A Historical Overview

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Feb 5, 2014 - Keywords: history; sport; mountaineering; surfing; leisure; Brazil .... Brazilian Yacht Club was created in Rio de Janeiro. .... habits of Ipanema.

This article was downloaded by: [] On: 07 July 2014, At: 04:57 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

The International Journal of the History of Sport Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fhsp20

Sport and Environment in Brazil: A Historical Overview a

Cleber Dias a

Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Av. Pres. Antônio Carlos, 6627 Campus – Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, 31270-901, Brazil Published online: 05 Feb 2014.

To cite this article: Cleber Dias (2014) Sport and Environment in Brazil: A Historical Overview, The International Journal of the History of Sport, 31:10, 1255-1266, DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2013.874339 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523367.2013.874339

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The International Journal of the History of Sport, 2014 Vol. 31, No. 10, 1255–1266, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523367.2013.874339

Sport and Environment in Brazil: A Historical Overview Cleber Dias*

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Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Av. Pres. Antoˆnio Carlos, 6627 Campus – Pampulha, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, Brazil

The objective of this article is to present a historical overview of the relationship between sport and the environment in Brazil. In this country, as elsewhere, the so-called adventure sports are among the main expressions of this relationship. In general, many of these sports claim a status of innovation and originality, sometimes challenging the conceptual parameters for the more common definition of sport. However, the construction of these imaginary is strongly influenced by a long historical process. Accordingly, leisure experiences in nature, in historical development since the nineteenth century, play an important role in the current allocation of the social meaning of extreme or adventure sports. Keywords: history; sport; mountaineering; surfing; leisure; Brazil

In the last two decades, the emergence of a set of sports practices claiming a new statute of innovation has been one of the main events in the world of sports. Under the name ‘extreme sports’ or ‘adventure sports’, there are practices that present themselves publicly as the latest craze. Here, we have sports and athletes who claim to have extended the criteria of the most commonly used definition of sport, to the point that the very practices of those belonging to the world of sports are questioned.1 In this article, avoiding conceptual quarrels,2 my purpose is to analyse the historical processes which have acted in this imaginary building of innovation and originality. How, when and in which ways have these sports been represented as innovative? Why are they currently being treated this way? What allows this retraction? While recognising that the current nomenclature, as well as the proliferation of these sports, is a recent phenomenon, there is an older historical development, which is essential for the proper understanding of their current meanings. Placing these events in history is precisely the aim of this article. For this, the article provides an overview of the historical development of adventure sports in Brazil. The first part of the article deals with what would be the ‘initial impulses’ of this development, that is, the beginning of the customary nature of seeking a place of leisure and fun. At this point, though the article is specifically concentrated in Brazil, it would be inappropriate to disregard changes in sensibilities towards nature which took place in Western modernity in general. Then, the article discusses the recent history of two important sporting modalities in Brazil, mountaineering and surfing, whose historical development is generally in accordance with the arguments that will be presented, and are highly conditioned by past events.

*Email: [email protected] q 2014 Taylor & Francis

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Initial Impulses Although some forms of ‘adventure sports’ have begun only recently, between the 1960s and 1970s, such as mountain biking, hang-gliding, windsurfing and snowboarding, it should be noted that other arrangements within this sphere had considerable historical development, long before. This is the case, for example, with mountain climbing, skiing, yachting or boating, which have been structured since the nineteenth century. Thus, even in the face of newly emerging modalities, their development is necessarily associated with a pre-existing structure of feelings. In other words, the contemporary advent of new arrangements will enter into a network of social meanings firmly established long ago. Paradoxically, these are the historical associations which will favour the representations connected with ideas of innovation, and even of breaking with the past. In other words, part of the reason why these ‘new sports’ may be represented in this way can be explained by the historical trajectory of a set of leisure experiences in nature, which are directly or indirectly related to these arrangements. The experience of designing and relating to nature as a potential place for fun is the first and most important condition for understanding the social meanings of these ‘new sports’. Accordingly, it is necessary to relativise the idea that the statute of innovation in these sports is linked to its contemporaneity. If this were so, other latest sports, such as handball, for example (created in 1919), should also be inserted into this chain of meaning. However, that is not what happened. Sports that are not articulated in a specific network composed of ideas and notions that are very well defined will not be publicly presented as ‘new’. This is an adjective that applies only to practices that involve some level of risk, with an ideal of adventure and, in most cases, which occur in natural settings, with representations strongly marked by subjective ideas of contact and interaction with nature.3 These are some of the conditions possible for the enunciation of speech about the originality of these new sports. It is in this sense that leisure in nature appears as an important determinant in shaping these modalities. The first well-organised initiatives to search nature for recreation date back to the eighteenth century.4 First, changes in the ways science and scientists were related to the natural world influenced the emergence of these new habits. The idea that man could know, track and classify nature provided a needed boost so that nature was visited.5 The possibility of aesthetic appreciation offered by natural landscapes was another major boost for this process.6 Forests, beaches, mountains and deserts are now seen as places of great beauty.7 More than that, each of these places represents an opportunity to isolate itself or approach these divine creations. In this process, being in nature is a prime opportunity for the exercise of self-knowledge, and to acquire a new sensitivity towards the natural world. These experiences provided a vocabulary, grammar and mode of perception that would shortly allow nature to be recognised and desired as a potential place for fun.8 It was not by chance that the popularisation of the sciences, such as botany, ornithology, geology and natural history, caused an increase in recreational visits to nature, spreading the study of stones, rocks, plants and animals as an interesting hobby for men and women of the nineteenth century.9 Romanticism was another important dimension of this process. It is not fortuitous that some of the key representatives of Romanticism had relationships, not with sport, but with leisure in natural environments. Rousseau is certainly the best example. Known as one of the heralds of the Romantic Movement, Rousseau valued quite the appreciation of nature. Part of the educational assumptions widespread in his famous work, Emı´lio, was the need

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to foster learning resulting from direct experience, which was largely concerned with the observation of nature.10 Contrary to some of the key elements that have passed the set of values from Western culture, the romantic spirit of celebrating outdoor life is in contrast to urban agglomerations. This was the pathos that would mark a powerful discursive structure that was intended to counter the dominant values. Accordingly, romanticism, as much as the experiences in nature, as interconnected phenomena, would present themselves publicly as elements of rebellion, indiscipline, criticism and opposition to order. Being in nature, or even more, being in nature in a romantic way was (and in some ways still is) a way of rebelling against civilisation, showing dissatisfaction before a culture and a way of life. The entire organisation of leisure in nature would be strongly influenced by this structure of feelings.11 First, the inheritors of this tradition, travellers and naturalists of the eighteenth century, often organised expeditions for the simple pleasure of travelling and seeing new places in nature. They reported travel to nature as an opportunity to acquire ‘simplicity, native feelings and virtues of wildlife’, possibly divesting themselves of ‘artificial habits, prejudices and imperfections of civilisation’.12 So updated, this is a narrative form that is present in extreme sports, conceiving of nature as spaces of transcendence, authenticity, contestation, trade with oneself and spiritual renewal. The place where these sports usually happen, in nature, will be very important for these symbolic bindings. Nature is supposedly outside the radius of influence of a civilisation which the romantic discourse intended to deny. Not surprisingly, many of the representations of these sports will be marked by contrast: on one side, pure and healthy life in nature, on the other, life decrepit, condemned and corrupt from the city. In an article from 1970, published in the newsletter of a Brazilian mountaineering club can be read one example: The man, who was martyred by the concerns of civilized life, needs to return, whenever he can, to the contact with nature. So he can vent his repressed energies. He will find again, walking in the forest, the balm that emanates from the fresh air, the green trees, the blue sky and disinterested friendships [ . . . ] Blessed excursionist activities that allow today man, asphyxiated by sedentary lifestyle and subject to pollution city, return to the purifying bosom of the nature [ . . . ] On top of the mountain, the contact with nature is the finest balm for the stresses of modern life.13

Quite similarly, a report published recently in a Brazilian magazine for surfing reflects virtually the same elements: Surfing helps people be happier. The act of surfing, or even to enjoy the waves, is something that sweetens life, relaxes and inspires. In the midst of this speedy and intense everyday life and frantic technology, happy is that one who can surf regularly, who can breathe the scent of the sea and the smell of sunburned skin. The act of watching the waves crashing, blue, perfect, as it helps us to calm the spirit.14

All this, in short, will compete decisively in the definition of social meanings of sports practiced in nature, including their usual form of representation as new, but also libertarian, contestants. Despite this rhetoric, these sports are not, in fact, absolutely a unique phenomenon in the sports field. Often, they include a segment of activities deeply marked by a long history. In Brazil, specifically, where the identification of a sports field more clearly linked to the notion of nature can be done only in the late nineteenth century or in the first decade of the twentieth century, and there will be a set of previously accumulated experiences that influence largely the extent of the shape of these activities. In the late nineteenth century, there was the use of boats as a way to spend free time.15 Those were the


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ways of entertainment linked to contemplation of the sea and the beach, something ‘related to a new aesthetic orientation, noticeable in the very development of models of contemplation of romanticism’, guarding ‘the contemplative journey towards the sea’, as Victor Melo said.16 In the early twentieth century, there was the appearance of the first traces of practices in nature clearly organised in a sporting spirit. In 1906, for example, the Brazilian Yacht Club was created in Rio de Janeiro. Shortly after, there was mountaineering, known at the time as hiking, which had its first organisation created in 1919. At the same time, it is also true that these sports radiated and widened significantly after the Second World War, especially since the 1960s. The way that these changes were seized and decoded is another determining factor in setting social meanings for these sports. Brazilian Mountaineering, the Different Sport By the early 1960s, Brazilian mountaineering witnessed changes that approached the cultural ambience that would be performing at the time. In Brazil, this process is presented as a kind of ‘sportivisation of mountaineering’. Jean Pierre von der Weid, who witnessed part of this process and starred in Brazil, speaks of a ‘moment of transition’ where ‘recreational activities and tourism gave way to sports’.17 In Brazil, until the early 1960s, mountaineering clubs were engaged in organising activities that were quite diverse, such as tours, picnics or trips. Slowly, however, the mountain itself, which has always ranked as one of the main activities of these clubs, was assuming an ever greater supremacy. At that time, it was clear that the tendency of some clubs was to organise more climbs and fewer recreational trips. In 1968, for example, the annual reports of the Centro Excursionista Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro Hiking Centre) and the Centro Excursionista Carioca (Carioca Hiking Centre), both in Rio de Janeiro, presented the final results of those activities: 182 and 178 tours, and 117 and 167 climbs, respectively.18 This time also saw the birth of the first initiative to formalise an institution to this modality in accordance with the templates, specifically sports, that is, a federation recognised by the agencies responsible for control of the sport in Brazil at that time, the Conselho Nacional de Esportes (National Sports Council, at Portuguese, CND).19 More specifically, it was the creation of the Carioca Federation of Mountaineering, whose intention was to make ‘the different sport’, as the modality was called in the newspapers, recognised as a real sport.20 This was an initiative that had been devised since the early 1960s, when it had already begun the first mobilisations. In 1963, consideration was given to the creation of a Carioca Federation of Hiking, which never happened.21 Shortly after, the idea was taken up by meetings, with the presence of representatives of the main hiking clubs of Rio de Janeiro. In mid-1966, a Carioca Mountaineering Federation was founded, but it worked unofficially. Thereafter, the main challenge was to make it an institution recognised by the CND. A series of meetings followed to discuss the project status to be sent to the CND. On July 29, 1968, its foundation was officially accepted. Aiming to ‘oversee the practice of mountaineering, promoting and spreading his character always amateurism and not competitive’.22 One of the main difficulties in this process was to prove that ‘mountaineering is actually sporting activity’.23 Accordingly, it is not surprising that, at that time, texts and articles appeared to reaffirm the sporting character of this mode.24 In addition, there were changes in the design and in the techniques of Brazilian mountaineering. All of this changed the values that guided their practice. The goal of

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climbing ceased to be just reaching the top of a mountain. Thereafter, it was sought to emphasise the climb itself. In other words, the belief arose that a major climbing was the very act of climbing, so that the way they went up the mountain became as important as the act of climbing. In Rio de Janeiro, as well as in Parana´ and Sa˜o Paulo, climbers went to the climb exploring other possibilities, like climbing from the outside of the mountain rather than from the inside, as was the habit. In the jargon of climbers, it was to climb the ‘chimneys’ (large cracks in the mountain) instead of the ‘walls’. A fair example of this process was the beginning of the dismantling of the ‘steel pathways’ – climbing routes that were supported through steel cables. Basically, two dynamics articulated by climbers led Brazilians to these new forms of climbing a mountain: the scarcity of slots and international influences. In mountaineering, climbing an untouched mountain or through a path never experienced before is regarded as quintessential of the sport. ‘Winning’ a new mountain, as the climbers say, is the supreme desired act of any self-respecting sportsman. But to the extent that the possibilities of untouched mountains were becoming extinct, new possibilities for the realisation of this pleasure were being contemplated. This is how the ‘walls’ began to be exploited. Instead of a new mountain, a path never experienced before. However, the beginning of trips abroad for Brazilians opened new possibilities for the ownership of new concepts. Books, magazines, movies or catalogues selling foreign equipment began to circulate more intensively in Brazil. With them, new models of sporting practice. The result was the slow emergence of a preference for climbs that offered ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ aspects. They began to highlight accomplishments that had ‘some danger’, and also allowed greater contact with the nature, that is, with the mountain. The aesthetic dimension of being able to enjoy the landscape throughout the climb was another element present, associated with the appreciation of the sensation of vertigo. All this, when articulated, meant that the sport was becoming more compatible with the sensibilities of the time, each time more concerned with interacting with nature and seeking experiences, than observing the presence of the sense of freedom.25 The process was intensified when the sport became more systematically portrayed by the press. Its progressive regular presence in wide circulation vehicles was favouring the spread of the sport to an audience that did not previously know of it. Accordingly, the realisation of ‘demonstrations’ was an initiative that was quite influential. In the mid-1960s, the climbers of Rio de Janeiro held descents of buildings, which were published on the cover of major city newspapers, highlighting the spectacular appearance of the events.26 According to a report: ‘It was a spectacular demonstration of mountaineering, which attracted the attention of thousands of people, who, excited, accompanied all the time the descending of the bold lizards, having almost paralyzed the traffic on the scene’.27 Over time, other similar realisations had such an impact and increasing coverage. New places for climbing were inaugurated with the presence of the TV, while it increased the involvement of climbers in achievements that attracted the attention of public opinion, such as the rescue of tourists trapped or the scientific explorations of caves and caverns. These episodes were always presented as good opportunities to arouse curiosity and excitement in the general population.28 In fact, these events served to make the sport less strange to the laity. As it was said, ‘In the city [of Rio de Janeiro], the demonstrations of security made in the spectacular climbs of tall buildings have served as propaganda and encouragement of mountaineering’.29 Similarly, international trips of climbers, such as Ricardo Menescal or Domingos Giobbi, also increased the space dedicated to the sport in the Brazilian press.30 This allowed the entire sports universe of mountaineering to be observed and known by a larger

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number of people. In a country where mountaineering was not among the most popular of modalities, its disclosure in the press was seen as an important stimulus. Domingos Giobbi was one of the founders of the Clube Alpino Paulisa (Paulista Alpine Club, 1959). Son of Italians, he split time between Sa˜o Paulo and the Alps of Lombardy, where he joined the Italian Alpine Club, making contact with the greats of the sport, including Ricardo Cassin and Walter Bonatti. In Brazil, in addition to founding a club in Sa˜o Paulo, he travelled regularly to the Andes where he made over 25 achievements (almost all in Peru). He gained notoriety in the international sporting networks and received several awards, including the title of ‘Academic of the Mountain’ award ‘desired by over 140,000 climbers of high caliber’, which placed him as part of the ‘elite of the worldwide mountaineering’.31 This position would also guarantee, in contrast, a more frequent presence in the Brazilian press. In addition to publishing articles in international specialised vehicles, such as The American Alpine Journal, Berge Der Welt, The Mountains World, Del Corriere and Andisnismo Peruano, Domingos Giobbi renumbered, occasionally, in newspapers such as Folha de Sa˜o Paulo and O Estado de Sa˜o Paulo and magazines such as Fatos e Fotos, Visa˜o, O Cruzeiro, Manchete and Revista Geogra´fica Universal. As a result, throughout the 1960s, it was noted that there was a sense of the popularisation of mountaineering in Brazil. At that time, the number of mountaineering clubs grew in Rio de Janeiro. In Sa˜o Paulo and Parana´, the sport was also organising and expanding. More than simply disclosing the fascination and qualities of ‘different sport’, these initiatives allowed mountaineering to be seen through an interpretive grid that already dimensioned it in a spectacular way, and accordingly, more appealing and attractive to the general public. Climbs were always presented as a relative novelty, performed ‘with another image’, ‘very difficult’, ‘crazy things’ and ‘fancy’.32 This form of representation strengthened a pattern of discourse that would consolidate as a kind of tradition. Therefore, even without being exactly new, and since mountaineering had been consolidated in Brazil since 1919 with the creation of the Centro Excursionista Brasileiro (Brazilian Hiking Centre), the sport was being presented as such. The Beach Bums Different from mountaineering, surfing was not only presented as a novelty, it would be an actuality. In the final quarter of 1930, three young men from the city of Santos, on the Sa˜o Paulo coast, created a plank of wood based on models provided by a foreign magazine, ‘Popular Mechanics’. These would be the first traces of surfing in Brazil. The initiative, however, found no effect. Just a few years later, already in the early 1950s, further evidence of the appearance of surfing in Brazil would be identified, this time in Rio de Janeiro, and unrelated to the events in the city of Santos. A group of young people began to slide up over the waves on wooden boards specially built by them, which would be known, due to their format, as ‘doors of the church’. This practice was not yet recognised by the name of surfing and its popularity was only relative. It was the group which was involved with these practices that started the organisation and diffusion of the sport. In the following years, this habit was winning the preference of young beach goers. At that time, Irency Beltra˜o, adept at amusements of the beach, a diving practitioner and member of the club of Marimba´s, presented the idea to a ship’s carpenter, who used to make repairs on the vessels of the members of that club. This woodworker, called Moacyr, managed to give some wingspan to these boards, improving the hydrodynamics. The upgrading of the boards allowed greater facilities for surfing, making handling easier and

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the practice more attractive, because from there, the level of skill and strength required would be smaller, ensuring more accessions.33 In the years 1962 and 1963, a carpenter began the more commercial manufacturing of these wooden planks. This commercialisation allowed more people to try the sport since, until that moment, only the closest friends of surfing fans could. Meanwhile, because of the possibility of public exposure, a group of practitioners began to perform a symbolic function, key to the spread of this practice. Bruno Hermanny, for instance, was twice world champion of spear fishing, which put him in a prominent position in the Brazilian sporting world. Since then, references to his name in news reports became common. Similarly, Arduino Colassanti, which was something of an icon of that generation, was seen as a symbol of beauty and behaviour patterns, and acted in the first productions of Cinema Novo, including being treated as the heartthrob of the movement.34 He was in Como era gostoso o meu franceˆs and El Justiceiro, films directed by the filmmaker Nelson Pereira dos Santos. In so far as circling with celebrities, he became one. On the big screen, he played the role of the big beach boy. Thus, the social position occupied by the members of the group of pioneers of surfing gave visibility to their habits. Amplifying the process, when surfing was gaining popularity, the agenda of Rio de Janeiro leisure coincided with the time when artists, journalists and intellectuals began the construction and dissemination of an important new symbol of the city: Ipanema. Musicians, filmmakers and journalists, mostly neighbourhood residents, gained prominence nationally. In the wake of this success, their habits protruded, that is, the habits of Ipanema. Some surfing practitioners were integrated fully with this broader movement. Arduino Colassanti is, perhaps, the best example. His participation in the films of Nelson Pereira dos Santos, his friendship from childhood with the musician Roberto Menescal, with whom he studied and practiced diving, and his relationships with Leila Diniz, Sonia Braga and other muses of the time are examples that show the juxtapositions of these networking relationships. Such juxtapositions had a great influence on the diffusion process of surfing, because the possibilities of having surfers transiting these spheres were decisive in giving it visibility, and linking it to the entire cultural ambience. Surfing eventually became a sounding board for the lifestyle that was produced and disclosed about Ipanema. Like Bossa Nova and the New Cinema, surfing was represented as something ‘young, daytime, facing the sea, and this solar spirit was of Ipanema’.35 From there, the improvised game was replaced by a hobby that was much more elaborate. Down and up the waves began to be called ‘surfing’. The ‘doors of the church’ began to be called ‘surfboards’. Its followers would first be the ‘boarders’ and then the ‘surfers’. Roughly speaking, this process corresponds to the frank incorporation of American influences in these habits. There were new materials, clothing and accessories, all marked by a certain Americanism. The popularisation of surfing was accompanied by parallel growth in the press dedicated to the new habit. In the beginning, reports about surfing almost never treated the practice as a sport, but as an eccentric and extravagant habit, a strange novelty on Brazilian beaches, and began to mobilise a growing number of stakeholders. In January of 1964, for example, the magazine O Cruzeiro reported: ‘There is something new under the sun of Arpoador – which this year takes features of Hawaiian beaches with guys sliding on the crest of the waves upon balanced boards. And the sport has English name: surfing’.36 Only with the institutionalisation of the practice, with the creation of a federation and the emergence of a whole range of sporting habits as their competition, the press began to


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treat it as a sport, but never failed to address the behavioural dimension as a lifestyle. During a championship in Rio de Janeiro in April of 1966, it was said:

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Surfing fashion was just launched in style in the weekend contest. Both girls and boys exhibited a set of colours, now part of surfing. For the coming summer surfing shorts and shirts with signs and wave designs are already guaranteed [ . . . ] The girls of the Surfing Generation were a complete success. Colourful and more relaxed than any other generation – the surfing girls were in all.37

The originality and innovative behaviours were emphasised in surfing. In the first Carioca Surfing Championship, held in September of 1965, it was said that ‘in a few months, the surfing proved that it will remain among us, it is a very attractive sport’. The organisation of these events appears to have facilitated the emergence of more curiosity about the new habit. ‘The public is not used to the surfing, but there are already those who go to the leaders and ask questions on how the trial is done’.38 Between the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the Cultural Revolution was underway, especially through the figure of the hippies, who would impregnate the symbolic universe of surfing, which appears to have allowed further accentuation of these modes of representation. In Brazil, the result of this approach was to replace the ‘surfing generation’, with the more discreet and restrained ‘cocota generation’ (something as ‘rick kid generation’) and the fancier ‘hippie surfers’. The habits of this generation, according to the imagination of the counterculture of the time, gained prominence in the media. This was done precisely because of their behaviour, which attracted attention by eccentricity. A hippie who always wore a straw hat and a Christmas ball hanging on the ear has become common, a folk figure on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Rituals, ceremonies and celebrations, such as ‘Welcome to the Sun Father,’ called attention to surfing. The surfers were protagonists of this new culture.39 The extravagance of these behaviours of the surfers contributed to them being viewed with a look of surprise. In general terms, the generational group obeyed a certain lifestyle, almost entirely connected to surfing. The clothes, recognised masks of status and social distinction, made them easily identifiable. Another feature was the use of ‘hang-ten American T-shirts, with two stamped feet as a trademark. Incidentally, in the world of “cocotas”, everything that is American is better’.40 It is from this world of possibility opened up by contact with North American cultural productions, as well as for the economic conditions of the middle class, that surfing was consolidating itself as something beyond a simple sport.41 In these terms, surfing was seen as a culture, a lifestyle that included a way of dressing, eating and enjoying life. Surfing was no longer just a sport to turn into something transcendental. As Octavian, the champion, says “surfing has a lot to do with the astral fucks. Surfing is yoga”. Vegetarian, macrobiotic as far as possible – especially when his mother does not forget to buy coarse rice in the “Casas da Banha” [supermarket] – Octavius, twenty years old, speaks of the waves as if they were entities to be worshiped: “A wave is a beautiful thing. It gives you without asking anything in return. You uninhibit yourself near it. In the wave you enter the Nirvana, wave is Zen, it is to walk walking, to do doing, that’s it, all right?”42

Thus, the archetypal figure of the beach bum, integrated with nature, given the esoteric, would be established in the repertoire of surfing images and would continue until the present day, being stereotyped as increasingly flagrant, extending to almost all sports practiced in natural environments: ‘They sleep early, elect simplicity instead of conflict, seek fresh air instead of cigarette smoke, drink carrot juice and love a ricotta filling between two slices of black bread’.43

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Final Thoughts The creation of imaginary and a set of representations about adventure sports, including the notions of ‘new’ sports, was made through the mobilisation of a particular discursive file that, among other things, conceives the experience in nature as possible transgression, rebellion and breaking with the order, and as a place of creation and potential advent of the new. That is why these sportsmen are so often marked by symbols such as non-conformity or unsuitability. In other words, the utterance of a discourse on these practices will admit, and sometimes stimulate, the formation of a linguistic repertoire linked to the idea of novelty. Thus, we see the media repeatedly report these sports in terms of ‘new’.44 The figure of these sportsmen, with its aura of hero, with their clothes and equipment being strange in the eyes of those who do not share this universe of references, is another aspect that reinforces its connotation as something new and different.45 Indeed, this distinctive costume ends up composing a set of situations which reinforces the portrayal of these sports under the formula of innovation. And as has already happened once, with cycling or rowing at the time of the appearance of these sports, its innovative dimension was oversized and repeated. None of that, however, should serve as a stimulus for us to fail to recognise that when dealing with adventure sports, we are facing an expression of the relatively new phenomenon of sports settings.46 Its relationship with discourses of ecologists, for example, constitutes, among other things, one of the facets of these new conformations that these sports will impose on the sports field in general.47 Accordingly, to say that the general lines of an imaginary sport in nature were already established some time ago is not the same as saying that the way these practices are organised today is identical, and shapes the sport as it was manifested in the past. On the other hand, it would not be appropriate to say that everything in this field of activity is new and original, reproducing, in a way, what Marshall Berman called the ‘mystique of postmodernism’, which he says, ‘strives to cultivate ignorance of history and modern culture and manifests as all human feelings, the whole expression, activity, sexuality and sense of community had just been invented – by postmodernists – and were unknown, or less inconceivable until last week’.48 All sports activities have always been in constant mutation, including extreme or adventure sports. Thus, these modalities, even when newly emerging, articulate with a network of historically constructed meanings. Locating these sports in the context of the historical development of sports in general is the same as saying that not every new sport will be a new sport. Thus, the establishment of a balanced equation between continuity and historical rupture depends on understanding its past and present in an articulate manner. In proposing that the principles of sports organization in nature were already well defined since the nineteenth century we are not denying the updates that the interface between sport and environment takes these days. Either we are ignoring the reconfigurations of the sports field. The central issue is that the elements of discontinuity, of rupture and of innovation must be analysed articulately with “structures of long duration”.49

Notes on Contributor Cleber Dias is Professor of Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), where he acts in the Interdisciplinary Post-Graduate Program on Leisure Studies. He has a Masters Degree in Compared History at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Doctoral Degree in Physical Education at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). His recent publications include Urbanidades da natureza: o montanhismo, o surfe e as novas configurac o˜es do esporte no Rio de Janeiro [Urbanities of nature: mountaineering, surfing, and new configurations of sport in Rio de Janeiro] (Apicuri, 2008) and Epopeias em dias de prazer: uma histo´ria do lazer na natureza, 1789– 1838 [Epics in days


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of pleasure: a history of leisure in nature, 1789– 1838 ] (Editora da UFG, 2013). His principal research interests include history of sport and leisure.

Notes 1.

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Ron Simiao, the founder of the X-Games (widely competitive event of extreme sports), discusses the possible lack of sports legitimacy when it comes to such practices. ‘When the X-Games started, parents and critics of the sport said that they were not really sports, they were not athletes’ (Ultimate X-2002). Internationally prestigious surfers, such as Kelly Slater and Mark Occhilupo, also report difficulties in being recognised as ‘real athletes’ (see Slater, A biografia de Kelly Slater and Occhilupo, Occy). There have been frequent academic discussions about the ability of these sports challenges to fit the current conceptual parameters of the definition of sport. Rinehart, “Alternative Sports”, for example, draws attention to the theoretical implications of the different nomenclature applied to these sports. In Spain, Javier Betran has discussed this problem (see Betran, “Dossier las actividades fı´sicas de aventura”), and in Brazil, there are also differences in this respect (see Dias, “Notas e definic o˜es” and Pimentel, “Esportes na natureza”). In 2007, the Ministry of Sports in Brazil offered a legal definition for ‘adventure sports’. According to Resolution No. 18 (9 April 2007), the concept of adventure sports, comprise the number of formal and informal sportive practice, experienced in interaction with nature, from feelings and emotions under conditions uncertainty about the environment and calculated risk. Conducted in natural environments (air water, snow, ice and land), as exploration of human possibilities, in response to the challenges of these environments, whether in demonstrations educational, leisure and income, under control of the conditions of use of equipment, training and human resources committed to environmental sustainability.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Andrews, The Search for the Picturesque and Dias, Epopeias em dias de prazer. Calafate, A ide´ia de natureza and Lenoble, Histo´ria da ide´ia de natureza. Cauquelin, A invenc a˜o da paisagem; Schama, Paisagem e memo´ria; Figueiroa, Silva and Pataca, “Aspectos mineralo´gicos das ‘Viagens Filoso´ficas’” and Bediaga, “Conciliar o u´til ao agrada´vel.” Corbin, O territo´rio do vazio and Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind. Dias, Epopeias em dias de prazer. Salgueiro, “Grand Tour”; Elliott, Daniels and Watikins, “The Nottingham Arboretum” and Thomas, O homem e o mundo natural. Gumbrecht, Elogio da beleza atle´tica. Dias, Epopeias em dias de prazer. Krakauer, Na natureza selvagem, 166. Boletim Informativo do Centro Excursionista Brasileiro, March/April 1971 (287), 15. Alma Surf, July/August 7(39): 142. Janes, Tieteˆ and Nicolini, Tieteˆ. Melo, “O mar e o remo no Rio de Janeiro,” 13 – 14. Weid, Horizontes Verticais, 37. O Globo, December 30, 1968, 4. For more information on CND, see Drumond, Nac o˜es em jogo. O Globo, August 11, 1969, 4. Boletim Informativo do Centro Excursionista Brasileiro, August/September 1963 (277). O Globo, August 18, 1968. See note 20 above. O Globo, February 23, 1970, 8b. Dias and Melo, “Leisure and Urbanization in Brazil.” O Globo, June 23, 1965, 1. O Globo, June 28, 1965, p. 2. O Globo, May 17, 1965, 4; O Globo, July 14, 1965, 4 and O Globo, October 21, 1968, 4. O Globo, January 24, 1966, 4. Ibid. O Globo, June 9, 1969, 4.

The International Journal of the History of Sport 32. 33. 34.

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36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49.


O Globo, November 15, 1965, 4 and O Globo, August 2, 1965, 4. Dias, “O surfe e a moderna tradic a˜o brasileira.” Cinema Novo was a movement of young filmmakers, many of them residents of the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, who tried to print a new aesthetic in Brazilian films. Nelson Pereira dos Santos and Glauber Rocha, among others, are among the most prominent names. Castro, Ela e´ carioca, 59. Bossa Nova is a musical genre created primarily in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, in 1950. Musicians, such as Joa˜o Gilberto, Tom Jobim, and others, creatively combined influences of samba and jazz. In the 1960s, the genre was internationally acclaimed. ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ is considered to be the most known Brazilian song, and has been re-recorded by over 300 artists of various nationalities. O Cruzeiro, January 18, 1964, 24. Jornal do Brasil, April 26, 1966, 18. O Globo, September 27, 1965, 6. Veja, March 7, 1973, 41. Veja, June 4, 1975, 52. Dias, “O surfe e a moderna tradic a˜o brasileira” and Dias, Fortes and Melo, “Sobre as ondas.” See note 39 above. Veja, February 3, 1982, 54. Bandeira, “Os novos esportes e a cobertura jornalı´stica.” Kiewa, “Reescrevendo o script hero´ico,” 150. Dias, Melo and Alves Junior, “Os estudos dos esportes na natureza.” Dias, “Esporte e ecologia.” Berman, Tudo que e´ so´lido desmancha no ar, 45. Dias, Melo and Alves Junior, “Os estudos dos esportes na natureza,” 93.

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