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Extreme Sports

Take it to the extreme

Does your idea of a good time not involve curling up on your sofa with a good book? Perhaps you enjoy something a little riskier in your spare time, or are happiest when things are a little tense? If so, then perhaps extreme sports are for you!

What You're in For

So just what are extreme sports, anyway? Also called action sports or adventure sports, extreme sporting includes activities that are considered somewhat dangerous. Often involving fast speeds, radical drops in height or other intense factors, extreme sports are also characterized by their requirement of specialized gear. Examples include bungee jumping (wherein your feet are tied to a long, elastic cord and you jump from a tall height, the cord springing you back up like a yo-yo), cliff diving (where, simply, you dive off a cliff), skydiving and street luge (which involves swooshing down an asphalt track on a tiny, wheeled apparatus).

A slightly different category is extreme motor sports, in which a vehicle of some sort is used. Examples include powerboat racing, ATV riding, "mud trucking" (driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle on unpaved paths, usually in a forest or swampland) and snowmobile riding.

What to Wear

As with any specialized hobby, there is a broad market for extreme sports accessories. Buying the proper extreme sports gear is vitally important, since the activities are considered so dangerous. In many cases, the difference between a helmet and no helmet might be your life!

For example, paintball equipment includes highly specialized guns, special bullets filled with paint, helmets, protective eyewear and some body padding. Motocross racers need all kinds of padding that not only protects, but is also comfortable and non-restrictive. Scuba divers must invest in wetsuits, oxygen tanks and gauges, masks and fins.

How much you want to spend on such gear is up to you – you can usually find used accessories in fairly good condition, and creative extreme sportsmen can make some of the gear themselves. But remember, this extreme sports equipment might save your life someday. Is that worth saving a few bucks?

What to Consider

If you're not concerned with the (financial and physical) costs of extreme sports, your first step should be to learn about which particular activities might interest you. Watch an extreme sports video or two, detailing exactly what you're in for, or talk to local extreme sports aficionados. Make sure you know the risks and are comfortable taking them before you jump head-first (no pun intended) into a potentially dangerous new hobby.