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Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2298; doi:10.3390/su9122298

Exploring Critical Alternatives for Youth Development through Lifestyle Sport: Surfing and Community Development in Aotearoa/New Zealand

1
Te Huataki Waiora/The Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance, The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
2
School of Human movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leisure, Tourism, Sport and Community Development)
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Abstract

While competition-based team sports remain dominant in community and sport-for-development programs, researchers are exploring the value of alternative, less “sportized” activities such as lifestyle/action sports. In this paper, we explore the ways in which surfing is being used in development programs in Aotearoa/New Zealand, examining the perceived social benefits and impact. Our methods involved: (a) mapping the range of surfing projects; and (b) 8 in-depth interviews with program personnel. Widespread conviction in the positive developmental benefits of surfing was evident, and that surfing had a “special” capacity to reform or heal those who participate in it. However, the ways in which individuals’ self-developments were promoted appear to be following the traditional sport/youth development path. They focus on policies aimed at improved life chances, equipping youth with the tools for self-improvement and self-management, inculcating self-governance and self-reliance. However, a counter narrative co-existed, highlighting surfing as a freeing experience, which, rather than restoring social order, works to instigate a personal transformation or awakening. Despite the range of challenges presented by surfing as a tool for positive development, surfing presents a potentially “critical alternative” which if sport-for-development programs are to be a form of social change, we should remain open to exploring. View Full-Text
Keywords: surfing; youth development; sport for development; action sport; lifestyle sport; blue space; New Zealand surfing; youth development; sport for development; action sport; lifestyle sport; blue space; New Zealand
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wheaton, B.; Roy, G.; Olive, R. Exploring Critical Alternatives for Youth Development through Lifestyle Sport: Surfing and Community Development in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2298.

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