1st Edition

The Professionalization of Action Sports The Changing Roles of Athletes, Industry and Media

Edited By Guillaume Dumont, Holly Thorpe Copyright 2023
    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    Action sports have undergone dramatic growth, commercialization, and institutionalization over recent decades. This book uncovers the social, political, economic and organizational dynamics of their professionalization.

    After sketching some of the main transformations at stake in the field, the contributors provide novel insights into the changing structures in the action sports industry and the effects on athletes, coaches, agents and the cultures more broadly. Such trends came to the fore in the inclusion of surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and BMX freestyle into the Tokyo Olympic Games. The book explores the working lives of action sports athletes, more specifically when it comes to their social media practices and the commercial pressure emerging from sponsors, and it also provides key insights into the institutionalization and professionalization of action sports amid ongoing processes of globalization, commodification and incorporation. Overall, the book reveals how different action sports (i.e., snowboarding, surfing, kiteboarding, parkour, climbing, skateboarding), and across countries, are at various stages in the professionalization process, with local, national and international responses and reactions to such trends differing considerably.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Sport in Society.

    1. The professionalization of action sports: mapping trends and future directions 
    Holly Thorpe and Guillaume Dumont 
    2. Dual governance structures in action sports: institutionalization processes of professional snowboarding revisited 
    Anna-Maria Strittmatter, Boris Kilvinger, Annika Bodemar, Eivind Å. Skille and Markus Kurscheidt 
    3. Organizational evolution and the Olympic Games: the case of sport climbing 
    Mikhail Batuev and Leigh Robinson 
    4. The gendered emotional labor of male professional ‘freesurfers’ digital media work 
    Clifton Westly Evers 
    5. Young Dutch commercially sponsored kite surfers: free as a bird? 
    Froukje Smits 
    6. The glocalization of parkour: a New Zealand/Aotearoa case study 
    Damien Puddle, Belinda Wheaton and Holly Thorpe 
    7. Professionalisation of action sports in Australia 
    Eva M. M. Ellmer and Steven B. Rynne 


    Guillaume Dumont is Assistant Professor at OCE Research Center, emlyon Business School, France. He is the author of Professional Climber: Creative Work on the Sponsorship Labor Market (2018), exploring ethnographically the working lives of professional rock climbers in North America and Europe.

    Holly Thorpe is Professor of Sociology of Sport and Physical Culture at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She is the author of Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice (2011) and Transnational Mobilities in Action Sport Cultures (2014), and co-author of Action Sports and the Olympic Games: Past, Present, Future (2021).