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Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230


Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230

Risk and adventure are two important elements that determine the nature of a person’s experience when participating in recreation and tourism. A risk is the chance that any hazard (for example; an overhanging branch, lack of skills in the activity, fast-flowing water, lack of appropriate equipment) will actually cause somebody harm (WorkSMART, 2002). Adventure is the participation in an exciting and perhaps unusual venture which has an uncertain outcome (, 2011). The focus of this piece is on what the nature of the recreation/tourism experience becomes in the mind of the participant when the elements of risk and adventure are combined with the participants skill level. A typology will be used to help explain the nature of the experience across all different skill levels whether they have too much skill or do not have enough. This typology will be related or explained using other well-known adventure and risk theories, and can be used to predict the nature of an experience for a participant whether the adventure recreation or tourism activity is sea kayaking, mountain biking, rock-climbing or another type of adventure activity.

In this stage the activity presents minimal risks and feelings of adventure for the participant. It is common that people whose skill level far exceeds the ‘challenge’ of the activity generally experience feelings of relaxation (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), maybe even boredom or apathy rather than feelings of adventure. The reason being, the task is easily achievable and therefore the outcome is pre-determined rather than being a mystery. My opinion Dan Osman (pictured on the cover page) is a solo rock-climbing legend with skills that are trained to perfection and natural to his genetic build. For the average beginner climber who is rock-climbing with a rope as protection, a grade 20 is where things start to get really challenging and nerve racking. Whereas, Osman climbs faces graded at 27 without a rope, so to him climbing a grade 15 cliff-face with a rope and harness is ‘child’s-play’. In those circumstances I would imagine him getting perhaps bored, feeling like it’s a waste of his time, and/or just being real relaxed about it and exploring different routes and techniques. The opinion of other theories:


Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230  In a visual model of Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow theory’ (1990), a high skill level in the participant paired with a low challenge level encourages feelings of relaxation. In Priest’s (1990) ‘Adventure Experience Paradigm’ a high skill level in the participant paired with a low challenge level encourages “exploration and experimentation”. In relation to Lipscombe’s (2005, p.45) ‘Risk & Adventure Spectrum’ I would classify this stage as being at the ‘soft’ end of the spectrum. This would mean the participant has low psychological involvement, the experience to them is novel and social, that there is low skill required and that the risks are controlled. In relation to Mortlock’s (1984) ‘Four Stages of Adventure’ this stage would be classified as ‘play’.

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This experience is the preferred experience for those motivated by the need to “escape routine or seek recreational opportunities” (Iso-Ahola, 1989) as they are keen to experience slight risk and aspects of adventure. My opinion The reason why risk and adventure start to show some presence in this stage is because one, skills are actually necessary to safely complete the activity which means some responsibility on behalf of the participant; and two, the outcome is not certain because the risks are increased. This stage is on the edge of the participant’s comfort zone but it’s not enough for them to experience “self-actualisation” (Maslow, 1943), the “peak experience” (Maslow, 1964), “peak adventure” (Priest, 1990), “flow” (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) or “frontier adventure” (Mortlock, 1984), which are theoretical terms to explain when someone reaches their full potential whilst participating an adventure activity. That kind of experience is definitely present in Stage 3 of the typology which will be explained further in that section. The opinion of other theories:  In Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) visual model of ‘Flow Theory’ this stage, when skill level equals challenge level, is when a participant would experience ‘flow’ but only if the skill level is high and the challenge level is high. However, if the skill level is low and so is the challenge level then the participant would experience ‘apathy’ which is conflicting to my opinion of stage 1 being when a participant would experience apathy.  In relation to Priest’s (1990) ‘Adventure Experience Paradigm’ they would relate this stage to “peak adventure” which is basically the same opinion as Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi’s – also conflicting with my opinion.  Mortlock’s (1984) ‘Four Stages of Adventure’ expresses this stage as being ‘adventure’ which supports my opinion.


Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230

This stage presents medium to high levels of risk and increased feelings of adventure because skill level is below what is required meaning the person may or may not achieve the activity safely. My opinion This stage is where a participant is forced to reach their full potential to ensure they get through the activity without injury or even death. They are pushed outside of their comfortzone enough so they have to push thoughts of fear from their mind to be able to focus on the task. This is known theoretically as experiencing ‘peak adventure’ (Priest, 1990), ‘peak experience’ (Maslow, 1964), ‘flow’ (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), ‘selfactualisation” (Maslow, 1943) and ‘frontier adventure’ (Mortlock, 1984). The opinion of other theories:  According to Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) ‘flow theory’ this stage encourages feelings of worry and arousal at the same time. This is a fair opinion as Swarbrooke (2003) believes that when experiencing ‘adventure’ it is common to feel contrasting emotions toward participation in the activity and this is definitely classified as an adventure. From my own experiences, contrasting emotions are regular occurrences when I participate in challenging adventure activities. Although ‘flow’ theory relates more to stage 2 than to this stage in his opinion, I will explain the elements of the theory that I believe relate more to this stage. ‘Flow’ experiences are characterised by “clear goals; the merging of action and awareness; the centering of attention on a limited stimulus field; loss of ego; sense of control over actions and environment; and being intrinsically rewarding” (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). I believe that these characteristics are more relative to the nature of a person’s experience when their skill level is slightly lower than what is required and going through ‘flow’ is how they step up to the challenge to avoid injuring or killing themselves during the activity.  Maslow’s (1964) ‘peak experience’ relates well to the nature of the participants experience in this stage. The ‘peak experience’ is characterised by “no consciousness of time and space, loss of fear, effortlessness, ego-transcendence”, every action feels like it is perfectly executed and any doubts the participant had in their ability are diminished.  In relation to Lipscombe’s (2005) ‘Risk & Adventure Spectrum’ I would classify this stage as being at the ‘hard’ end of the spectrum. The aspects of this ‘hard’ theory that are present in this stage are “real risks and dangers, challenge, risk taking, awareness of self, and personal engagement in problem solving”.  Mortlock’s (1984) ‘four stages of adventure’ theory relates to this stage as being ‘frontier adventure’ which supports my opinion.


Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230

This stage presents very high levels of risk and unwanted feelings of fear and misadventure due to severe lack of skills - this experience most often ends in injury or even death. My opinion It is rare to find someone that would actually put themselves in a situation where they have no skill when high skill is required, however if it did happen it is highly unlikely that the participant will be able to complete the activity safely or even at all. The opinion of other theories  With this stage’s combination of low skill level and high challenge level Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) visual model of ‘flow theory’ pointed at feelings of ‘anxiety’ which I agree with.  Priest’s (1990) ‘Adventure Experience Paradigm’ has a similar opinion however it explains the result of such a combination as being ‘devastation and disaster’ rather than the feelings of the participant like ‘flow theory’ has.  In relation to Mortlock’s (1984) ‘four stages of adventure’ the nature of the experience in this stage is classified as ‘misadventure’.

This typology may require slight adaptation depending on the combination of challenge with the skill level as the typology has had to make a prediction for a broad range of skills levels therefore specific skill levels cannot all be accounted for. The typology follows the concept of other similar theories and typologies which have been known to be successful at depicting the risk and nature of the adventure experience. In small ways it conflicts with some other theories, however this conflict may just be a result of the broad nature of the theories. Overall, the typology can be used as a tool to predict the nature of an experience for participants across all different skill levels, but it may require a few adaptations to ensure its effectiveness.


Student Number: 1139 8112 PKM230

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikzentmihalyi, I.S. (1990). Adventure and the Flow Experience. In J.C. Miles & S. Priest (Eds.), Adventure education (p.149-155). PA: Venture. (2011). Adventure. Retrieved 24 March 2011, from: Iso-Ahola, S. (1989) Motivations for leisure. In Jackson & Burton (Eds.), Understanding leisure and recreation (pp.247-278). Lipscombe, N. (2005). Risk and adventure in leisure: Meaning and importance explored. Parks and Leisure Australia. (p.42-47). Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Maslow, A.h. (1964). Religions, Values & Peak Experiences. Penguin Books. Mortlock, C. (1984). The Adventure Alternative. Priest, S. (1990). The adventure experience paradigm. In J.C. Miles & S. Priest (Eds.), Adventure education (p.157-162). PA: Venture. Swarbrooke, J. (2003). Adventure Tourism: The New Frontier. Butterworth-Heinmann: Oxford. WorkSMART. (2002) What is the difference between ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’? Retrieved 23 March 2011, from: