Extreme sports are no longer just about skateboarding, dirt bike racing, paragliding, bungee jumping and snowboarding. In a desire to keep challenging themselves, folks have come up with all kinds of bold and beautiful things to do like sky flying, caving, free-diving, cheese rolling, barefoot water skiing and even going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. And so the definition today of the extreme sport has evolved to include any sport that offers an adrenaline rush. If you’re one of these people that likes to feel your heart pumping and your nostrils flaring there are literally thousands of challenging choices out there on earth, in the air, on water, by motor or on snow.

The basics

Extreme sports have always received a lot of attention and not just because of the loss of life that unfortunately occurs or the risky behavior entailed. Some have been painted as ludicrous; for example extreme ironing which involves mixing one of the world’s most mundane activities (ironing) with one of the world’s most dangerous activities (deep sea diving or rock climbing).

Many sports have gained a reputation as being “extreme” because they are a variation of a safer sport. For example bicycling is relatively safe but when you add in fast downhill rides or technical turns and jumps you have the extreme sport of mountain biking.

The great thing though is that an extreme sport can be personally rated as such. So if you’ve never skateboarded before that might become your extreme challenge before you move on to the out-of-this-world downhill versions, or if you’ve done some skydiving you might want to try sky surfing, or if you’ve skied plenty try snowboarding or heli skiing. As long as you get your adrenalin rush you can call it extreme.

Options for beginners

Extreme sports test your limits and take you out of all comfort zones so in that respect everyone is a beginner. Although obviously if you have no experience diving your first venture shouldn’t be ice, cave or shark diving. And your first air born rush probably shouldn’t be base jumping; try bungee jumping or sky diving first.

Good operators will want to see evidence of some experience and ability before they put you at risk so there should be little chance of you getting out of your depth in a supervised environment. The best thing for beginners is to stay safe while testing the limits. Mistakes in these sports are costly and can result in serious injury or death of the competitor. So if it’s your first time on a mountain bike keep your speed down, on a motorbike stick to paved roads before you go off road and if you’re surfing try the small waves first. Always wear recommended safety gear like pads, guards, gloves, ankle support and helmets.

Options for advanced

There are limitless opportunities for advanced extreme sports. You can really go as far as you dare with the smorgasbord of choice available. However if you’re in this category do be ware: more deaths occur each year amongst advanced participants in extreme sports than beginners. This is generally a result of over confidence that can affect your judgment. Don’t be lured into a false sense of your capabilities when you’re actually pushing the envelope. Fortunately advances in equipment and training have reduced the chance of injury and death.

Click here for Things to Consider About Extreme Sports Travel