Alternative sports are increasingly gaining a foothold among young people worldwide. Skateboarding surfing and parkour have experienced rapid growth due to media coverage, athlete sponsorships, technological advancements in equipment as well as participants wanting to model pro-environmental and pro-social behaviors. Though skateboarding and surfing have existed for long time now, both have gained momentum over recent years; particularly skateboarding due to its accessibility and low costs as well as adaptability in urban environments more easily than surfing which requires access to bodies of water.
Alternative sports have experienced tremendous growth thanks to increased media attention and events such as the X Games. Furthermore, companies such as Nike and Red Bull sponsor athletes in these sports, further expanding their exposure and reaching a wider audience. Finally, technological advances have made participation easier; skateboards for instance have evolved from heavy boards with rigid wheels and attached bindings into lighter more maneuverable models suitable for use across concrete, grass, and snow surfaces.
Alternative sport subcultures often exhibit characteristics of autonomy and resistance to outsider definitions of their cultures, and strive to keep control of their sports even as they become commercialized. Studies of such subcultures have focused on issues related to identity, membership and cultural production; for instance in skating sociologists have explored how skateboarders use city spaces while creating new meaning in those locations; other scholars have evaluated their role in reclaiming abandoned city streets and shaping urban planning through their actions.
While these sports continue to gain in popularity, mainstream society still views them as fringe activities. Furthermore, some participants view participating in commercialized versions as selling out; regardless of such perceptions however, these sports continue to gain ground thanks to participant owned businesses that market equipment and apparel, host contests and demonstrations as well as produce videos of performances by athletes.
Parkour, an extreme sport combining gymnastics, running and balance elements. Recently it has gained global momentum due to the success of French athlete Sebastien Foucan; teaching is now taking place at school gymnasiums as well as private parks across America – even being made available through online videos and clinics!
Although parkour is traditionally associated with men, more girls are beginning to participate due to female coaches and clinics available to them. Furthermore, more girls are choosing Parkour due to its potential positive social impacts in their lives.
Louise Toorock of Streetsboro, Ohio finds parkour irresistible because it can be practiced virtually anywhere. She and Emmitt Toorock, 9, attend weekly parkour classes at a gym before using playgrounds in their neighborhood as training sites. According to Toorock, anyone familiar with gymnastics or rock climbing has enough coordination skills to pick up this sport quickly.