There are hundreds of sports out there to try and as life’s too short to fit them all in, we have put together a comprehensive list of extreme sports and thrilling activities to add to your bucket list. From old favourites such as Bungee Jumping and Sky Diving to the latest trends such as Parkour and Blobbing, find out which ones are for you.
1. Scuba Diving
A popular holiday activity that is easily accessible, scuba diving provides an unforgettable underwater experience. SCUBA is actually an abbreviation for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, meaning it gives us the opportunity to go deeper and be underwater for longer periods of time than is naturally possible. The Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef are known to be the world’s best scuba diving locations. Scuba Diving is a fairly low danger extreme sport with the right guidance and training.
Suitable for beginners, wakeboarding is a refreshing and exhilarating surface watersport. Cable wakeboarding involves holding onto a rope which is pulled by a mechanism that rides the participant and the wakeboard around the water. Most wakeboarding circuits also include challenging obstacles and jumps to add to the thrill.
Another popular surface watersport, Kitesurfing uses the power of the wind to draw the participant and the kiteboard across the water. There are various styles of kitesurfing including freestyle, freeride, downwinders, speed kitesurfing, course racing, wakestyle kitesurfing, jumping focused kitesurfing and kitesurfing in the waves.
Parasailing is a watersport activity where usually a boat (but sometimes a car or a truck) tows a person attached to a parasail wing along. As the moving anchor drives, the parasail wing lifts the person into the air. A scenic and fairly relaxing extreme sport, parasailing is a popular holiday activity and suitable for beginners.
5. Barefoot Skiing
Barefoot skiing is basically water skiing without the skis. Not one for the faint hearted, this sport involves a lot of strength and endurance. In order for the skier to achieve the perfect balance, the participants weight and the speed of the pulling moving vehicle is calculated to allow the skier to use the barefoot skiing technique to their best ability.
A sport which can be as extreme as the participant wishes, kayaking involves using a kayak boat to travel along the water. Often confused as being the same as canoeing, kayaking participants have a slightly different sitting position and paddle, the seated position is legs at the front, and the paddle is double-bladed. Depending on the aggressiveness of the water the kayaker chooses to travel on depends on the extremity of this sport. A great leisure activity for team building as well as a thrilling water adventure, there’s not much not to dislike when it comes to kayaking.
Another popular holiday watersport, windsurfers use a longboard that is powered by the wind with a sail attached to the board. Advanced windsurfers can perform jumps, spinning tricks and loops on the water. Depending on the level of experience of the surfer depends on where they would choose to surf and on what waves, making it a great sport to develop in.
A form of underwater diving, freediving involves diving without the breathing aid that traditional diving emcompasses. It is down to the diver’s skill and ability to hold their breath for as long as possible. There are many forms of freediving which are slightly less extreme than freediving in the ocean. Synchronized swimming, underwater football, rugby and hockey are also classed as freediving activities. Freediving needs dedication, mindfulness and a lot of practice to be able to train the body to hold the breath for such long periods of time.
Another popular surface water sport which involves riding moving waves to move effectively across the water. The best waves for surfing are in the ocean but surfers can also use lakes and rivers where artificial waves can be created by a machine. A fun and challenging extreme sport that is known to be one of the most addictive!
10. White Water Rafting
A common group leisure activity, white water rafting involves using an inflatable raft to travel through rough water. White water rafting as an extreme sport is often carried out on dangerous sections of water with various obstacles to overcome. An exhilarating sport either way, that is fun and builds team spirit.
11. Waterfall Kayaking
One of the scariest extreme sports out there, waterfall kayaking is not for the faint hearted. It involves travelling in a Kayak through waterfalls often at a very steep height and through extremely fast currents. Drops can reach around 180 ft, but believe it or not it’s not just a case of falling through the waterfall and hoping for the best, there is a technique needed to travel down the waterfall successfully. This involves tucking up and landing nose first, in order to absorb some of the impact from the water and ride through the waves successfully.
12. Shark Cage Diving
Using all the same techniques as traditional diving, this activity is for the ultimate thrill seeker. Specific cages are built underwater and participants are placed inside the cage amongst sharks. The sharks are attracted to the cage using bait enabling the diver to be almost face to face with this fascinating creature. Although many would pass because of safety fears, the cages are custom made for shark cage diving so it is guaranteed the shark won’t be able to break in – although like all extreme sports it’s important to choose to participate in this activity with a reputable company!
Flowriding is similar to surfing, snowboarding and wakeboarding but is practised on an artificial wave machine which pumps a powerful three-inch layer of water at speeds usually between 20-30mph. Flowriding is a competitive sport with the two divisions being bodyboarding and flowboarding. Riders can also perform tricks whilst flowriding, making it an interesting and easy accessible sport.
A popular boardsport which involves the participant using a skimboard to skim across the water’s surface and meet a breaking wave. Skimboards are very similar to surfboards but are smaller and do not have fins. Boarders will carry out a variety of surface and air manoeuvres whilst on the board. Skimboarding differs from surfing as it involves starting on the beach by placing the skimboard on the thin wash of previous waves, it is then down to the rider to use their momentum to get to the breaking waves which they will then catch – as surfers do. A great sport to get into alongside surfing to advance existing skills, skimboarding is an extremely fun and adventurous sport.
Participants sit on a giant inflatable which is referred to as either a water trampoline or a blob, another participant then jumps on the inflatable blob and the person already on the blog is launched into the water. A hilarious water sport that is commonly used at summer camps in the USA. The greatest height achieved from blobbing is 22 metres which was a Guinness World Record in 2012 – definitely one to beat!
Otherwise known as extreme pogo, this action packed sport involves using a pogo stick to perform dangerous and skillful moves. A popular extreme sport to watch, it is fairly new to the scene but becoming an increasingly popular challenge to some adrenaline junkies.
Skateboarding involves riding on a skateboard to perform jumps and other tricks, often on a ramp. Said to be an art form by many, extreme skateboarding involves an incredible amount of skill, strength and practice.
Sandboarding is very similar to snowboarding apart from the fact it is performed on sand. Riders will ride down a dune whilst standing on a board usually strapped to their feet. Sandboards are specifically designed to slide freely through the sand therefore the base to the board is a lot harder than a snowboard. The perfect dune can be hard to track down so sandboarding isn’t a sport that many have the luxury to experience frequently.
19. Volcano Boarding
Otherwise known as Volcano surfing or ash boarding, this sport is practised on the slopes of a volcano. Surfers usually hike up to the top of the volcano and surf down either sitting or standing on a board. There are, of course, a lot of risks involved, such as being hit by falling lava or breathing in poisonous gases. The volcanic ash can also cut the surfer so protective clothing and goggles should be worn when volcano surfing.
This is a fun activity that even children can get involved with. Zorbing is the act of rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball – otherwise known as an orb. Zorbing can also be done on water where the inflatable ball floats on the water. Participants can either be harnessed or can run along with the orb, meaning they won’t go upside down. Harnessing is not recommended for those who get travel sick though!
21. Street Luge
Another gravity powered extreme sport which is very similar to the bobsledding with a narrow track but this time it’s on a road. Riders use a street luge board to power through the tracks at high speeds. An exhilarating and dangerous sport that needs a high level of skill
and knowledge to prevent accidents.
One of the more technically challenging extreme sports, caving involves exploring the many caves around the world – the challenge all depends on the cave that is being explored. Conditions can be dark with various uneven surfaces, water hazards and small spaces. Often disregarded as an extreme sport due to the slow paced exploration nature of caving, there are various dangers involved to this activity as well as dedication, practice and knowledge but as with all extreme sports it depends how extreme you go, which location you choose and how you to choose to practise.
Developed from military training, the idea of Parkour is to get from one point to another without using any aid. Usually practised in complex locations, participants must use running, climbing and jumping to their greatest ability in order to overcome natural or urban hurdles. Fascinating to watch this sport involves movements very similar to those practised in martial arts. Parkour needs a lot of body strength, balance and problem solving skills in order to navigate from point to point.
24. Running of the Bulls
Typically held in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Southern France, Running of the Bulls involves running in front of a cattle of bulls weighing in at around 590 kg that have been let loose on the streets, there are usually around six bulls to run. The week long festival of Sanfermines is renowned for it’s Running of the Bulls event where over 1,000 people take part the 850m run which lasts around 2 and a half minutes. A heart dropping experience that has caused 15 fatalities since 1924, it is an activity that even the XtremeGo team wouldn’t jump to try.
Abseiling is a controlled vertical drop off of a rock face using a rope and other climbing equipment. As the saying goes ‘what goes up, must come down’ abseiling can be a challenging extreme sport to nail and involves a degree of technique to successfully land.
26. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing is often practised on features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs covered with frozen ice. Depending on the type of ice and feature that is being climbed, the climber will choose specialised equipment to help them reach the top of the feature. Equipment ranges from specific ice climbing boots, ice axes and ice screws. A spectacular hobby to get into for a sense of adventure that also requires problem solving.
27. Rock Climbing
Climbers can either climb across natural rock or artificial rock walls, indoors or outdoors. A fantastic sport that involves a lot of body strength, endurance and problem solving skills, rock climbing is usually possible to practise all year round with an array of indoor climbing centres and outdoor climbing walls. Many avid climbers will venture on a climbing holiday to spectacular locations around the world to put their skills into practise on natural climbing walls.
28. Hang Gliding
Hang glider pilots are suspended from their gliders by a harness and the pilot usually launches into the air from a hill which is facing into the wind to successfully lift off. If there are no cliffs available it is also possible to launch by being towed by a motorised winch on the land. A scenic and calming extreme sport which isn’t dangerous with the right amount of knowledge and training.
Paragliding is a recreational sport using a paraglider. The pilot sits in a harness which is connected to a fabric wing, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing allow the glider to fly for hours covering hundreds of miles. A calming sport which provides the same freedom as hang gliding but that is easier to land and a more lightweight ride.
This hugely popular extreme sport, involves the skydiver jumping out of an airplane midflight and using a parachute to land safely to the ground. Known to be addictive and a common charity fundraiser activity skydiving is easily obtainable and can be done with little training if the jump is supported by an experienced diver.
31. Canyon Swinging
The clue is in the name with canyon swinging. The participant lowers themselves down a cliff, usually by around 100m, and a specially designed system then allows you to swing vertically and horizontally. An activity which usually provides spectacular views and for those less confident, speeds can usually be adjusted to the participant’s desire.
32. Bungee Jumping
A slightly more traditional adrenaline filled activity, bungee jumping involves jumping from a high structure whilst the participant’s feet are connected to an elastic cord. Once the jumper has jumped from the structure the elastic cord bounces before coming to stillness. Jumps are taken head first given a free-falling sensation before being rebounded by the elastic cord.
33. Base Jumping
Base Jumping involves either parachuting or using a wingsuit to fly from a fixed structure. Base is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth which are the various objects jumpers can launch off of. One of the most dangerous extreme sports, Base Jumping is even illegal in some counties. We suggest you do your research before attempting this one.
34. Wingsuit flying
Using a wingsuit which allows you to glide through the air, this is a popular thrilling activity. The wingsuit has material between the legs and arms providing a larger surface area than the standard human body, therefore providing ample lift. Wingsuits have been nicknamed ‘flying squirrel suits’ and ‘birdman suits’ as not only do they look similar they also provide the same feeling of freely flying through the air.
A zip-line is a long piece of cable which is attached to a pulley. The participant sits on the pulley and is propelled by gravity from one end of the cable to the other. Some zip lines can be extremely high with the world’s highest being The Monster in Puerto Rico which is 7,234 feet long! Most zip-lines are in stunning locations, whether it is through rainforests or oceans they are guaranteed to provide a fun and exhilarating experience.
A type of skydiving, freeflying involves the traditional belt to earth falling position however this extends into a vertical position where the skydiver falls feet first or head first. This allows the diver to pick up more speed which makes it slightly more dangerous to the average skydive
37. BMX racing
Derived from motocross racing, BMX racing has hit the scene as a popular off-road biking activity. Using a BMX bike specifically, riders race on a custom made track with various rollers and jumps. An exhilarating sport, which involves more skill than meets the eye
38. Downhill Mountain Biking
A specific type of mountain biking, downhill mountain biking involves practising on steep, rough hills with jumps. A cheaper and more obtainable sport alternative to motocross, mountain biking needs the rider to have a high level of fitness – and bravery!
39. Hardcourt Bike Polo
A form of Bicycle polo, Hardcourt Bike Polo involves teams of riders using mallets to hit a ball into the goal. Hardcourt Bike Polo tournaments take part all over the world as it is an easily accessible, fun and slightly thrilling team sport. Riders must have a good amount of body strength balance and hand eye coordination to be successful in this sport.
In this popular off-road motorcycle activity, riders use specific robust motorcycles to travel through a track with hills, jumps and sharp corners. Each motocross track is different, making it a great sport to travel round the country to practice. Riders will experience thrills and speed whilst riding, making it the perfect sport for a piston head.
41. Motorcycle Racing
This could either be in the form of road racing or off-road racing. There are many different forms of motorcycle racing from circuit race styles such as Superbike Racing, Supersport Racing and Motorcycle Grand Prix to off-road styles such as Motocross, Enduro, Hare Scramble and Cross-Country Rally. An addictive sport that is thrilling as well as physically and mentally challenging.
42. Auto Racing
Auto Racing involves the racing of automobiles for competition, whether it is Formula Racing, Sports Car Racing, Rallying, Kart Racing or Off-Road Racing, there are a huge range of styles for racers to choose from. Whilst Rallying and Kart Racing are often partaken for leisure, sports such as Formula Racing are most commonly practised professionally as the cost to regularly get on the track and own a vehicle can be extortionate.
43. Truck Racing
Another form of motor racing, truck racing involves modified versions of heavy trucks competing on a racing circuit. First originating in America, truck racing has spread and is now increasingly popular in the UK and the rest of the world. The maximum speed restrictions for this sport is 100mph and the maximum weight for the truck is 5500 kg for safety reasons, although like all extreme sports there are risks.
Most will familiarise this sport with the popular film Cool Runnings, bobsledding involves teams of two or four travelling through narrow iced tracks in a gravity powered sled. Bobsleighs can reach speeds of 93 mph, with the current world record being 125 mph. A very dangerous sport which needs a high amount of skill.
45. Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
An extreme sport to some and not to to others, Alpine skiing and snowboarding involves travelling through the snow on either a pair of skis or a snowboard. It depends how high and on what slopes the rider chooses to go on which makes it extreme or not so extreme! A great holiday activity and suitable for beginners with the right training.
Another Ice Sport in the Winter Olympics, the Skeleton is run on the same ice track as bobsledding however riders lay face down and forward facing on a sled. Speeds can exceed 80mph.
47. Freestyle Skiing
A Winter Olympic sport, freestyle skiing is a popular extreme sport which involves aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe where skiers perform big airs, flips, twists and other tricks down the half-pipe and slopestyle which features rails, jibs, hips and a variety of jumps. A fun sport for advanced skiers to get involved with.
Otherwise known as Kite Skiing, this snow sport uses a kite to help glide the skier through the snow and over high jumps. A snowboard or a ski can be used as a base to the kite. Kiteboarders often use foil kites which create the perfect amount of power. A sport that can be very dangerous due to wind directions, skiers must be experienced before heading out on the slopes alone.
49. Ski Jumping
Often associated with the television programme ‘The Jump’ which showcased the true danger of Ski Jumping with various contestants suffering from injuries, this is not one for the faint hearted! Ski Jumping is an olympic sport which involves jumping off a ramp and landing softly on a hill. In the Olympic Sport athletes are assessed by the distance of the jump and the level of technique throughout the jump. A great sport for experienced skiers to try out, even just on a small scale.
50. Ice Cross Downhill
A highly competitive sport which involves skating with ice skates down a walled track which has the usual obstacles of sharp turns and sudden drops. Red Bulls Crashed Ice is one of the official world tour for ice cross downhill, where professionals compete against each other. A sport which needs a solid ice skating background, strength and endurance with some serious courage.