Primary Assumption of Risk ''Active Sport'' Definition

There are more than 100 published cases defining what is and what is not an "active sport" qualifying for application of the doctrine of primary assumption of risk. "Since the decision in (Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296, which involved a recreational game of touch football, our state Supreme Court and appellate courts have examined the applicability of the primary assumption of the risk defense in a wide variety of cases involving sports and recreational activities. In Ford v. Gouin (1992) 3 Cal.4th 339, the companion case to Knight, the Supreme Court expanded the doctrine and applied it to the noncompetitive, nonteam sporting activity of waterskiing. The Supreme Court has applied the doctrine to other sports, including: (1) Intercollegiate baseball (Avila v. Citrus Community College Dist. (2006) 38 Cal.4th 148). (2) Swimming (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 990, 1004-1005 examining coach's relationship to sport), snow skiing (Cheong v. Antablin (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1063, 1067-1068...). (3) The Courts of Appeal have applied the primary assumption of the risk rule in cases involving snow skiing (Connelly v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 8) (4) 'Off-roading' with a motorcycle or 'dune buggy' (Distefano v. Forester (2001) 85 Cal.App.4th 1249, 1255, 1259-1265) (5) Skateboarding (Calhoon v. Lewis (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 108) (6) Figure ice skating (Staten v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1628, 1632-1636) (7) Long-distance group bicycle riding (Moser v. Ratinoff (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 1211, 1218-1223), to name a few." (Truong v. Nguyen (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 865, 878-879 primary assumption of risk applied to bar action for injury to passenger on jet ski.) In Record v. Reason (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 472, the court held that where the plaintiff was injured when he fell off an inner tube while being towed behind a motor boat, primary assumption of risk applied. In doing so, the court considered the issue of whether a particular activity was a "sport" such that the doctrine should be applied. After reviewing a substantial number of cases applying primary assumption of risk to a variety of activities, the court concluded that "compiling all of the distinguishing factors, it appears that an activity falls within the meaning of 'sport' if the activity is done for enjoyment or thrill, requires physical exertion as well as elements of skill, and involves a challenge containing a potential risk of injury." (Id. at p. 482.) Although we agree with the result in Record its reliance on a plaintiff's subjective reasons for participating in a sport seems inconsistent with Knight's test, which focuses on whether imposing liability would "alter fundamentally the nature of the sport by deterring participants from" vigorous participation. (Knight v. Jewett, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 319.) Stimson v. Carlson (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 1201, applied primary assumption of risk to sailing where the plaintiff was one of the crew operating the boat; the court noted that sailing involves swinging booms and physical participation of crew.