I just read “Windsurfing: An extreme form of material and embodies interaction?” by Tim Dant and Belinda Wheaton.
The main discussion is around the lifestyle and physical investment involved in Windsurfing, and whether it can be described as ‘extreme’. But the part that most interested me was about the physical engagement of the sport. the embodied physical capital, and bodily skill. “the control of the sailboard is wholly achieved by fine-tuning the orientation of the body to the object. At the highest level, all sports require a very high investment of physical capital, but with windsurfing () in order to participate at the lowest levels, the ability to achieve control must become virtually intuitive: it must happen without conscious thought so that the equipment becomes like a prosthetic extension of the sailor’s body.”
“the meaning of participation is articulated as the embodied performance of the activity, around the felt experience of doing it. The sport has a participatory ideology that promotes fund, involvement, ‘living for the moment’ and other intrinsic rewards.”
“The meaning of windsurfing for the participants is found in the body, in their creative and self-actualizing potential.”
“The motivation to engage in the action and the pleasure derived from engagement are linked to how the body has learnt to be in the world. this is indeed a cultural process in the sense discussed by Mauss as a ‘technique of the body’ (1973) that may be acquired through particular circumstances.”
“Rinehart and Sydnor (2003) have termed activites like windsurfing ‘expressive’ sports in contrast to what they see as the more reward-driven ‘spectacle’ sports, as they are rarely conducted for spectators or competitive practice, but rather emphasize the aesthetic realm in which one blends with one’s environment.”
this posting will turn into all quotes soon, but the thing that interested me is about the physical engagement in the sport, its aesthetic or expressing elements.
“Parlebas includes windsurfing in the class of sports that he labels ‘ludomotricité: that is, they are characterized by the pleasure achieved through the play activity itself (1999a: 225). the sorts of modern sport practices that he includes in this category are scramble-biking, hot-air ballooning, hang-gliding, surfing and white-water canoeing. they have, he suggests, a series of featurs in common: they take place in wild environments beyond social control and management; the subject acts as an individual and interaction with others is not essential; the locomotive force is external to the body, although the pleasure is in the motor and decision-making skill in relation to that force; they involve a visceral response to the normal mode of posture and movement which is thrown vertiginously into confusion (parlebas 1999a).”
These quotes speak directly to some of the things we were thinking about when we were using kiting in our work, to reference physical engagement with the world through the kite.