Surf Medicine


November 10th 2020

5:00PM - 6:00PM EST

Surf Medicine: Waves, Saves & Wipeouts: Making a Splash in Sexism

Dr. Candice Myhre

Surf Medicine: Waves, Saves & Wipeouts: Making a Splash in Sexism


Fun Video From the Speaker


I am actually from Kaneʻohe, Oahu and am a current first year medical student interested in Emergency Medicine. I really want to come home to practice after I finish school and I was wondering what the work environment as a ER physician in Hawaiʻi is like.

I did locums in Hawaii on Maui, Big Island and Kauai for 2 years before I moved to Kauai. I love the remoteness of the garden island and the natural beauty. On a plus side the ER is sleepy at night and as an ER doctor who has to do nightshift this is plus since you get to sleep a few hours usually. Never agree to 24 hours shifts I did those for 2 years and they almost took me out. Also Hawaii life is so much better for recreation on your days off. I lived in LA most of my life and it is now impossible with traffic to surf and ski in the same day, drive to the desert in under 5 hours or Mexico for that matter. On Kauai there are mountains, desert and beaches all within 1 hour. Most importantly is the patient population. I left LA because there were more fuck yous than thank yous and the ER population was mostly criminals, psych and homeless. I was saving the people who survived because of me instead of Darwin taking them out. Obviously I help all people but I wanted to take care of a more diverse family oriented culture and check on my patients when I ran into them at Cosco.

What are the most common surf related illnesses that could be avoidable and should be on our minds when surfing abroad?

Heat stroke and sunburn is huge, especially near the equator where the Mentawais are located. I got torched before there were surf leggings. I only wear a full body spf suit now. Malaria is huge and very avoidable with prophylaxis. Infected wounds, I tell all surf tourists to lube up with topical antibiotics before sleep and when they wake up.

How often do you see blunt force head trauma in surf injuries? What is the treatment and management plan for surfing-related concussions (i.e. follow-up with patients on post-concussion syndrome)?

I see head trauma about once a year from surfing. I have seen concussion with repetitive questioning which resolved, deep lacerations from surf fins to the scalp. Surf helmets are finally coming into vogue and should be worn over fast shallow waves such as Cloudbreak in Fiji. Honestly prevention is the best like not surfing at low tide. Concussion takes time to heal, there really is no way to fix it once your head get shaken like a coconut. There is only surgical treatment for brain bleeds.

Do you get to surf yourself while you go on a trip as a surf doctor?

I surf my brains out. If someone is hurt, they come find me. I surf about 4-6 hours a day unless I have a long suture repair or other time consuming case but those are rare!

What is the scariest injury you have seen during your time as a surf doctor?

When a snorkeler was hit by a boat while I was surfing. I thought she had been bit by a shark and when I paddled up to her I found her to have had a scalp laceration, fractured scapula, humerus, clavicle, hemopneumothorax, open femur fracture and I had to take care of her for 24 hours in an underdeveloped country.