If you consider yourself to be something of a thrill-seeker, then there’s a good chance you’ll be on the lookout for your latest adrenaline-fuelled activity. Perhaps you want to try out a new sport that tests your skills and pushes you to the limit? Or, maybe you just want something to get your blood pumping.
But those who dive head-first into extreme sports don’t just do it for the rush – extreme sports are proven to have a hugely positive impact on people’s mental health, with some describing their experiences as providing tranquillity and peace of mind. This is because not only are people facing their fears, whether they are skydiving or zip-wiring for the first time, but they are also experiencing something that takes them out of their everyday routine. Sometimes, doing the ‘extreme’ can actually enhance a person’s senses and provide mindfulness.
So, if you’re an experienced adrenaline junkie, or just a newbie looking to get their first taste of adventure, keep on reading for some of the best extreme sports to try out. Don’t let fear hold you back!
When you imagine extreme sports, you might picture mountain biking or cave diving, not scooters. However, freestyle scootering is not the same as riding your scooter to school as a kid; it ups the ante, turning regular scootering into a BMX-style sport. With specially designed stunt scooters, like Blunt Envy Scooters, from Skates, you can now perform all sorts of tricks and maneuvers, in a similar style to skateboarding. Purchasing one of the top leading brands such as this will ensure a smooth ride, and with its lightweight make, but extremely solid design, you can take it to the skatepark and practice your freestyle moves safely. It’s already becoming recognized as a professional sport in Europe and Australia, proving its rising popularity. So, if you want to try something new, why not give freestyle scootering a shot?
Also known as ‘globe-riding,’ ‘sphereing’ and ‘orbing,’ this sport is best described as a hamster ball for humans; the aim of the game is to roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball. Created in New Zealand, the orb is designed to cushion you, preventing any serious injuries, and you can even take zorbing to the next level by taking it out on the water or playing a giant game of bowling.
The art of caving is quite simple on the surface; you explore caves that are not open to the general public. The sport of caving involves you having to navigate your way through tight spaces and develop your teamworking skills. Caving may not be considered as high-risk as some other extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. It is known for being a very physically demanding sport, and there are still risks of exhaustion, falling and hypothermia if you are not careful. Fortunately, experienced cavers will be able to guide you, and as long as you have the right equipment, you should have no trouble. Some of the best destinations for caving are in the UK, including Gaping Gill in Yorkshire and Ogof Ffynnon Ddu in South Wales.
This extreme sport is ideal if you don’t mind caves or underwater diving (otherwise, we would recommend another sport). Cave diving actually derived from caving in the UK and is an attractive sport for keen scuba divers and cavers. Much like caving, cave diving includes exploring the unknown, as you delve into mysterious waters to discover a magical underwater world. A few of the best dive sites include:
- Elephant’s Cave in Chania, Greece
- Nereo Cave in Sardinia
- Riwaka Caves in New Zealand
- Indian Springs in Florida
These underground natural wonders will take your breath away, so as long as you’re up for the challenge, cave diving can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you’re tired of repetitive sports, then rock climbing could be your next adventure. Rock climbing is one half physical activity, one half problem-solving. One of the benefits of rock climbing is that, not only are you testing your strength, but also your brain muscles; as you are trying to navigate your next move to reach the top, your clogs are constantly turning, determining your route. If you want to enhance your mind and body, then this could be the sport for you.
Then again, if you find rock climbing to be too mainstream, you can always check out ice climbing, instead. It involves climbing icefalls, frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice.
The best destinations for ice climbing include:
- The Vertical Chill in London, England – the city’s eight-meter iceberg located in Covent Garden
- Mineral Creek in Valdez-Cordova, Alaska
- The frozen waterfall in Rjukan, Norway
- Helmcken Falls Spray Cave in Canada
Ice Cross Downhill
This one seems simple, as it only has one rule: the first person to reach the end of the track wins. Then again, said person also has to wear pads and hockey skates. And the track is made from ice. Ice cross downhill is winter extreme sport at its finest, with downhill skating, sharp turns and high vertical drops all adding to the entertainment. After all, what better way to get the adrenaline flowing than by racing down a twisting ice track on hockey skates at speeds of more than 50 km/h?
At first glance, cliff jumping might look like a sport for lunatics, never mind adrenaline junkies. But rest assured, as long as you are properly trained, cliff jumping can be a great sport to get your pulse racing. Before you attempt cliff jumping, make sure you are physically and psychologically prepared for the jump – obviously, if you are absolutely petrified of heights, then you will struggle. Also note that it is best to go cliff diving in groups, and to check how deep the water is before you dive straight in. Once you’ve checked that you have enough space, jump feet first.
One of the toughest sports out there, mountain biking involves you riding your bike off-road and having to navigate yourself across rough terrain. If you love the great outdoors, then this sport is perfect for you. Once you are fitted up with a mountain bike, you can partake in several biking sports, including cross country, trail riding, downhill, freeride or dirt jumping. As mountain biking is obviously more dangerous than your average biking, you will need to be kitted up with body armor, padding, a helmet and gloves. Mountain bike racing is now recognized as a competitive sport and is featured in the cross-country event at the summer Olympics. There are plenty of trails in the US that offer stunning landscapes and are ideal for mountain biking.
You’ve likely seen a few Parkour videos on YouTube, but you might not be 100% sure what it actually entails. Essentially, Parkour is a non-combative martial art derived from military obstacle course training, which includes moving from one point to another without any equipment or assistance. The idea of this sport is to overcome barriers while moving as quickly as possible, usually in an urban setting. It involves running, jumping and climbing.
French actor, film choreographer and stunt coordinator David Belle is considered the pioneer of Parkour, having drawn inspiration from his father, Raymond, who created his own obstacle courses to test his endurance as a child growing up in a military orphanage in Vietnam. Belle was also inspired by Asian culture, specifically the acrobatics of Jackie Chan.
For those who prefer to play in teams, roller derby can be a great sport to get involved in. If you saw the 2009 comedy Whip It, then you’ll know that roller derby is a contact sport that involves two teams of five who roller skate counter-clockwise around a track. Each team has a ‘jammer’ who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team, while those opposing teammates will try and hinder the jammer. Most roller derby teams are all-female, so if you’re looking for a more female-focused sport, this can be a fun way to socialize and learn a new sport.
Yes, this is a real sport. Blobbing is an outdoor water sport that involves sitting on the end of an inflated airbag, while someone jumps on the other end to send you flying through the air before falling in the water. It’s certainly not as dangerous as some other sports, but it’s still fun and will give you a thrill.
Another water sport, kitesurfing relies on the wind to propel your kite and board across the water. It combines the aspects of windsurfing, skateboarding and sailing, as you harness the wind with your power kite to steer yourself across the water. The power kite is more like a parachute, which helps you to propel yourself easier. You don’t even need waves to enjoy kitesurfing, just a good wind to get you moving. Kailua Beach on O’ahu, Hawaii, is a prime location for kitesurfing.
In case kayaking isn’t hardcore enough for your taste, there’s always waterfall kayaking. This challenging extreme sport will not only require you to master paddling, but also have good judgment. To successfully grasp waterfall kayaking, study the waterfall to calculate the potential hazards, like the water speed and any underwater rocks. You will also need to have good speed, to avoid landing upside down in your kayak.