The title of this blog is 'living in NZ', but maybe it should be dying in NZ. No, its not a reference to the local retirement industry, or the lack of domestic activity, I mean actual dying. The local adventure sports industry ought to be doing a lot of navel-gazing at the moment because there are just too many people dying whilst doing adventure sports. Consider the recent accidents:
1. Several light planes crashing
2. Balloon accident
3. Bunge jumping death
4. Canoeing accident
5. Jet boat accident
6. Kite sailing - the latest accident
Some of these accidents were not this year, but last, but regardless, there is too many accidents. People engaging in these sports do not expect to die. Are the rates too high? I think so? Is it an acceptable risk? Well, I would suggest that is something the participant should decide. Perhaps there is a need for immediate disclosure of:
1. NZ-wide statistics on the percentage of people being injured in adventure sports
2. NZ-wide statistics on the percentage of people being injured in the specific adventure sport being attempted
3. Company-specific statistics on the percentage of people being injured in the specific adventure sport
4. Company-specific statistics on the percentage of people being injured in the specific adventure sport - this month, this year, the last 5 years
5. Identification of all the possible dangers that you could be exposing yourself to by participating in the sport. Probably the biggest is someone performing tasks they are not ready for, whether its an instructor who was out drinking last night; or an inadequately trained instructor because most want to take off and travel the world...for bigger thrills.
You might wonder whether anyone gets any business disclosing this information. They might just wonder if its worth it. If you think life is about getting such thrills, maybe you ought to be just taking heroin. They call them 'cheap thrills', I would argue that:
1. They are over-priced
2. They could cost you your life
I am fond of adventure, but I think its silly to take risks; most particularly risks you don't control. I occasionally go whitewater kayaking/canoeing, but its adventure/exploration, not cheap 'adrenalin thrills'. When I go kayaking, it is after I have slowly graduated to more difficult rapids, and also after researching and understanding rivers. I also never go beyond grade 3 rivers, even if they sometimes surprise me with grade 3.5 rapids.
I discount the value of these activities for the same reason I discount taking drugs. Its not what life is about...twitching a few neurons to fill alive for 15 - 60 seconds. NZ seems to have a penchant for dreaming up some new adventure sport. Some form of new board sport, etc. There are plenty of pipe dreamers out there. Some are little variants on old schemes. It might better be regarded as escapism by the inventor as much as the sports participant. I do not however want to discount all such sports. Sport does entail risk. Each ought to be in a position to know just how much risk they are taking.
Perhaps what this industry (kite boarding) needs is an 'air bag' device, so it they get in trouble they can release a valve and an air bubble blows up around them; so they get caught in a tree rather than killed by it. Alternatively, the sport should be conducted a certain safe distance away from trees and other obstructions.
Save yourself some money and engage in some sustainable pleasures!