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Lenny D. Wiersma

Extreme sport athletes perform in environments that are characterized by danger, unpredictability, and fear, and the consequences of a mistake include severe injury or death. Maverick’s is a big-wave surfing location in northern California that is known for its cold water temperatures, dangerous ocean wildlife, deep reef, and other navigational hazards. The purpose of this study was to use a phenomenological framework to understand the psychology of big-wave surfing at Maverick’s. Seven elite big-wave surfers completed in-depth phenomenological interviews and discussed the psychology related to various stages of big-wave surfing, including presurf, in the lineup, catching the wave, riding the wave, wiping out, and postsurf. Big-wave surfers described a variety of experiences associated with surfing at Maverick’s and discussed several ways that they coped with its challenges. The results provide a greater understanding of the psychology of participating in an extreme environment.

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Anna-Liisa Ojala and Holly Thorpe

Action sports (e.g., snowboarding, skateboarding, windsurfing, BMX) have traditionally celebrated antiauthoritarian, do-it-yourself and anticompetition cultural values. With the institutionalization and commercialization of action sports over the past two decades, and the introduction of mega-sports events such as the X Games, and the inclusion of some action sports into the Olympic Games (i.e., snowboarding, freestyle skiing, BMX), action sport athletes are increasingly working with coaches, psychologists, agents, managers and personal trainers to improve their performances. In this Insights paper we consider coaching in action sports via the case of Finnish professional snowboarders’ attitudes to coaches. Drawing upon conversations with elite freestyle snowboarders we briefly present insights into their perceptions of the various positions of coaches in professional snowboarding before we offer suggestions built upon a Problem-based learning approach for coaches interested in working with action sport athletes.

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Stephen Seiler

Almost half of the record 98 events being held at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games were either not held 20 years ago at Lillehammer or have been substantially modified. The Olympics as a global sports event are not stationary but must adapt and evolve in response to changing demands, just as the remarkable athletes who are competing do. While the Winter Olympics program has steadily grown since Chamonix in 1924, the rate of development has greatly accelerated in the last 20 years. Three factors seem to be instrumental. First, the Winter Olympics program has become more gender balanced. Female hockey teams are battling for gold, and this year women will compete in ski jumping for the first time. Most Winter Olympics sports have equal numbers of events for men and women today, although female participation still lags somewhat behind. Second, many traditional events have been modified by sport-governing bodies toward a more “TV friendly” format. Time-trial starts have been replaced by mass or group starts. “Sprint” and team events have been added to spice up traditional sports like cross-country skiing and speed skating. Finally “extreme” sports like half-pipe and ski-cross have crossed over from the X Games to the Olympics, with some arguing that the Olympics need these popular sports more than the X Games sports need the Olympics. All of these changes create new research questions for sport scientists who are also willing to adapt and evolve.

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Emanuele D’Artibale, Maheswaran Rohan and John B. Cronin

. Perception of risk and attractiveness of extreme sports among Turkish university students . Hacettepe J Sport Sci . 2014 ; 25 ( 1 ): 11 – 22 . 3. Lippi G , Salvagno GL , Franchini M , Guidi GC . Changes in technical regulations and drivers’ safety in top-class motor sports . Br J Sports Med