Top 5 Extreme Sports

Ordinary sports, although fun, are too tame and simple for some people. Thrill seekers from around the world participate in all kinds of extreme sports which are pleasurable to some and absolutely terrifying to others. Here are the top 5 extreme sports in the world, try them at your own risk...

Skydiving

Sky diving is an extremely thrilling sport where an individual leaps from an aeroplane and free falls until they reach a safe height to open their parachute and safely descend to the ground.

Although parachuting was done quite a while ago, the first parachute jump being made by André-Jacques Garnerin in 1797 where he jumped from a hot air balloon over Paris, making him the inventor of the parachute. This was an early version of a parachute however, and did not have a ripcord.

Once ripcords were added to parachutes the sport of sky diving was born with Leslie Leroy Irvin making the first free fall jump in 1919. The military used parachutes for rescue purposes and deployment of troops on the battlefield but it was until the 1930s that the first sky diving competitions were held. Sky diving then became an internationally recognised sport in 1952.

Although skydiving is a recreational activity and an extreme sport, it is also performed for many non recreational activities. Modern day armed forces use parachutes to deploy troops and are very popular among Special Forces. In some places in America where forest fires are common, firefighters are sent in using parachutes to reach otherwise inaccessible areas made by the intense inferno.

The largest mass military deployment via parachutes was in the Netherlands in 1944, 20,000 allied troops were sent in by parachute during Operation Market Garden.

If you are thinking to take up sky diving, make sure you do your research and evaluate the risks as this sport is extremely dangerous but also a life changing experience that can be really enjoyable for some.

Surfing

Surfing is a water sport where an individual rides waves on board at sea.

Surfing originates from Polynesian culture where it has been practised for hundreds of years not a sport but as an important facet of life. Surfing was first observed by outsiders in the 1760s where it then became a popular sport. Surfing is enjoyed by many people and has now become a part of beach culture and a fantastic way to keep fit beyond the gym.

Surfing for recreational purposes became popular when, in 1907, Henry E. Huntington was thinking of ways to attract visitors on the Redondo Beach on the California Coast where he owned many of the properties. He hired a young Hawaiian to surf on the beach and at once the beach became a popular surfing hot spot. George Freeth was the inventor of the modern long board made by cutting the original 500 cm hard board in half which required much skill to use.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an extreme sport where a climber attempts to either climb a natural rock formation or an artificial one in order to reach the summit.

Professional climbers don’t just climb for pleasure but also climb for competitions which are sometimes in the form of races or an exceptionally difficult rock face is chosen and climbers are tested based on the distance they can climb since reaching the summit in this kind of competition is an arduous task.

No two rock faces are the same and this has obviously led to different styles being developed. One of these styles is call scrambling, a mixture of rock climbing and hiking where the climber walks up a steep hill with the aid of his hands, this is different to regular rock climbing which is normal on a vertical rock face and the climber puts all the weight on his arms.

The earliest record in the history of rock climbing dates back to paintings from 200 BC which show Chinese men climbing rocks. 12th Century Native Americans from the Anasazi tribe were said to be excellent climbers but rock climbing gained popularity in Europe during the 19th century during mountaineering expeditions.

Rock climbing is such a fun and amazing sport, if you don’t have the time to pursue this extreme sport abroad you can search for indoor rock climbing facilities near you, don’t despair as some indoor rock faces can be quite a challenge too!

Rafting

Terrible tides and swift rapids are a natural place for extreme water sports and rafting will bring you all the thrill and joy you can get in the water.

Whilst some people tend to take part in rafting on slow moving rivers which aren’t considered risky, other thrill seekers take part in white water rafting which is more dangerous, there are six classes each of is more swift, this requires much courage and good teamwork skills.

Rafts are inflatable and can either hold one person with a double bladed paddle or a larger raft which holds a team of people with single bladed paddles for use on either side; this is when teamwork comes into play. Although rafting is said to have started in America in 1811, many indigenous people from around the world have used small craft to travel on water especially among Polynesian culture as the locals mainly lived among islands and relied on rafts and canoes for navigational purposes.

Although rafting is considered as a fairly safe sport with low risks, you can never be too careful and it’s a good idea to take safety precautions and carefully research the sport and area you intend to go rafting.

Snowboarding

An extreme sport in extreme conditions, snowboarding is an adrenaline fuelled, breathtaking sport which is a must try for those who like snow and travelling and crazy speeds.

Snowboarding is not just a recreational activity but is also part of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The sport involves a participant with a board attached to his feet sliding down a steep, snow covered slope. Inspirations have been taken from skiing, surfing, sledding and skateboarding for this sport and snowboarding is a fairly new innovational extreme sport.

The snowboard’s origins date back to 1965, which was originally called a ”snurfer” and was made as a toy for the daughter of Sherman Poppen from Michigan who stuck two skis together and attached a rope for safety. The snurfer soon gained popularity and began to be manufactured and sold in the millions. Other early snowboards were made from bits of carpet stuck to planks of wood and various other fittings for increased mobility but it was only until the 1970s that snowboards were produced commercially.

After many different variations and different styles of riding, not to mention a lot of publicity in magazines advertising the new sport, the art of snowboarding was born and became a strong rival to skiing.

Safety First!

All the extreme sports mentioned in this article are for informative purposes only, there isn’t a clear risk assessment and this will not suffice as the only guide you need if you are thinking of trying these sports. Be sure to do your own research and speak to experts. Have fun but stay safe!

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