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Adventure Sports

Adventure sports range from traditional to the extreme. Learn more.

Rock jumping is one of the most outrageous adventure sports. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Rock jumping is one of the most outrageous adventure sports.

Those participating in adventure sports, sometimes called extreme sports, experience high levels of excitement, adrenaline rushes, physical exertion and sometimes danger. Adventure sports usually take place outside, and can involve exotic destinations or special equipment.

Adventure sports have counterculture tendencies and involve rule improvisation and limit pushing. Marketing has made adventure sports more of a business and mainstream activity.

Most Dangerous Adventure Sports

Although most adventure sports have some element of danger, some push the envelope more than others do. These include:

  • Street luging. This adventure sport requires riding a board on wheels down paved roads. The most dangerous form occurs on traveled roads. A luge is a gravity-powered board that moves on wheels on which the rider lies down.
  • Rock fishing. The Department of Justice, Victoria, Australia considers rock fishing Australia's most dangerous aquatic sport. It involves fishing from rock ledges and submerged rocks. People risk losing their footing.
  • Cave diving. Since 1950, nearly 400 cave divers perished in Florida alone. The dangerous adventure sport involves diving into underwater caves and caverns.
  • Base jumping. Base jumpers use parachutes to jump off fixed locations such as cliffs and bridges.
  • Kite jumping. In this adventure sport, the wind carries people for short flights as they clutch large, power kites. This adventure sport is extremely dangerous and frequently causes injuries, if not death.
  • Free diving. When free diving, divers plunge deep into the ocean with a single breath. Free diving does not use mechanical breathing equipment, according to Freedive.net. At minimum, free dives last 45 seconds and go 30 feet deep.
  • Freestyle motocross. Freestyle motocross riders push the envelope continually during races. They also ride up ramps and into windy conditions. One freestyle motocross racing star died while attempting a motorcycle back flip. Freestyle motocross is called FMX.

Most Outrageous Adventure Sports

Some adventure sports are especially outrageous. They include:

  • Rock jumping. Jumping between rocks doesn't sound like a big deal, but some rock jumpers leap distances greater than 100 feet and some jumpers jump without ropes. According to the New York Times, rock jumping originated in the Czech Republic.
  • Staged obstacle events. Some races are staged so that they are extremely dangerous. The "Peak Death Race" warns a participant to expect barbed wire, wood chopping, deep water diving, crawling, crying, screaming and sweating. The Peak Death Race takes place at a Vermont farm.
  • Extreme ironing. People attempt to iron clothing while in dangerous destinations, such as parachuting or biking.
  • Zorbing. Zorbing is an unusual adventure sport in which participants can roll down a hill inside a large, inflatable ball. Zorb explains that the adventure sport was created in New Zealand.
  • Shark cage diving. Divers swim next to great white sharks while enclosed within a floating cage constructed of steel mesh.

Traditional Adventure Sports

Some traditional adventure sports still provide an adrenaline rush. They include:

  • Skateboarding. Skateboarders are often used to hard falls into the pavement.
  • Snowboarding. Snowboarding has become a large industry that sells $140 million worth of equipment per year, reports the New York Times.
  • Freeskiing. Freeskiing is a competitive sport that involves sailing as high as 32 feet into the air and performing maneuvers such as tail grabs. Some freeskiers reach speeds of 55 miles per hour before launching into the air.
  • BMX. BMX cycling involves modified children's bicycles, which are used to perform jumps and tricks.
  • Survivalism. Survivalists in places such as the African bush make their own rope, beds and animal traps. They must deal with all of the elements, including wild animals.
  • Snowshoe races. New England's snowshoe race, a physical endurance test, runs marathon length.
  • Rock climbing. Rock climbing has existed since the days of ancient civilizations. Rock climbers use ropes and other equipment to scale the surfaces of cliffs and large rock formations.
  • Adventure racing. Adventure racing can be a combination of mountain biking, river boarding, mountaineering and other activities. Some races last as long as 48 hours and participants are often in teams.

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