A recent study by the Sports Performance Research Institute in New Zealand compared the times of average surf sessions to the time surfers were actually engaged in surfing a wave.
The results were low, showing that riding waves accounted for only 8% of total time in the water. Other activities in the water measured included paddling (54% of time) and waiting (28% of time). Surfers in contests were found to have paddled close to 1 mile, on average, during their short time in the water.
For the full story, check out the story in Surfer Today: