This is a guest post by Billy Henry. Billy Henry has been an extreme sports nut ever since he experienced his first sky dive on his 21st birthday. He is very interested in trying out BASE jumping next.
As sports fans, some of us are always searching for the next big buzz, seeing how far we can push the envelope and raise the ceiling. Once you’ve exhausted all the more conventional avenues though (snow sports, skydiving etc), is there really anywhere left to go? This article strives to offer an answer to that question, by exposing readers to a raft of more unconventional extreme sports from all around the world.
If you really want to feel like James Bond, there is no extreme sport quite as exhilarating or daring as BASE jumping. The sport involves free-falling from a bridge, a building or any incredibly tall, inanimate object with a parachute attached and opening it on the way down. With adequate training, BASE jumps can be achieved almost anywhere, but there is a set calendar of events for enthusiasts, where they congregate to perform ‘mass jumps’. Of course, this is NOT a sport to be taken lightly. It requires plenty of training and a strong stomach as any mistakes made could be potentially fatal.
No this isn’t some kind of bizarre euphemism; we’re literally referring to medieval style jousting here. You might have thought jousting died out along with court jesters and ‘fair maidens’ but jousting is still alive and well today, but it’s certainly not for the fainthearted! If you’re not aware of the basics of jousting the sport involves two heavily armoured ‘knights’, charging at one another on horseback whilst carrying an 11-foot lance. The aim of the game is simple; knock your opponent off their steed before they knock you off yours. Competitors can reach up to 30 miles an hour and as such, jousting is a decidedly dangerous extreme sport that requires great riding skills, a solid centre of balance and significant upper body strength. Events take place all over the world, from New Zealand to California. The ‘Harcourt Park World International Jousting Tournament’ held annually in New Zealand draws up to 10,000 people every year.
This is a sport that requires a certain amount of experience in climbing and nerves of steel, as you’ll be climbing vast ice caves supported only by your own wits and a seemingly infinite (and definitely fatal) drop. The largest indoor ice wall in the world is actually located in Scotland at Kinlocklevan. This is a great place for beginners and seasoned professionals alike to train and gather their skills. Once you’ve tackled the artificial snow and have acquired a decent level of training and equipment, you can move on to the real deal. Needless to say however, a great level of fitness is absolutely necessary!
Even the title of this one is exciting right? It’s also surprisingly literal. Of course for most people, the sight of one of the world’s most active volcanoes would cause them to turn tail and run as fast as humanely possible in the opposite direction. But of course, you’re not “Most people”, are you. Volcano boarders are daredevils who choose to travel down the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua wearing just some thin overalls and a pair of goggles on a thin wooden board. The active volcano is located just outside Leon in Central America and has erupted 23 times in the last 160 years. Boarders can either stand or ride their boards like snowboards down the mountain (indeed, the ash is almost the consistency of snow) or sit and sledge down the steeper sides. Over 10,000 people have boarded down Cerro Negro since 2005, do you fancy joining their ranks?
Downhill Mountain Biking
A time trial event generally held on incredibly steep, rough terrain and often featuring jumps, rock patches and other obstacles, downhill mountain biking is an extreme sport that requires not just the right gear, but a steady hand and a clear head. In many ways, downhill mountain biking is a little like downhill skiing, in so much as how the basic principles of the sport function. The UK is not known for its snow though, but we do have quite a few incredibly mountains. Snowdon especially is something of a Mecca for downhill mountain biking enthusiasts from all over the world. This is a sport that requires a decent initial investment when it comes to gear, but if you visit SportPursuit.com you’ll be able to find a bunch of reasonable offers on some of the best mountain biking equipment money can buy.
We’ll end with an incredibly odd one. Taking two already potentially dangerous sports and combining them into one even more dangerous sport, the relatively new sport of Limbo Skating is essentially exactly what it says on the tin. You’re basically taking limbo dancing and adding skated into the equation. The results are something akin to a dance, only a dance that could easily end with a broken back if things go wrong. The most famous limbo skater in the world is the young Indian boy Rohan Ajit Kokane, who is able to skate horizontally with his body only 8 inches above the ground! His record is to skate underneath 20 cars whilst almost completely horizontal!
Of course we’ve only scratched the surface here. Other unconventional extreme sports that should earn themselves a place on any fanatics bucket list include ‘Bike Polo’, ‘Sled Dog Racing’ and ‘Drift Diving’ (like a roller-coaster, only on your back and in the water). So get out there and get stuck in!