As someone who has guided around 1,000 people on paddle board adventures, and personally spent 2 years rock climbing after a violent attack by a stranger, I can attest that outdoor adventure provides a unique platform for creating lasting social bonds. Here are some possible reasons:
Social Acceptance & Vulnerability: When you struggle to stand, with legs shaking and keep your head up and eyes forward, the shaking eventually subsides. I constantly hear strangers encouraging one another, “You Got This” “Keep Your Head Up!” They fall, they get back up. There is a bonding that happens that is very powerful.
Mutual Accomplishment: The major difficulty we experience is BOAT WAVES! In Miami, we have large super yachts that speed by and create waves. It’s fun to see everyone get picked off and dumped into the water, loosening up and laughing together as they climb back onto the board for another round. This mutual accomplishment can build therapeutic partnerships and social supports in significant ways.
Social Depth: Outdoor adventure produces a strong connection around something much deeper than talking. This is deeply held shared experience.