“We shouldn’t be calling this risk-taking. We should be calling this normal, and society we should call ‘safety seeking.” Thus sayeth Eric Brymer, a researcher of extreme sports at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.
“I think a lot of what is going on in society that is negative is because we are not really living what we are capable of living,” he added.
Ready to get radical?
Yes, this sport means exactly what you imagine: surfing – or sandboarding – down the side of a volcano. The hotspot: Nicaragua’s 2,380ft Cerro Negro mountain. On Cerro Negro, boiler suit-clad enthusiasts reach speeds of 50 mph – a hell of a lot faster than lava rolls. Like sledging, volcano boarding is pretty simple, but few sports demand more raw courage and tenacity.
You exit the aircraft at 30,000 feet. Then you free fall for up to two minutes. Eventually you deploy your parachute. We think. This is HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jumping. The technique was first used in combat during the Vietnam War. But for adrenaline-hungry civvies, it’s a new adventure reminiscent of the trust game. HALO is highly psychological. Irrespective of whether you are super-fit, you need to muster a ton of self-belief to delay pulling the cord until the critical moment.
Traditional 26-mile marathons are for sissies. Actually, no, they aren’t. But some runners get frustrated by the routine and feel obliged to up the ante. Hence, ultramarathon running. An ultramarathon runner may choose to cover 50, even 100 miles. If that’s not challenging enough you can always do your mega-demanding run high up, in the Himalayas. Englishman Mark Cockbain was the first and only finisher of a Himalayan ultramarathon called “La Ultra – The High” in Leh, India. Cockbain took 48 hours, 50 minutes to cover 138 miles. En route, he narrowly avoided being swept off a mountain pass by an avalanche. When he reached the top of one summit, he was so tired that he was seeing double. He added that he was veering Cliffside, “which wasn’t good, because it was a long way down”, he told actionsportshub.com.
Free Running is a form of urban acrobatics. Participants rove and tumble around places cluttered with obstacles. If that sounds like a recipe for an accident, free running inventor Sébastien Foucan defines it as a vehicle for self-development and pursuing your own path. The sport is wedded to freedom and beauty of movements and has come to symbolize thinking and moving outside the box in our tightly controlled urban lives. To succeed, you need astonishing tightrope walker-like agility and, well, flair – a sense of rhythm that keeps you coasting over the obstructions that punctuate your path.
A megaramp is the name for a giant ramp deployed in freestyle BMX and skateboarding. The second-generation ramps emerged and swelled in popularity at the start of this century. They are double (or more) the size of old-school ramps. In 2005, skateboarder Danny Way famously enlisted a gigantic megaramp to jump over the Great Wall of China. Negotiating any megaramp demands buckets of agility and nerve. You are facing the abyss in the most direct way.