Extreme skating is even trickier than it seems – just look at all those blooper shows depicting would-be skaters having stunningly painful falls. Still, some extreme sports enthusiasts keen to test their mettle manage to up the ante, dabbling in extreme skating variations with playful sporting twists.
How strong is your sense of balance? These extreme skating variants will push your agility to the limit.
In the challenging field of skating variants, no version places greater demands on its participants than roller soccer. If you have ever played standard soccer with the help of the spikes on your cleats making the footing easier on the field, you will know that it takes a ton of skill to pass, dribble and shoot. Imagine trying to execute those moves while whizzing about on roller skates. According to RollerSoccer.com, the high-powered game of soccer on skates pans out at lightning tempo, tons of turnovers and enormous exhilaration. The website describes the sport as, “actually easy to play, but difficult to master.” Played since the late 19th century, the game resurfaced in San Francisco in 1995, when a bunch of friends on inline skates started playing soccer with a pinecone, which was even more challenging than the modern version they pioneered when they switched to a soccer ball.
Wind skating can be performed on sails using a skateboard, inline skates, or any other low-tech gadget that slides or rolls. Supposedly, anyone with basic balance on roller skates or a skateboard can learn to wind skate in just minutes. According to WindSkate.com, the sport is multidimensional, as it yields the sensations of sailboarding on water, slaloming on skis, flying via a hang glider and riding an invisible wave. Just to make life harder, some daredevils go wind skating in gales or even hurricanes. Check out this clip that claims to show someone catching the breeze of Hurricane Ike, which hit Cuba with winds reaching speeds of up to about 140 mph in Sept. 2008. The wild extreme sport owes its existence to Santa Monica, Calif. surfer and skateboarder, Jamie Budge, who hooked up to a thin plastic sail with a 12-foot mast. Wind skaters have been clocked at speeds as high as 55 mph.
Do not confuse wind skating with kite skating. Believe it or not, kite skating is even more radical. Participants skate on rougher terrain, deploying off-road and all-terrain skating gear. Few action sports look more surreal and amazing than kite skating, which is often done on dry lakebeds, parking lots, fields and beaches at events across the globe. Kite skating enables you to go a bit faster than you can with a sail. Kite skating enthusiasts have hit speeds of up to 60 mph. The sport is the brainchild of boundary buster Bob Childs, who, at the dawn of the 90s, designed some newfangled skates from rollerblade boots and scooter wheels called the Wheels of Doom. Childs has been ripping across the deck at “kite traction” events ever since.
Roller hockey played on inline skates is a kind of roller hockey with overtones of its parent sport, ice hockey. Roller hockey is played by two teams of four skaters and one goalie. The teams compete on a dry rink or, casually, on a smooth, outdoor, asphalt surface. The rules differ from those of its furious father, ice hockey, in various simple ways. Above all, there is no icing or body checking. Still, like ice hockey, inline roller hockey is a contact sport. Winning hinges on controlled aggression, as well as skill and teamwork. Across the world, the sport is called everything from “street hockey” to “longstick hockey” and the gutsy “deck hockey.” The sport is very no-nonsense and democratic. Because you can play it on any dry surface, any leisure center will do.
One way to make skating even more tricky is to do away with wheels altogether and zip about on a substance that’s a byword for slipperiness, ice. As the name of their sport implies, speed skaters go for smoking speed, taking giant strides and pumping their arms like locomotives. World championships are decided annually under the command of the International Skating Union (ISU) at distances of 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters for men, and 500, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters for women. Speed skating sprang up in the Netherlands, perhaps as early as the 13th century. Organized international competition arose in the late 19th century, and the sport was included as a men’s event in the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The sport of racing on ice skates then began gathering steam.
Cover Photo Credit: zigazou76 – flickr.com