We live in an age of extreme sports. At no other time in history has technology, leisure and sheer nerve come together to produce such a variety of death defying, adrenaline pumping activities.
On land, in the air and water we can go faster, higher and crazier than humans have ever done before. Extreme water sports are no different, simple principles and techniques are tinkered with, amped up and a new kind of buzz is created. We look at some of the most adrenaline packed water sports that have one thing in common – nerves of steel are required.
Flyboarding is the latest thrill on water and has only been around for a couple of years. It is one of the more complex and costly sports requiring a dedicated personal water craft or PWC. This small vessel produces the juice in the form of a high velocity jet of water which is piped into the flyboarders strap-on boots and arm bands creating a super powerful jetpack. Once in motion the flyboarder looks like Iron Man goofing around, soaring to heights of 50 feet (15 meters) and diving straight down into the water where the propulsion allows the boarder to travel through the water at speed.
It is expensive and requires at least 2 hours of training and a smooth unobstructed body of water but then the thrills never end. It is becoming widely available world wide but the Mediterranean, Florida Lakes, St Kitts and Barcelona are favored locations.
Wake-boarding looks almost pedestrian in comparison to Flyboarding but make no mistake this will get your heart pumping. Batwing, tantrum, whirlybird are just a few of the tricks a practiced wakeboarder can pull off. With a buoyant board and a special V drive propulsion boat the boarder can reach speeds up to 25 miles (40 kilometers) an hour, using the wake to get air and take off into a variety of complex moves.
A still and large body of water is preferred and some of the world’s most scenic lakes make great wake-boarding locations. Try Lake Como in Italy, Lake Bled in Solvenia, or Lake Malawi in Africa.
You can white water raft anywhere in the world there are steep river valleys and high velocity of water. All that is required is a durable inflatable raft, a river filled with rough water and a devil may care attitude. Some stunning locations to ride rapids are Rio Upano in Equator, the Futaleufu River in Chile and Sun Kosi River in Nepal. It is sport with an international scale of difficulty from one to six, six being likely or probable death!
New Zealanders have invented the black water version which takes place deep underground in a limestone cave system in the Waitomo Caves on the North Island. The Black Abyss ride has the most thrills and takes a grueling 5 hours with waterfalls drops, rappelling 110 feet (34 meters) down rock faces, and squeezing through narrow cave entrances into underground river systems.
Last but not least, one of the most simple and fun adrenaline packed water sports is kiteboarding. This sport is a hybrid of wake-boarding, windsurfing and paragliding. Requirements are a good stiff breeze and a board with a sail. The sail harnesses the wind and moves the board and rider along at speed. The current record on a kite surf is 50 knots – that is over 55 miles an hour (90 kilometers) an hour! Free-styling uses the momentum of the wind to get big air and do jumps and tricks. It is a spectacular spectator sport and has its own Olympic event. For exotic favorite locations try Maui, Tarifa in Spain and Baja California.
What would you add to the most adrenaline packed water sports in the world?