Top 10 Extreme Sports
When we think of extreme sports, the first thing that comes to our mind is danger. Indeed, extreme sports include activities that have high levels of inherent peril that can become take a lethal form, because, just a single slip or hands can land a participant straight in the arms of death, or at least severe injury, since the extreme sports may involve speed and height. Hence, the participants need highly specialized gear, and are required to put high levels of physical exertion. Not many people have the courage to try out these highly risky sports. Let us take a look at the Top 10 Extreme Sports.
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Top 10 Extreme Sports
1. Free solo climbing
Free solo climbing, commonly known as the free soloing, is a form of climbing where the climber or the free soloist does not use any safety gear such as ropes, harnesses and other protective gears while ascending. Because of the enormous height of the ascent, fall always means serious injury or death. There are several achievements already made in free solo climbing, such as the two hour and fifty minute ascent of the 2,224-foot Northwest Face route on Yosemite’s Half Dome by Alex Honnold. Many great solo climbers met with tragic accidents and died such as John Bachar, Derek Hersey, Vik Hendrickson, Jimmy Ray Forrester, Jimmy Jewell, Tony Wilmott, Robert Steele, Dwight Bishop and John Taylor. Two of the great soloists are Alain Robert nicknamed “The French Spider-Man” and Dan Goodwin nicknamed the “Skyscraperman”, also scaled several skyscrapers around the world.
Creeking is a type of canoeing and kayaking which involves descending very steep low-volume whitewater. This sport is usually performed in specialized canoes and kayaks which can withstand the extreme whitewater environment. The specially designed kayaks give the paddler improved performance and extreme maneuverability needed for river obstacles. Creeking involves the descent of waterfalls and slides or any steep low-volume river. The route characteristic of Creeking can vary from very smooth granite like Cherry Creek in California to boulder gardens such as the Stein River in British Columbia. The Creeking route usually includes sieves, step drops, holes, and undercuts. This type of kayaking is regarded as the most dangerous and extreme in comparison to other varieties of kayaking.
3. Bungee jumping
Bungee jumping is an adventure sport that involves jumping from a tall structure while harnessed by a large elastic cord. The elevated structure from which Bungee jumping takes place can be a building, bridge or crane, and can also be a hot-air-balloon or helicopter. The adrenaline rush from this sport comes from free-falling and the rebound. The Bungee cord stretches, and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils when a person attempts Bungee jumping, and continues to oscillate up and down till all the kinetic energy dissolves. The first modern Bungee jumps were done by two members of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, David Kirke and Simon Keeling, from the 250-foot Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol on 1 April 1979. Commercial bungee jumping was first organized by A J Hackett who made his first attempt from Auckland’s Greenhithe Bridge in 1986.
4. Volcano boarding
Volcano boarding or Volcano surfing, or more commonly, the ash boarding, is a type of adventure sport that involves descending on the slopes of Cerro Negro near Leon in western Nicaragua. The Volcano Surfers climb up the volcano and then slide down on a thin plywood or metal board while sitting or standing. The Volcano surfing boards made by plywood are reinforced by steel, metal or Formica to provide required strength. This sport involves the danger of falling off and getting cut by the rough volcanic rocks. Cerro Negro is also an active volcano and had its last eruption in 1999. Safety gears such as jumpsuits and goggles are often used by the surfers. This adventure sport was invented by an Australian living in Nicaragua, Darryn Webb in 2005 according to the Sabotage Times.
5. Cave Diving
Cave diving is adventure underwater diving in caves which are typically partially filled with water. The cave diving is done usually using the scuba equipment but often in a specialized configurations. This form of adventure sports is a form of penetration diving which means a cave diver cannot swim vertically to the surface in an emergency due to the cave’s ceilings. Divers usually have to retreat the entire way back out. The five main contributing factors of the cave diving were popularized by the book called “Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival” published by Sheck Exley in 1977. Jacques-Yves Cousteau is widely regarded as the first scuba cave diver who is also the co-inventor of the first commercially successful open circuit scuba equipment. In the United Kingdom, Jack Sheppard made the first cave dive on 4 October 1936 in the Mendip Hills of Somerset.
Slacklining is a type of extreme sport that involves practice in balance on nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. The participants of this extreme sport are often referred as the “slackers”. Highlining is the toughest form of Slacklining which takes place above the ground or water. Highlines are commonly set up in places which are used for Tyrolean traverse. The first ever Slacklining attempt was made by two of the Evergreen State College student in Olympia, Washington, Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington, in 1979. Ivy Baldwind of Eldorado Springs first crossed the Eldorado Canyon on a high wire in 1948 and made his final successful attempt on his 82nd birthday. Philippe Petit crossed a high wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York on August 7, 1974.
7. Wingsuit Flying
Wingsuit Flying is a type of extreme sport that involves flying through the air using a wingsuit. The wingsuit adds surface area to the flyers body which significantly increases the lift. The modern variation of Wingsuit was first developed in the late 1990s which created a surface area between the legs and under the arms with fabric. The Wingsuits are also referred as the “birdman suits”. 33-year old Franz Reichelt made the first attempt of wingsuit flying from the Eiffel Tower on 4 February 1912. He failed on that attempt and hit the ground with his head. On a contrary, his autopsy showed that he died of a heart attack before hitting the ground. The first successful wingsuit was first used by Rex Finney, a 19-year-old American from Los Angeles, California, in 1930. French adventurist Patrick de Gayardon first created the modern wingsuit in the mid-1990s.
Bobsleigh or bobsled is a type of extreme winter sport in which groups of two or four participants make timed runs down narrow, twisted and banked iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The Bobsleighs can usually attain speed of 150 km per hour and the world record was reported at 201km per hour. The owners of the historic Kulm Hotel and the Palace Hotel, the Badrutt family, first allowed Emil Thoma to organize the construction of a ‘half-pipe’ track in the Kulm Hotel Park, ending in the village of Cresta, in the winter of 1903. That venue hosted this extreme sport during two Olympics. The international competition of Bobsleigh is governed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation which is also known as the French Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing. Four-man men’s bobsleigh was first introduced in the Winter Olympic Games in 1924.
9. Kite Skiing
Kite skiing is a type of extreme sport which is a relatively recent development of skiing. The pull of the ski in this sport comes from a kite and can be performed on water, snow, land or ice. It is quite similar to the cross-country skiing but the pulling force comes from the kite rather than stocks or gravity. Kite skiing on ice has little in common with downhill skiing. The kites used in this sport are very similar to the kites used in paragliding but smaller in size. Team N2i first reached the Antarctic pole during the Antarctic summer using kite skiing as their primary means of propulsion on 20 January 2007. Canadian Eric McNair-Landry and American Sebastian Copeland crossed 595 km in 24 hours while kite skiing on 5 June 2010, which created the world record of the highest distance in the shortest time.
10. Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing is a type of extreme sport that involves the ascending of inclined ice formations. This sport typically involves roped and protected climbing of various ice obstacles such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice. The most common modern protection for ice climbing is the ice screw which is a hollow tube with sharp teeth on the front end and has a hanger eye at the back to clip. The ice screws can provide very strong protection while inserted properly in solid ice. A device called the cramp-on used in Ice Climbing was first invented by the British in the early 20th century which allows fastening of toothed claw to the climbing boots. The aim of this extreme sport is to speed up the climbing time and minimize the chance of getting frost bitten because of the chilling weather.
The extreme sports athletes put their lives at risk by participating in these extreme sports. That is why, the competitions offer huge monetary rewards. But more than the monetary gain, it is the love and respect that the athletes get from people. Extreme sports not only offer great excitement for the athletes but also the viewers.