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Adventure sports, risk, and human-more than human wellbeing: local responses to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of, and responses to COVID-19 has dominated discussion in every area of life, and fields of academic activity. In this paper I consider some of the impacts and considerations in relation to activities that have been conceptualised as adventure sports. My intention is not to show how adventure is being done differently, rather to use the exceptional circumstances of lockdown to highlighted the multifaceted, meaningful and affective ‘everyday’ experiences of those who engage in adventure sport as part of their everyday practices. My focus is empirical research conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand during lockdowns (2020-21) focusing on coastal communities and surfing specifically. This ‘journey through lockdown’ illustrates the ways in which coastal spaces are experienced as therapeutic landscapes that can foster physical and emotional health and wellbeing from those on the shore, to full-immersion activities such as surfing, influencing people’s sense of wellbeing, collective identities, and forms of belonging. However, in the same ways that COVID has exacerbated many health inequities, it is important to be attentive to the ways in which the wellbeing benefits of coastal spaces are not available and extended to all. A range of cultural, economic, socio-demographic, and political factors contribute to a dis-connect with, or exclusion from various bluespaces. Diverse subjects and bodies access and experience bluespaces in different and unequal ways, impacting who can use blue spaces, and how it can be used. Lastly, the lockdown situation was also informing in understanding the often-romanticised nature of adventure sport participants relationship with the natural world, and more widely how this translates, or not, to broader responses to our climate emergency.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Universidad Pablo de Olavide
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)