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Embodiment and Social and Environmental Action in Nature-Based Sport: Spiritual Spaces

This paper explores the interrelationship of space, the elements and the embodied experiences of water-based physical activity. It draws upon alternative forms of research and representation to draw out the embodied nature of the experiences in exploring the practices of windsurfing amongst communities of windsurfers. It proposes that ethnography and autoethnography can provide for unique insights into the embodied experiences of the life-worlds of ‘being’ in nature. These inter-related methodologies provide particular insights into understanding when the body, grounded through its senses, makes sense of and interacts with its natural surroundings. It argues that autoethnography may provide methodologies for understanding and analysing connections between personal embodied nature-based experiences, culture and nature. This paper brings into play personal experience in windsurfing and autoethnographies of other nature-based sport to uncover connections between body, affects, emotions and the senses as the body engages with natural elements. It engages with expressions of spirituality, as alternative to ‘flow’, and the speculative notion of kinetic empathy to propose the concept of body pedagogics as analytically useful in exploring social and environmental action in local and global spaces.