Does diving into the ocean from a steep cliff appeal to you? Does racing down an active volcano with only a piece of plywood for company give you the goose bumps? Is surfing in the middle of a hurricane your idea of fun? Welcome to the world of extreme sports! Here, you either win or lose your life.
Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. Well, that pretty much sums up extreme sports! Highly challenging both physically and emotionally, extreme sport is the only kind of sport where your sole opponent is death. A near-impossible task with near-death experience! Enough to get the adrenaline rushing through your veins! With extreme sports around, who needs alcohol to be high?!
Extreme sports started gaining popularity somewhere in the mid-twentieth century, perhaps around the time when Edmund Hillary created history by scaling the impossible summit of Mount Everest. The latter part of the twentieth century saw various sports like Bungee jumping, Cliff diving, paragliding and sky diving take the masses by storm. Today, the modern day adrenalist has a host of jaw-dropping and eye-popping sports to choose from.
Climbing, exploring, surviving- that’s what mountaineering is all about. Scaling few of the ugliest and most inhuman terrains at heights where oxygen is precious is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Snow makes the already daunting task even more challenging. A breath-taking view at one curve and a fatal drop on the next! Encountering the unexpected and conquering your fears, now you’re talking mountaineering!
- Cliff Diving
Does surrendering yourself to gravity from a height of around 100 feet and plunging headlong into the icy ocean sound crazy? Apparently not for Gary Hunt, three time successive champion at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series! If you want to be like this Brit you got to have a lot of grit! Regarded by some as the perfect formula for suicide, this insanely thrilling sport has been gaining popularity immensely. The element of danger is always there, but then, no risk, no fun!
- BASE jumping
BASE is actually an acronym for Building, Antenna, Spans and Earth which are the four structures from where a base jumper actually performs the task. Base jumping is everyone’s favourite in Hollywood too with Batman and James Bond jumping from skyscrapers and other unimaginable places as if it was their hobby! Base jumping world records include people who have jumped from mighty structures like the Eiffel tower and Burj Khalifa!
- Volcano boarding
Speeding down a volcano that might burst any time and gobble you up requires guts. Cerro Negro in western Nicaragua has recently emerged as a hotspot for this adventure sport. Climbing up the volcano is simple but rolling down the cruel terrain is no child’s play. Bruises are just the beginning!
Perhaps the most enthralling of all water sports, surfing has emerged as the favourite adventure sport for all water lovers! Surfing involves extreme balance and a good sense of judgement. Surfers are perhaps the only people who gleefully welcome hurricanes because surfing in rough weather takes the adrenaline to an entirely different level! So, brace yourself!
- White Water Rafting
Rafting ranks high when it comes to both thrill as well as fatality. Even the most experienced rafters have known to succumb to the deadly rapids that hurl you across boulders and toss you mercilessly. Scary huh?
The psychology behind extreme sports
Weirdos, loonies or plain adventurous? Different people have different perceptions about extreme sports. In extreme sports you can’t afford to lose; winning becomes mandatory. Extreme sports enthusiasts are often misunderstood because they contradict the basic human instinct of survival. However, the essence of extreme sports is something much deeper than just ‘the thrill’. Extreme sports teach you to be high on life. Who needs happy drugs when you can get all the adrenaline from that paragliding session in the valley! Extreme sports stretch the human body to its maximum potential. For some, it’s the feeling of ‘letting all go’ and for others it’s a journey of rediscovery. ‘Doing the un-doable’ gives you a sense of achievement. After conquering the Himalayan challenge, life’s everyday challenges don’t seem so cruel. In fact, extreme sports give you the emotional strength to conquer life’s real summits.