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Surfer’s Ear: The Cold Water Monster

If you’re blessed enough that all you surf is warm-water, tropical breaks, then Surfer’s Ear is probably not something that you ever need to be super concerned about. But for the rest of us who have to deal with cold-water, wetsuits, ice-cream headaches, and generally freezing our tushies off for the sake of catching a few waves, Surfer’s Ear is something you better be paying close attention to.

surfers ear

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Surfer’s Ear, aka Exostosis…

Surfer’s Ear is the common name for exostosis, abnormal bone growth, within the ear canal… …Over time irritation from cold wind and water cause the bone surrounding the ear canal to develop lumps of new bony growth which constrict the ear canal. The condition is so named due to its prevalence among cold water surfers. Cold water surfers experience surfer’s ear at about six times the rate of warm water surfers… …The condition is not limited to surfing and can occur in any activity with cold, wet, windy conditions such as kayaking, sailing, diving. Most avid surfers have at least some mild bone growths (exostoses), causing little to no problems. The condition is progressive, making it important to take preventative measures early, preferably whenever surfing.

A few weeks ago Transworld put together a really good resource on Surfer’s Ear. You should definitely check it out as it’s packed with tons of good info and links. Sometimes it just better to see it with your own eyes instead of reading about it. Thanks to the boys over at Surf Donkey, we can do that. They put together a little video series where Lance, who is actually suffering from Surfer’s Ear, visits the Doc who breaks it down on video in Layman’s terms.




Posted by Cameron on Friday, February 6th, 2009 in Surfing.

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2 Responses to “Surfer’s Ear: The Cold Water Monster”

  • hoon Says:

    thanks for the FYI.

  • nicawaves.com Says:

    bummer about the eardrum. i just had my surgery two weeks ago with Dr. Timothy Hetzler in Santa Cruz. they said i can get back in the water next week

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