I just push through the barriers because I live for surfing: how women negotiate their constraints to surf tourism

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Fendt, L & Wilson, E 2012, 'I just push through the barriers because I live for surfing: how women negotiate their constraints to surf tourism', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 4-18.

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Surf tourism is a rapidly growing sector, involving millions of surfers travelling both domestically and internationally. Surf tourism has also experienced an upswing in female participation. The purpose of this paper is to explore how active female surf tourists negotiate any constraints they may face in participating in surfing, and in their surf travel. Employing a qualitative, interpretive approach, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 female surfers to explore how they negotiated such constraints. What was evident was that personal, socio-cultural and practical constraints limited these women prior to or during their engagement in surfing and surf-related travel. Through thematic analysis, this study found that women negotiate their constraints in three key ways: by maintaining a positive attitude towards all aspects of surf tourism; by thorough planning and preparing for their surf tourism, and through being passionate about surfing and surf travel. Most importantly, it was evident that the negotiation of constraints revolved around an ‘it's worth it’ attitude. Moreover, a desire for challenge and being pushed out of their comfort zone was identified. These results are discussed with regard to existing negotiation theories focusing on women's resistance to leisure constraints. The findings show similarities to women's negotiation strategies in adventure and solo travel contexts, but also challenge previous assumptions that constraints can only be negotiated with non-participation. Furthermore, this research has confirmed more recent assumptions that the successful negotiation of constraints can also act as an enhancement of the tourism experience.

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