1st Edition

Nature Sports Concepts and Practice

Edited By Ricardo Melo, Derek Van Rheenen, Sean Gammon Copyright 2024

    This book represents the first international collection that challenges current thinking and research in the emerging field of nature sport. Owing to its inherent connections with fields such as business, leisure, health, tourism, and education, this emerging field has attracted perspectives from a wide range of  theoretical viewpoints – much of which are discussed within this collection.

    In simple terms nature sports refer to a group of sporting activities that predominantly take place in natural and rural areas. Participation can be both competitive and recreational, with the primary aim to work in relation to nature, where participants seek harmony rather than the quest to conquer it. Within this book, experts from around the globe consider the very essence of nature sport(s), including numerous practical examples of it in action, offering invaluable insights to those both familiar and new to the field. Driven by an increase in non-traditional sports, coupled with growing concerns about the environment, nature sports have experienced significant expansion and interest in both participation and academic debate.

    This book is a valuable resource for students and academics in fields such as alternative sports, alternative sport subcultures, sport philosophy, sport and social issues, ethics, and phenomenology. It is also a fascinating read for outdoor educators and practitioners. The chapters in this book were originally published as special issues in Annals of Leisure Research.

    Ricardo Melo, Derek Van Rheenen & Sean James Gammon

    Part I—Nature Sports: Concepts and Scope

    1.     Nature sports: a unifying concept
    Ricardo Melo, Derek Van Rheenen & Sean James Gammon

    2.     Nature sports: ontology, embodied being, politics
    Douglas Booth

    3.     Keeping it natural? challenging indoorization in Italian rock climbing
    Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto & Davide Marcelli


    4.     Nature sports: state of the art of research
    Amador Durán-Sánchez, José Álvarez-García & María de la Cruz del Río-Rama

    5.     Conceptualizing adventurous nature sport: A positive psychology perspective
    Susan Houge Mackenzie & Eric Brymer


    6.     Nature sports, health and ageing: the value of euphoria
    Ralf Buckley

    7.     Understanding nature sports: a participant centred perspective and its implications for the design and facilitating of learning and performance
    Loel Collins & Eric Brymer

    Part II—Nature Sports: Development, Impacts and Issues

    8.     Nature sports: current trends and the path ahead
    Ricardo Melo, Derek Van Rheenen & Sean Gammon

    9.     Climbing in Saxon Switzerland (GDR): a path to freedom in a socialist dictatorship
    Kai Reinhart

    10.  Managing the rock-climbing economy: a case from Chattanooga
    Andrew W. Bailey & Eric Hungenberg

    11.  Riding waves of intra-seasonal demand in surf tourism: analysing the nexus of seasonality and 21st century surf forecasting technology
    Leon Mach, Jess Ponting, James Brown & Jessica Savage

    12.  Beyond transgression: mountain biking, young people and managing green spaces
    Katherine King & Andrew Church

    13.  ‘I don’t want to die. That’s not why I do it at all’: multifaceted motivation, psychological health, and personal development in BASE jumping
    John H. Kerr & Susan Houge Mackenzie

    14.  Running away from the taskscape: ultramarathon as ‘dark ecology’
    Jim Cherrington, Jack Black & Nicholas Tiller


    Ricardo Melo is Professor and Researcher specializing in nature sports and sport tourism, and their contributions to local sustainable development in the environmental, economic, and sociocultural dimensions. Currently, he is also interested in learning communities, ecopedagogy, and the connection between leisure and education, especially education that takes place in nature.

    Derek Van Rheenen is a Critical Studies Scholar who uses sport to interrogate historical patterns of alienation, discrimination and inequity in schools and broader society. Adopting a critical pedagogy, his scholarship envisions sport as a potential platform for social and environmental justice. Much of his work focuses on the ways in which the intersection of nature sports and sustainability may foster a more just and healthy planet for future generations.

    Sean Gammon has been writing and researching in sport tourism for over twenty years – focussing on the experience(s) of the sport tourist and exploring the breadth and significance of sports heritage in generating tourism. He also continues to contribute to the field of leisure studies, where he is currently researching the health-giving properties of leisure states of mind.