Extreme activities take courage to be a participant. My hat is off to Felix Baumgartner and Alan Eustice who have set parachuting altitude records within the past few years. In the world of aquatics there are a number of extreme activities that those with a moderate amount of courage can participate in.
Cliff diving can range from a moderate to an extreme activity. For those who have limited experience, even a dive from a 10M tower can be very intimidating. For those with training and high levels of confidence, Red Bull sponsors some serious cliff diving/bridge diving events at different locations around the world.
Kayaking and whitewater rafting have classifications to define the degree of difficulty for various courses. Not only do adventure seekers participate in these activities in nature, but there are designed and built man made courses for both kayaking and whitewater rafting. The National Whitewater Center near Charlotte, NC is one of the better known man made facilities. Adjustments to the flow and courses allow for a variety of experiences from moderately extreme to preparation for Olympic competition.
Speed slides have been around for decades, but it is hard to beat the thrill of a free fall in one of these slides. A 70’ to 80’ drop is thrilling, but several waterparks have speed slides with drops of greater than 100’. The thrill of free fall comes to an abrupt end in the runout lane, but honed riding skills can make this impressive by creating a huge splash zone when coming to a stop.
The waterslide industry has been very active with designing extreme waterslides and there are a significant number of slides that can significantly raise the pulse rate. Large family raft rides have extraordinary long hang times on corners that create excitement. Roller coaster type waterslides provide uphill acceleration, ups and downs, and curves. Looping body slides take the rider through a full 360 degree loop. Body slides may start with a body capsule where the floor drops out from underneath of the rider sending the rider hurtling down the body slide. Funnel and bowl slides have steep initial descents for acceleration into the signature part of the ride through which the rider either oscillates through the funnel or spins around the inside of a bowl.
The art and science of body boarding and surfing has made its way from the beaches to many inland locations through simulated surf machines. Body boarding is fairly easy to learn although there is a learning curve to acquiring these skills. Thus as the skill level improves, the performance, ride time, and mastery of different moves emerges. If one has strong skills you can move on to surf boarding on the simulated surf machines. Although limited in size as a simulated surf machine, the surfing area is large enough to perform many moves. The extreme edge of simulated surfing includes surfing in a simulated barrel wave form. The barrel is an aggressive wave form and just like body boarding or surf boarding on any of these simulated machines, if you falter, you will be swept away.
Water based extreme activities cover a broad range of interests and activities. Both natural and man-made water sports and attractions appeal to those who are courageous. Enjoy the challenges and thrills of each activity and be safe!