The dark side of flow: a qualitative study on dependence in big wave surfing

Partington, Sarah, Partington, Elizabeth and Olivier, Steve (2009) The dark side of flow: a qualitative study on dependence in big wave surfing. Sports Psychologist, 23 (2). pp. 170-185. ISSN 0888-4781

PDF (Article)
The darkside of the flow - full text.pdf

Download (218kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Flow has been described within sport psychology as an optimal state underpinning peak performance. However, the consequences of experiencing flow may not always be beneficial. One negative consequence might be that of contributing to dependence on the activity that interacts with, or is associated with, the flow experience. This study explored the dichotomous consequences of flow, using case studies of big wave surfers. Fifteen elite surfers completed in-depth, semistructured interviews. It seems clear from the results that the surfers experienced positive consequences of flow. However, they also exhibited symptoms of dependence on surfing. It is suggested that there may be an association between the experience of dimensions of flow and the compulsion to engage in an activity. Some specific recommendations for further research into the relationship between flow and exercise dependence are made.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 10 May 2010 07:57
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 12:05

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics