Adrenaline junkies and fans, we pulled together a list of what we think are currently the Top 10 Extreme Sports. With such an exhaustive list available, we selected the most technically and high risk yet beautiful sports in the world. Take a look and let us know how many you’ve heard of and if any them would ever make your bucket list!
What is it? Free Diving is a type of underwater diving that relies on a diver's ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing rather than the use of a breathing apparatus. Competitors have the option to dive for depth or time on a single breath. The sport is governed by two international bodies and has a multitude of disciplines available to compete in including fin, free, weighted or team. The current world record holder is Herbert Nitsch who has attained a depth of 214 meters (702 feet).
Cave diving is a combination of underwater diving with the added bonus of doing it in caves that are at least partially filled with water. The equipment used varies, but is typically scuba equipment with specialized configurations. Cave diving is highly technical as it can involve small squeezes similar to that of regular caving above water, but it’s done at depths that will require decompression.
Because cave diving is a form of penetration diving, in an emergency a diver cannot swim vertically to the surface but must swim the entire way back out. The sport can require underwater navigation through cave systems which may be difficult, and additionally have exit routes that are a considerable distance, which would require the diver to have sufficient scuba tank gas to make the journey back out.
Ice climbing involves the climbing of icefalls, frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. It’s broadly divided into mountain, alpine ice and water ice. The sport itself evolved out of rock climbing at high altitudes where rock climbers had to learn how to navigate icy and slippery areas as they worked their way up a mountain or rock wall. This in turn led to climbers becoming specialized in the sport and developing tools/ gear specifically for those areas. Over time, it has evolved into a sport all unto itself.
Who doesn’t like a nice leisurely surfing experience? If water isn’t enough to keep you interested you can always take it to the sky, sand or even volcano! First up is sky surfing. Performed via skydiving, the skydiver affixes a board which is about the size of a snowboard or skateboard to his or her feet and performs surfing-style aerobatics during freefall. For safety reasons the boards are detachable during flight in case of emergency.
If that’s not thrilling enough, why not test your skills with volcano surfing, also known as ash boarding or volcano boarding. Executed on the slopes of usually active volcanos, ash boarders use a thin plywood or metal board and slide down, either sitting or standing on the board. Protective gear including jump suits and goggles are a must!
The final boarding sport is Sandboarding. Think snowboarding and replace it with the heat of a desert. Not as popular as snowboarding, sandboarders are typically quite fit as hills cannot accommodate lifts to bring you back to the top. Some boarders may ride a dune buggy or all-terrain vehicle back to the top of the dune. The one key benefit to sandboarding is the year-round availability to do the sport vs. traditional winter skiing which is generally seasonal.
Free solo climbing is a type of harness-free climbing where there is no use of ropes or other protective mechanisms while ascending. The art of the sport lies in relying entirely on your climbing ability. Unlike bouldering, these climbers ascend to heights that could result in serious injury or death if they fell. Alex Honnold is one of the most well recognized free solo climbers who ascended the 2,224-foot (678 m) Regular Northwest Face route on Yosemite's Half Dome in two hours and fifty minutes.
Why just surf when you fly across the water? Traditional kiteboarding is a surface water sport that combines aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paragliding into one experience. A kiteboarder relies on wind power while being attached to a large controllable power kite and is propelled across the water on a kiteboard, similar to a wakeboard. Kiteboarding and can also be done on ice, sand and snow.
If you crave speed and aren’t a fan of the elements, street luge may be the sport for you. How does flying down a pavement hill lying on a fitted skateboard sound? The sport relies on gravity to propel the rider down the course at extreme speeds. Since your body is mere centimeters above the ground, it allows the rider to feel every bump and twist in the road. Given the riders' proximity to the ground, there are opportunities to be as aerodynamic as possible and reach speeds of 60 mph.
Have you ever seen a flying squirrel? Visualize the same concept and morph it into a suit. Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying via jumpsuit that increases the surface area of the body to enable lift. Wingsuit flyers launch via plane or BASE-jump heights and have built-in parachute equipment. On May 28, 2011, Japanese wingsuit pilot Shin Ito set a world record for the fastest speed reached in a Wingsuit, reaching 363 km/h (226 mph).
Invented in the early 1990’s in Hawaii, tow-in surfing allows surfers to reach wave heights of 25-30 feet high or larger. To reach these heights, surfers are literally towed into the breaking waves by jet skis. It has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in surfing history. Garrett McNamara currently holds the Guinness World record for tow-in surfing and was recorded surfing a 78-foot wave in November 2011 in Nazaré, Portugal.
Parkour = agility. With a goal of getting from point A to B in the most efficient way possible, participants of the sport bounce, fly and climb over challenging obstacles without hesitation. Propelled only by their bodies, it involves speed and lightening-quick reaction times to know how to navigate a specific route. Parkour can include obstacle courses, running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling and quadrupedal movement depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation. Generally practiced in urban settings, it can be done solo or practiced in groups.