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2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture
N

Nikolaus Dean

University of British Columbia
A Sociological Examination of Surfers’ Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Protective Headgear in Canadian Surf Culture
A Sociological Examination of Surfers’ Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Protective Headgear in Canadian Surf Culture
Surfing has been labelled a “relatively safe sport” by both sport sociologists and epidemiologists when compared to more “traditional” sports such as hockey, rugby, and football. However, despite these innocuous portrayals, studies have also found that head-related injuries account for a significant amount of all surf-related injuries. In fact, studies have found that head-related injuries account for over a third of all surf-related injuries. And yet, despite the high-rates of head-related injuries in surfing, the vast majority of surfers do not wear protective headgear. Noting both the high-rate of head-related injuries and surfers’ general reluctance to wear protective headgear, this critical, sociological study sought out to explore surfers’ perceptions and attitudes towards protective headgear in Canadian surf culture. To capture these understandings, the methods of participant observations and qualitative interviews were employed, and in-total, twelve experienced, male and female surfers from the West Coast of Canada were interviewed. The findings illustrated that surfers did not wear protective headgear for three main reasons, (1) due to the notion that they were “only falling into water” and did not need protective headgear, (2) due to the idea that protective headgear was uncomfortable and could hinder one’s performance, (3) and because of aesthetic reasons and/or the appearance of the protective headgear. By weaving together the collected data with Thorton’s (1995) notion of subcultural capital, the study demonstrated how larger socio-(sub)cultural factors appeared to influence the surfers’ rationalizations for not wearing protective headgear while surfing.
Wednesday, October 31
 

3:00pm PDT

8:00pm PDT

 
Thursday, November 1
 

8:00am PDT

9:15am PDT

11:00am PDT

12:15pm PDT

1:30pm PDT

3:00pm PDT

4:30pm PDT

5:30pm PDT

 
Friday, November 2
 

8:00am PDT

11:00am PDT

12:15pm PDT

1:30pm PDT

4:30pm PDT

5:45pm PDT

7:00pm PDT

 
Saturday, November 3
 

8:00am PDT

9:30am PDT

11:00am PDT

1:30pm PDT