Energy System Interplay

And How it Applies to Surfing

Maui Surfers ripping sick waves

Interplay in Surfing

High-speed turns and leaps are short duration, high intensity activities that utilise the ATP-PC system.


As surfers run into the water and paddle out into the water, the anaerobic system is the choice for a higher intensity, but longer duration activity. This is also evidenced in general surfing.

In the recovery time between waves, the aerobic system takes over as the dominant system active.

Usain Bolt wins 200 meter sprint

The Interplay in a 200m Sprint

During the first 5-6 seconds of the sprint, ATP-PC system is the primary provider of energy, and is responsible for the maximal effort, and instant acceleration at the beginning.


Anaerobic glycolysis takes over as the dominant system of energy production for >80% effort after this point and remains the dominant system for the remainder of the race.


The aerobic system is pushed mainly to the background as an energy provider, but gradually contributes more as the race progresses.

A Guide To Water Polo

Water Polo

During general play where players do not have control over the ball, players use their time to take a strategic position, and recover using the aerobic system.

In small battles between players, anaerobic glycolysis will be the main contributor of energy.

For a shot on goal, maximal effort is requires, and the ATP-PC system is used for such efforts.