.)

It was beautiful to have my board under my arm again and be pattering my way to the water's edge. I waded into the froth: the cold entering my wetsuit ran like electricity up my legs, furthering my excitement. I lay on my surf-stick for the first time in weeks and...

...couldn't paddle.

Absolute depression sunk through me as I realized the Serratus Anterior muscle is absolutely required to be in good nick for a spot of surfing. I battled (very) gingerly to the outside, taking it carefully, getting pounded because I was so slow. After finally getting out I took a breather, tried for one wave (which I just missed — I had no paddling strength) and returned to shore.

It was nice to know that I was warm; the modern wetsuit and vest/hood combo is a marvel. It was nice to be out in the water again. But the rest was just plain upsetting. And all because of a pesky cough.

Look after those Serratus Anteriors folks - they're a surfer's undoing.


  1. how much did it take to get better? I think the same thing happened to me today...

  2. I can't remember. I think I was surfing within the week but it wasn't 'better' for longer than that. It's always a balance with injury - I mean if the surf calls it's hard to resist even if you're not 100% isn't it!?

  3. Pulled mine recently falling of a bike. Gave it a week or two and went surfing but it was a strong offshore and had to paddle sooooo hard to get the drop I pulled it again. Waited another two weeks but pulled it again. Finally had to give in and have 6 weeks out of the water. Had a couple of light swimming sessions before surfing again on the bank holiday. Luckily it held up but it's still really sore a week later. Recovery time sucks when you're almost 40.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts