Extreme sports, defined as adventure or non-traditional sports, have boomed in popularity since the 1990s. These sports are characterised by high risk and high speeds, with common examples including snowboarding, mountain biking, bungee jumping, skateboarding and freestyle skiing, among others. Extreme sports operate outside of regular sports activities and attract many for their adrenaline-inducing thrills.
Razi Salih, a successful businessman with interests in fintech, digital marketing and real estate, is also a big fan of extreme sports and the high risks involved. He ranks jeep driving, snowboarding, freestyle motorcycling and skydiving as some of his favourites.
Mr Salih is not alone. Around the world, millions enjoy watching and participating in extreme sports. The term itself comes from the success of the X Games, a made-for-television sports event created in 1995 by ESPN, a sports cable network based in Bristol, Connecticut. Beyond this event, extreme sports have also made their way to the Olympic Games, with mountain biking and snowboarding debuting in the mid-1990s.
In addition to the more popular forms of extreme sports, there are several lesser-known examples that interested individuals can consider.
Freshwater Cave Diving
If scuba diving in the open waters of the ocean isn’t thrilling enough, diving down into submerged cave systems is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of course, this activity has to be experienced in a location with such a cave system, and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico has the largest concentration of sinkholes in the world.
Ice climbers go up icy formations with the use of special climbing equipment such as crampons, ice axes and ropes. While it is similar to mountain climbing, the main difference is that ice climbing is done in an icy environment. It’s a dynamic sport that requires good technique, precision and intelligence. One false move can be costly, which is why ice climbers have to practice adequately.
Ice climbers know that not all ice is the same. That’s why the sport has two sectors: alpine ice and water ice. The former is present in a mountain environment, with the snow having compacted and aged over time. Water ice forms from frozen waterfalls and similar water runoffs, with climbers navigating a more vertical surface.
Kiteboarding is a water sport that brings together aspects of surfing, paragliding, windsurfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Kiteboarders typically hold on to a large hand-controlled kite, using a board (similar to those used by surfers) to glide across the water with the wind powering them. The sport emerged in the late 1970s and has its origins in the south of France. To get their kites up in the sky, kiteboarders require minimum wind speed to get going.
Whitewater rafting is a sport where individuals in an inflatable raft navigate downstream on river rapids. It’s considered highly challenging, especially in fast-moving waters, and requires teams to work together. Typically, many rafting competitions are held on natural river courses that have rapids. Competitors can expect to participate in either sprints (riders complete a course using the best route) or slalom events, which introduce turns that riders have to navigate around.
Bouldering is considered the simplest form of rock climbing as it doesn’t require the use of a harness or rope. In most instances, the climb is a short one that requires less endurance but more power and technique. The sport is practiced in areas with big boulders or indoors (bouldering gyms). Without the use of ropes, beginners can get straight into climbing and learn as they practice.
Canyoning is considered one of the fastest-growing adventure sports in the world. It requires outdoor enthusiasts to explore gorges, rivers and other parts of a canyon that might be deemed inaccessible. Whether this involves swimming, jumping off a waterfall, walking or climbing, it demands the use of many different skills.