The purpose of this study was to verify if competitive performance status was associated to different levels of specific aerobic fitness in Portuguese surfboard riders. Six recreational surfers (age: 32.3±3.1 years; body mass: 73.2±7.8kg; height: 1.75±0.05m) and six competitive international level surfers (age: 25±8.4years; body mass: 68.5±3.8kg; height: 1.74±0.05m) performed a maximal continuous incremental paddling test consisting of two-minute steps starting at 20W, with increments of 10W, for determination of peak oxygen uptake and maximal aerobic power. Ventilatory threshold and respiratory compensation point with corresponding heart rate and power output were also determined. Elite surfers presented higher values for peak oxygen uptake (43.6±7.9 ml.kg-1.min-1) than recreational surfers (31.1±7.4 ml.kg-1.min-1, p=0.01) however, there were no differences (p> 0.05) between groups for maximal aerobic power (elite: 76.6±18.6W; recreational: 76.6±16.6W). No significant differences between the power output at which ventilatory threshold or respiratory compensation point occurred but elite surfers reached ventilation threshold with 22.5±5.8 ml.kg-1.min-1 which was significantly higher than recreational surfers (16±3.7 ml.kg-1.min-1). These findings show that elite surfers have higher values of peak oxygen uptake than recreational surfers which suggest a higher aerobic adaptation that may be related to the different amount of exercise volume undertaken
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