Getting Culturally “Pitted”

Extreme sports can be divided into many subcategories and consequently, subcultures. Rock climbers, mountain bikers, skiers, surfers, etc. all have their own culture about them in which a dominant language accompanies a common discourse and community. From skiers and snowboarders using words like “pow” and “freshies” to describe good snow conditions, to surfer slang like “pitted” and “rippin'” to express a good session on a wave, lingo is a primary indicator of extreme sport culture. In much of my own experience and observance, knowledge of this lingo in any sport (be it traditional or non-traditional) is considered a classic gauge of competence and athletic ability. But sometimes it can be over the top and an the use of lingo will detract from one’s percieved aptitude at a certain sport. One of the ¬†classic examples of this is local news channel’s interview of a surfer after surfing some big waves brought in by a storm:

Surfer Lingo to the Extreme

It can certainly be argued that language, in the context of extreme sports culture, is even as equally important as the other aesthetics involved. The most involved players in an extreme sports subculture will wear similar clothing, use similar gear and quality of equipment, which all has to do with the style of said culture. In this sense, language and extreme sport vernacular are equal parts of the styles that go along with culture. One thing to consider, though, is William theory on “emerging cultural forms.” Although many non-traditional action sports are very young (having begun in the 1970’s or 1980’s), the evolution of action sport vernacular has changed just as ¬†language and discourse has in popular American culture.

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