Walking through a wooded area shooting arrows at Styrofoam animals may not seem like the most calming way to spend time outdoors, but Billy Sanderson begs to differ.
The Vancouver Island man is among Canada's best at 3D archery, a discipline that sees archers take aim at three-dimensional animal targets in simulated hunting scenarios.
"It gives you a sense of peace and, like, Zen," he told CBC's On the Island at the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association's facility about a 30-minute drive northwest of Victoria.
Listen to 3D archers in Victoria explain the sport to CBC Radio's Rohit Joseph:
"You're at one with your equipment, as cheesy as it sounds. All that's happening is just you and specifically what you're doing in the present moment."
Sanderson will need to stay centred as he squares off against the best in his field at the 3D Archery World Championships in Terni, Italy, which begin on Sept. 4. Other B.C. archers representing Canada include Marc Britton and Miranda Sparkes of Kamloops.
Sanderson says the sport is more dynamic than traditional archery, which has archers remain stationary as they shoot at a circular target. 3D archery requires archers to carry gear from anywhere to one to five kilometres along trails and shoot at targets of different shapes and sizes. It's a challenge that he relishes.
"Walking through the forest, it doesn't get much better than that," he said. "It's better than standing in front of a target all day long."
Go for the archery, stay for the people
While Sanderson highlights the meditative aspect of 3D archery, Britton says the sport is also social.
"We go for the archery, we stay for the people, for sure," he said. "The world over, it doesn't matter if we're going to a provincial or national tournament or a world tournament there's a lot of camaraderie that's exceptional."
Sparkes said she too loves the social aspect of 3D archery. But Britton said she's also driven to excel in the sport.
"3D archery, what we do, it's a very social sport. It's a very friendly and welcoming sport," he said. "Miranda fits right in with that because she's a friendly little ray of sunshine. But don't let that kid you. She's a competitive beast underneath that."