Extreme Water Sports
Want To Take Your Body To The Next Level?
Some people love a relaxing afternoon spent on the water, while others use water as a venue for their extreme sports. Just as air and land are the sites for numerous extreme sports, water has its share of activities that offer a combination of thrills and danger. Whether it’s a river, a lake or an ocean, you can expect to find these bodies of water full of daredevils when the weather is right. You might choose to attempt some of these extreme sports when you’re feeling courageous during a weekend at the cottage; others, you might not ever have the nerve to conquer.
Hotspots: South Africa, Mexico, Bahamas
Most people have a pretty strong fear of sharks, which is why shark diving is arguably the most extreme water sport. Not only are you facing the multitude of risks associated with scuba diving but you’re also adding the unpredictability of sharks to the mix. This activity isn’t for the faint of heart. Sure, you might have a steel cage between you and the razor-sharp teeth, but the cage isn’t completely comforting. If you really want to push your luck, some diving centres (including a few in the Bahamas) have cage-free shark diving.
Gear recommendation: Goggles are important any time you dive, but wearing frameless goggles increases your field of vision significantly, which is crucial when you’re in the water with sharks. Atomic’s line of aquatic goggles includes several frameless models with virtually unparalleled lines of sight.
Hotspots: Mexico, Hawaii
Cliff diving is a common occurrence at rivers and lakes throughout the world — nearly everyone has dove off a short cliff into the water at some point in their lives, although doing so doesn’t exactly qualify you as an extreme sport athlete. But as the cliff gets higher, the stakes get a little more dangerous; get a bunch of competitive people together, and it’s likely that one of them will challenge his buddies to see who can jump from the highest point. The most famous cliff divers in the world are Mexico’s La Quebrada Cliff Divers, who perform routines from cliffs more than 100 feet in height.
Gear recommendation: You don’t need much in the way of equipment for cliff diving except reliable swimwear (you don’t want to surface after your dive and realize your trunks are nowhere to be found). Billabong, a noted leader in recreational swim trunks, has a wide line of styles and sizes.
Hotspots: California, Hawaii, Florida
Surfing is a sport that takes years to learn and is extremely difficult to master. And once you’re accomplished enough to surf some big waves at the best surfing beaches, the risk factor is greater. Even the most accomplished surfers can wipe out, putting themselves at risk of being knocked unconscious by a hard fall, being sucked underwater by the undertow and drowning. Add sharks, jellyfish and rays to the equation and you’re faced with even more danger. Still, there are few things in sports more satisfying than riding your first big wave, which is what draws countless surfers to the ocean each year.
Gear recommendation: Surftech is renowned for its quality surfboards, many of which are used by professionals. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an affordable board or a seasoned surfer looking for the latest technology, Surftech has it all.
White Water Rafting
Hotspots: Oregon, Ontario, British Columbia
Assembling a group of friends for a white water rafting excursion is a common occurrence during the summer months. While these rides are exhilarating, they’re often not in overly dangerous waters. Experienced rafters take extreme risks on fast, unpredictable water full of rocks, logs and other hazards. Although skilled rafters can manoeuvre their rafts with precision, the unpredictable nature of the water makes this sport dangerous.
Gear recommendation: Because of the risks associated with white water rafting, having a reliable helmet is paramount. Sweet Protection produces helmets for a number of extreme sports, including those on the water. The helmets range from cap-style to those with full-face protection.
Hotspots: Florida, California, Australia
Water skiing is a common activity for cottage-goers, but when you increase the speed of the towing boat and add some obstacles, this enjoyable sport gets pretty extreme. Accomplished water skiers push themselves to perform sharp turns at high speeds and even jumps off water-mounted ramps. Some experienced skiers even shed the skis and go barefoot — a stunt that often requires the boat to operate at even faster speeds.
Gear recommendation: O’Brien water skis are a logical starting point if you’re getting serious about this extreme sport. The company’s products range in quality and design for different skill levels and are known in the industry for their quality.
Hotspots: Florida, California, Australia
A blend of such extreme sports as surfing, wakeboarding and paragliding, kite surfing involves riding a wakeboard-like board while holding a large kite, which is essentially used as a parachute. High winds propel you over the water, allowing you to hit tall waves and perform flips and other tricks. The risks of this sport are many, after all, you’re contending with the unpredictable nature of both the water and the air. But at least you’ll be able to impress your friends at a legendary beach.
Gear recommendation: Opt for a form-fitting, lightweight life jacket from Quiksilver before you attempt to kite surf. These jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved and available in several colors.
Hotspots: Hawaii, California, Australia
Like water skiing, wakeboarding involves being towed behind a powerboat at high speeds. But instead of having two water skis beneath your feet, your feet are strapped to a wakeboard (which is reminiscent of a snowboard). The speed associated with this extreme sport isn’t the biggest risk — it’s the combination of speed and tricks. Wakeboarding is synonymous with big air jumps, flips and grabs, all of which can end poorly and result in injury.
Gear recommendation: Hyperlite’s boards are the choice for countless competitive wakeboarders, but you don’t have to be a professional to give this brand of board a try. Not only are Hyperlite’s boards designed for performance, they’re also some of the catchiest looking on the market.
Hotspots: Washington, Oregon, Ontario
Don’t confuse a quiet kayak trip around the lake at your cottage with an extreme sport. But when you tackle challenging waters, the intensity of this activity gets ramped up quickly. Fast water, rocks and undertows add to the danger of kayaking, and adrenaline junkies push themselves through difficult waters that could prove catastrophic to an inexperienced paddler.
Gear recommendation: In fast-moving, unpredictable water, it’s important to have a paddle you’re extremely comfortable with. Accent sells several styles of lightweight paddles for the beginner to the expert.
Hotspots: Hawaii, Miami
Jet skiing is a perfect way to spend a relaxing day at the cottage, but add a couple other people on jet skis to the mix and you’ll often have an extreme sport involving high speeds, sharp turns and even some spills. If you think your skill behind the handlebars is up to snuff, consider joining a racing league. These leagues, which are common throughout the United States, take place on large bodies of water and require racers to navigate challenging courses at speed.
Gear recommendation: Even if you’re a competent swimmer, it’s imperative that you wear a life jac
ket when using a jet ski. Hyperlite makes a number of sleek, lightweight vests that will provide the necessary buoyancy without being bulky.
Hotspots: Hawaii, New Zealand, Caribbean
On the surface, snorkelling isn’t inherently dangerous, but in certain environments the sport can get extreme in a hurry. Many adventure seekers snorkel in scenic vacation locales such as New Zealand and the Caribbean, but these areas contain dangers including sharp coral and threatening marine life ranging from jellyfish to sharks.
Gear recommendation: A good set of snorkelling fins is important regardless of your experience level. U.S. Divers sells affordable fins in several colors and styles.
Courtesy of askmen.com