What Are Extreme Sports and Why Try Them?

20An extreme sport (also known as an action sport) is a general, somewhat hazily-defined term for any of several newer sports involving adrenaline-inducing action.

They often feature a combination of speed, height, danger and spectacular stunts. Levels of danger vary widely, but there is always an element – an “extreme” factor – that causes an adrenaline rush which keeps participants loyal to their sport. Some participants termed ‘adrenaline junkies’ develop an obsession with their sport and even claim to be “addicted to adrenaline”. (This is the result of a misnomer, since often the high obtained is a product of increased levels of dopamine endorphins and serotonin).

Extreme sports are most often pursued by young adults who wish to push their own limits of fear and physical ability, and in doing so, also help to push the limits of their sport as a whole. Because of this youthful demographic, extreme sports often attract their own kind of youth culture with associated clothing fashions and music. Indeed, the distinction between an extreme sport and a conventional sport is often as much due to marketing as the level of danger involved or the adrenaline generated. For example, snowboarding has a more extreme image than skiing mainly because it is newer, even though skiing is a faster and at least equally dangerous way of getting down the mountain. Also, only individual sports are generally considered to be extreme, so a sport like Rugby Union, though dangerous and adrenaline-inducing, is disqualified both by its traditional image and because it is a team sport.

The term gained popularity with the advent of the X Games, a made-for-television collection of such events. Advertisers were quick to realise the appeal of the event and competitors and organisers are now flooded with sponsorship. The high profile of extreme sports and the culture surrounding them has also led people to invent jokey parodies, such as Extreme ironing, urban housework, extreme croquet, extreme unicycling, house gymnastics, and extreme wheelbarrow.

Purists often reject the stereotypical “adrenaline junkie” image and enjoy their activities for many diverse reasons. Practitioners might enjoy developing their physical and/or mental skills, seek mastery of inhospitable environments, look to escape from the mundane rigours of day-to-day existence, or simply love the wilderness environment in which many of these sports take place. Bob Drury, a paraglider pilot says:

“We do these things not to escape life, but to prevent life escaping us”.Or, alternatively, from an anonymous source:
“All who live, die. But not all who die have lived.”Several extreme sports, including snowboarding, were included in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Some extreme sports have been around for many decades and the proponents span many generations, often including well known personalities. For example rock climbing and ice climbing has spawned such immortal names as Edmund Hillary, Chris Bonington and more recently Joe Simpson. Another example is Surfing, which was originally invented centuries ago by the native inhabitants of Hawaii.

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Top 3 Extreme Sports Adventures

22Extreme sports and thrill seeking adventures is one of the most exciting and action packed things that you could do.

But what is an extreme sport exactly? Well to me it is any sort of activity that will get your heart pumping and that hit of adrenalin coursing through your veins.

Perhaps an activity that reaches incredible heights, the feeling of free falling, getting up close to deadly predators. Whatever is extreme for you may or may not be so extreme for others though so the choice is of course personal.

For instance I love going shark diving but am terrified of free falling, both are still extreme sports adventures but they are so very different.

In general for the majority of thrill seekers however are the top 3 most common and most popular extreme sports adventures.

First on the list is bungee jumping. There is nothing that will get your heart racing faster than strapping your legs to a rope and throwing yourself off a bridge or platform.

There are also so many different forms of bungee jumps too. For instance jumping off a bridge is the normal kind of bungee but for those looking for new thrills may decide to jump from a helicopter.

Or perhaps even bungee jump, riding a BMX off the edge, AJ Hackett’s bungee jump in Cairns, Australia offer just that.

Free falling from a bungee feels so much faster than jumping out of a plane and this is because you’re moving past objects at full speeds giving your mind a measurement of speed where as sky diving feels like a while before you get anywhere near any other objects.

Second for the most extreme sports however is the adventure of sky diving. It may not feel as fast but jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane at 14,000 feet is still just as extreme as a bungee jump.

Your first jump and likely the few following will be tandem with an instructor so that you can just hang there and enjoy the free fall and parachuting experience. After a few jumps you may want to try this solo or you may even want to try an accelerated free fall course to find the most extreme way to enjoy the sky dive.

Out of the skies for number three’s spot for the top extreme sports adventures is white water rafting.

Rowing against and with the rapids on a white water rafting day is intense but so much fun too. Putting your bodies on the line to experience the fury and wild ride that Mother Nature provides is definitely an extreme adventure.

Now days there are even many man made rapids where the tour operators can control the category of the rapids which are ranked one to five.

All three of these extreme sports adventures will get your heart pumping and your blood full of adrenalin but of course there are many other activities that may do this very same thing for you.

If bungee jumping, sky diving or white water rafting isn’t your thing there are always other extreme sports such as hang gliding, shark diving, caving and all sorts of different things that you could try to start living life to its fullest potential.

Why Kids Are Crazy About Extreme Sports

26Extreme Sports are the latest craze in our culture and kids as young as four and five years old are fascinated with it. As a parent of a 16 year old who has been skateboarding and surfing since he was seven, I can tell you that it does make you nervous when they do the crazy tricks. Some people hate extreme sports and some people think they are a blessing, let’s take a closer look.

The positive side of kids being involved in extreme sports in that they are out getting exercise and the television in your living room is starting to collect dust, plus your electric bill is lower. You have probably been hoping for this to happen for awhile but you aren’t sure about the choice of sports. Although skateboarding is probably the first of the extreme sports, it is only the beginning. Some of the others that kids are really getting into these days include BMX biking and trickblading.

BMX bikes are like a regular bike on steroids, they are built heavy and tough to be able to take the punishment of all the jumps and tricks, plus they have special pegs for the feet and padding to protect the biker where they are most likely to come in contact with the bike. These bikes are designed mainly for tricks and racing and are mostly used on dirt tracks and courses.

Trickbladers use the same parks as skateboarders and wear specially designed roller blades with smaller thicker wheels and have an added feature called a grind plate to help them do tricks like sliding down rails. I know, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about it! The idea is to be able to do a lot of the same tricks performed by skateboarders.

Skateboarding is thought of as the original extreme sport beginning in the 1960s when surfers put wheels on short boards to give them a way to cross train when the surf wasn’t up. These early skateboarders are probably amazed at the way the sport has developed with the huge half pipes and long rails that you see skateboarders riding today. It just makes me cringe to watch as they slide down a handrail while standing on a skateboard but incredibly my son has done it for over nine years and never broken a bone.

If you are like me, the first time that you watch your child go sailing through the air on a jump or paddling out in eight foot surf you will feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest and you will be cringing every time they fall but as long as they have the right safety gear and are always with a buddy they will be fine, injuries are far more common in traditional sports. Encourage your kids, these days it’s hard to get them to like anything.

Urban Sports and Extreme Sports

25Many youngsters and teenagers living in urban cities seek thrill and excitement by engaging in different types of sports. These sports usually require minimum gear, and can take place in almost any venue. Since they are commonly seen in cities, these sports activities are given the name “urban sports”.

But don’t confuse urban sports with extreme sports. City activities are often safe, when caution is exercised. Extreme sports are much more dangerous exercises. They involve public displays of dangerous stunts. The whole idea of extreme activities is to push the human limit. Of course, in exchange for all the thrill and excitement, a certain amount of risk is necessary.

If you are interested in taking up a sport, take a look at the urban activities in your area. It could be street soccer, skateboarding, stunt biking, or even basketball. As long as the sport takes place in the city, it’s considered an urban sport. If you observe closely, you will quickly realize that there are some similarities between these activities.

First and foremost, you will need the right gear and equipment to get started. These items are usually readily available in major sports retail shops. Sports like ball games don’t require you to own much equipment. All you need is a good pair of street shoes and some sports clothing and you are ready to go.

Be sure to dress comfortably for the activity that you have chosen to participate in. Most urban games require lateral movement, which means that a pair of jogging shoes may not be the best fit. Major brands like Nike and Adidas now have street shoes that can be worn for casual outings or for street sports.

There are many benefits that are associated with an urban sport activity. You don’t usually need to travel to far out places just to participate in the sport. Just hang around with some friends in the neighborhood and have a good time. A sport provides a form of regular exercise, which can help improve your overall health and fitness.

As you feel yourself growing stronger and getting better at a sport, you may wish to consider moving the bar up a little and participate in some extreme sports. Here, protective gear becomes much more important. Never attempt any stunts without the proper protective gear such as helmets, gloves, knee guards, etc.

The more commonly seen activities include mountain biking, roller blading, stunt biking, and many others. There is no fixed definition for extreme sports. New games are being invented by young people every day. They seek to new challenges, and as long as the activity provides an adrenalin rush, they will try it.

A word of caution though – never attempt any extreme activity without proper guidance and training. Most sports require a certain amount of training before you are able to master the tricks. Start from the basics if you are new, and seek advice from those who had done what you are about to do now.

Las Vegas Skydiving and Other Extreme Sports

24The number of extreme sports in Las Vegas, including skydiving has exploded in recent years. While they offer all of the standard extreme sports, skateboarding, BMX biking, and things like skydiving, they also have a chance to offer great sports like rock climbing, too, because of the nature of the area.

One extreme sport in Las Vegas is skateboarding. There are many skate parks in the area for enthusiasts of the sport to enjoy. Some of the parks are even open to other sports like roller blading and BMX biking. Moreover, several parks offer lessons to novice skateboarders that will help students to learn the sport effectively and be safe while playing.

Another way to experience extreme sports in Las Vegas is cycling in their canyons. Several companies offer a Red Rock Canyon bike tour that takes cyclists through one of the most beautiful locations in the United States. Most of the companies include all of the equipment necessary for the trip like the bike, safety gear, and water. While the trails are very, very rough, the ride is exhilarating.

Extreme sports in Las Vegas also includes some awesome rock climbing trips. The canyons in the area are incredible. Thirty minutes from the insanity of the strip with all of its overburdening society features are rock climbing areas that are unimaginably beautiful. Climbers can experience simply nature hikes or rough and tumble climbs that are difficult for even experienced climbers.

If climbing in the heat of the desert is not for you, you might also try the extreme sport of indoor rock climbing. There are several places in the city that offer rock walls. It’s a great way to try rock climbing before you get to more difficult stuff like the canyons outside the city.

Another version of extreme sports in Las Vegas is skydiving. There are many companies in the city that offer serious lessons and one day deals like tandem jumping. This gives people at all levels a chance to experience this extreme sport while in city of lights. You can also experience indoor skydiving with the help of one of several wind tunnels in the city. Nevada is an excellent place for a number of different activities. Las Vegas skydiving is becoming one of the most popular among other extreme sports.