MEGA LIST of Extreme Sports | Crazy Adventures & Fun Activities
Ideas for Exciting & Adventurous Hobbies
Most people want a bit of excitement or adventure in their lives...so here are a few ideas to inspire you to give a new activity or sport a go.
Below you will see lots of videos and photos of hobbies that most people can try out for fun, to things that need nerves of steel and a certain amount of madness!
Every extreme sport or adventurous pursuit I can think of is detailed here, with descriptions and inspiration to give them a go yourself. They range from fun family activities to extremely risky sports (including some illegal ones!) - please stay safe :-)
- Mountain climbing (mountaineering) is quite self-explanatory, and the higher or steeper the mountain you climb, the more extreme it gets.
- Abseiling is where you descend down a rock face using a rope. If you do mountain climbing, abseiling will probably be used in conjunction. Australian abseiling involves descending forwards (where you are looking straight down as you walk down the rock face) rather than the usual method of descending backwards.
- Hang gliding is where you are suspended from a hang glider (it's like a large wing) and the glider is launched from a hill or from an aircraft. It is not motorised and it glides in air currents - the idea is to stay gliding for as long as possible.
- Microlights are one or two seater weight-shift aircraft powered by a propeller. The aircraft are either flexi-wing or fixed-wing types, and usually run on regular petrol motors.
- Extreme ironing is the art of ironing in the most ridiculous and extreme places, from on the top a mountain, to on a deserted motorway!
- Marathons are long distance running races in which anyone can compete (although you have to have at least some degree of fitness). You can try local marathons, larger scales ones like the London Marathon, or go extreme with marathons across the globe such as the Great Wall of China marathon, desert marathons and polar ice cap marathons! Click here to see 20 races to do before you die.
- Storm chasing is where (crazy) people track down and follow tornadoes (usually), hurricanes, and all kinds of extreme storms in order to get an adrenalin rush. There are also people who do this as scientific research, but mainly it's for the adventure.
- Pony trekking, also called trail riding, is where you ride a horse in the open, on routes across open country. There are lots of tours available across the world, and you will be part of a group led by a guide.
- Parkour is all about efficient movement around obstacles, focussing on speed and fluidity going from A to B. Free running is a variation of parkour which focusses more on creativity of moves/tricks and self-expression. Both sports are done in an urban environment because there are lots of structures and obstacles to make use of.
- Parascending is where you wear a canopy (like a parachute) and are launched into the air with a vehicle or winch, and you then you glide back down to the ground. Flights usually last a few minutes each.
- Paramotoring is where you wear a motor-driven propeller on your back and use a parachute-like canopy. Good for when hills are not available for launch.
- Dog sledding involves standing on a sled being pulled along at speed by Husky dogs, usually in Scandinavian countries or Canada.
Top Rated Adventure Books
Ideal for keeping on the coffee table and for providing endless inspiration, these books are great choices for adventure seekers:
Hot Air Balloon Safari
Ideas To Inspire
- Bucket List
Why not make a list of great adventures you want to try?
- Family Adventures
Simple and fun ideas for family trips and activities.
- Incredible Adventures
Including swimming with whales, survival training and special ops.
- Extreme Adventure Holidays
Including a camel trek and many mountain climbs.
- Ten Great Races
10 races around the world including ski marathons and expeditions.
- Bungee jumping involves jumping off a tall structure such as a building or a bridge, with an elastic cord attached around your ankles. There are a range of heights available to jump around the world, and you can also bungee jump out of helicopters or a hot air balloons.
- Base jumping is jumping from the top of a tall structure such as a building, cliff or statue, and using a parachute to land. Base jumping has a much shorter fall distance than skydiving so timing is essential and the parachute is only deployed seconds before reaching the ground, so it's therefore more dangerous. Base jumping in an urban area is illegal so base jumpers often have to employ a bit of stealth (sometimes even disguises and fake IDs - much like James Bond!) to gain access to the roof of a building in order to jump off it. Illegal base jumps are often done at night.
An example of a controlled base jump is the SkyJump in New Zealand where you 'fall' straight down from a tall building whilst you are connected to a wire which controls your speed.
- Bridge swinging consists of jumping off the edge of a bridge (either facing forwards or backwards) and swinging from a rope like a pendulum underneath the bridge.
- Bridge Climbing is a walking tour to the summit of impressive bridges and back down again. A great way to get the best views of a city from high up. If you're visiting a city, check out what activities are available on landmark bridges and tall buildings - there are often walking tours around the top of tall towers such as this SkyWalk in New Zealand.
- Slacklining is where you walk along a narrow band of nylon webbing between two points. Usually this is done as a balancing exercise close to the ground, but of course people have taken it to extremes - for instance, slackling between two building. This activity is similar to highwire walking, except the wire is kept taut, not slack, and a balancing pole is usually used.
- Skydiving is where you exit from an aircraft and land on the ground using a parachute. Between leaving the aircraft and deploying the parachute is where you 'freefall'. During this time, some skydivers form formations with other divers, do acrobatics, or do crazy stunts with props they have brought along - such as mid-air ironing (on an ironing board of course), sitting in a rubber raft, or having fun with anything you don't mind destroying. People have skydived with surfboards, bikes, cars and many other objects.
- Wingsuit diving is where someone wears a 'wingsuit' outfit whilst skydiving or base jumping so that they can glide through the air horizontally rather than mostly vertically. This helps the diver/jumper stay in the air longer and travel more distance. Skysurfing is where a board similar to a snowboard is strapped onto the skydivers feet.
- Ziplining can be found in kid's playgrounds, but it can also be found on high mountains, and there are also tours available where you travel over a distance at great height using ziplines.
One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure — William Feather
Freerunning, Caving, Hot Air Balloon Safari & Bungee Jumps
- Gliding is either recreational or competitive and involves piloting an unpowered aircraft, using naturally occurring air currents to stay in the air. The gliders are launched into the air with either a powered aircraft or a winch.
- Paragliding is where you hang from a canopy similar to a parachute and are launched from a hill, or from flat land using a winch. Slightly easier to fly and transport then hang gliders, paragliders however are more hampered by strong winds.
- Stunt plane aerobatic experiences are available in different locations worldwide, where you can pay for a flight in a stunt plane so you can experience many different tricks and air acrobatics.
- Hydrofoiling is a technique applied to boards or skiis and is an extra level which goes under the water. When you are towed along by a motorboat, the level you are stood/sat on is raised above the water, giving a smoother ride which makes it easier to learn.
- Hovercrafting is where you drive a motorised vehicle, which has an air-cushioned base, over water and land at speed. It's a very smooth ride but it can take some practice to manoevre the hovercraft accurately.
- Learning to fly an airplane is quite a commitment in both time and money, but if it's something you really want to do, this skill could lead to some amazing adventures!
- Learning to fly a helicopter is a similar commitment to learning to fly a plane, and involves you taking many theory exams as well as practical tests.
- Wing walking is a fun and crazy activity which involves you being strapped onto the top of an airplane so you are standing in the open air - and then the plane does all kinds of tricks and manoeuvres to scare you senseless!
- Coasteering is a physical activity which involves moving along a rocky coastline in a variety of ways including swimming, walking, bouldering, canyoning, climbing and diving. There are no forms of transport used, it's just you and a wetsuit.
- Cliff jumping is where you jump off a cliff into a body of water. You should definitely go cliff jumping with a guide so they can tell you where and how to jump safely. Cliff diving on the other hand is dangerous and the dives are often off much higher cliffs. Cliff diving can be a competitive sport and is risky due to the impact of landing in water from a great height. 'Tombstoning' is a form of cliff jumping which involves jumping into the water vertically (like a tombstone).
- Swimming with sharks is an experience that is sure to get your adrenaline going. This can be done in the sea or in an aquarium. If swimming with Great Whites in the sea, you'll usually be in a shark cage attached to a boat. There are lots of animals that you can swim with including whales and dolphins.
- Bouldering involves climbing without a safety rope over boulders, either in an indoor climbing centre, or over natural boulders outdoors. Indoors, a crash pad is placed under the climbing surface to protect you if you fall. Outdoors, bouldering is usually done on surfaces close to the ground so you won't fall too far.
- Long distance swimming is the swimming equivalent of a marathon and takes a lot of training and planning, especially if you want to swim a famous route. One example is swimming across the English Channel, which is the 21 miles between England and France.
- Solo sea sailing can only be attempted by someone with lots of skill and experience in sailing. Only one person mans the sailboat, and this sport is usually competitive long-distance sailing.
- Deep-water soloing is a type of solo rock climbing. Difficult climbing routes are attempted on sea cliffs at high tide (with the water being used as a 'cushion' to prevent serious injury if you fall off the cliff).
- Rock hopping is the process of getting from A to B by jumping and scrambling over rocks. In the more extreme forms of th activity, people jump over large gaps between rocks with safety ropes. Rock hopping is often combined with rock climbing.
- Adventure swimming involves undertaking a swimming challenge, often involving long distances.
- Scrambling is a way of climbing up rocky faces and ridges and is a cross between hill walking and rock climbing. It differs from rock climbing in that no rope is used and hands are used for balance only rather than for holding your body weight.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Wal
Mountain Biking Trail
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – “WOW – What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
- Windsurfing is a water sport which is a cross between surfing and sailing. A windsurfer has a board connected to a large sail, with wind as the driving force.
- Kayaking is where you sit in a floating craft (a kayak) facing in the direction of where you are going and using a paddle to power your way through the water. You can kayak in the sea, a lake or a river. On the more extreme side, there is white water and waterfall kayaking.
- White water rafting is where an inflatable raft is steered down a rough 'white water' river.
- Water skiing is where you are pulled along the surface of water on skiis by a motorboat.
- Skiing is a way of traveling over snow and involves strapping your feet strapped to a pair of skiis and gliding downhill. This sport can be taken to the extreme by going faster, doing more tricks or taking part in extreme downhill skiing which is where you ski down a very steep mountain slope (more than 45 degrees). Avalanches are a major risk with extreme skiing as the route is off-piste and unchecked/untested.
- Snowboarding is very similar to skiing, except your feet are strapped to a snowboard rather than skiis.
- Surfing is where the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave, until the waves carry the surfer to the shore.
- Ice karting and skidoo racing are two of a range of activities which are only available in countries which experience very cold weather.
- Kite surfing is where the rider has their feet strapped to a board (like a surfboard) and is pulled along the water by a kite.
Potholing & Caving
- Caving is the exploration of fascinating underground caves. Some caves are tourist attractions, so if you want adventure, join a caving club and go off the beaten track with the experts. To take caving extreme, you can also combine caving with sea diving, base jumping, abseiling or ice climbing.
Caving is referred to as spelunking (amazing word!) in the U.S., and here in the UK, 'potholing' refers to an activity similar to caving but from what I understand, it involves squeezing yourself through much, much narrower cave systems and passageways.
- Mountain biking is a sport involving riding a mountain bike off-road, on rough terrain. There are different varieties of mountain biking, including cross country, trail riding, all mountain, downhill, freeride, dirt jumping and trials.
- Sand yachting is something most people can do, and it involves sitting in a 3-wheeled buggy, with a large sail utilising wind to power you along the sand.
- Mountain boarding is basically skateboarding but on hills and dirt tracks. The boards have larger, chunkier wheels than skateboards so that they can go off-road.
- Kite landboarding is where a mountain board is combined with a kite, so that you are pulled along the ground as a result of wind power.
- Kneeboarding is a surfing discipline whereby the rider kneels on the kneeboard and uses it like a surfboard to ride the waves, or is towed along by a motorboat. This sport is supposed to be easier to learn than regular surfing.
Remember what Bilbo used to say: ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” — J.R.R. Tolkien
A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd
- Hiking can be anything from a leisurely walk up a hill to attempting an extreme (usually high-up) trail. Glacier hikes and heli-hikes are also available.
- Zorbing involves hurtling down a hill whilst strapped into an inflatable ball and is a relatively new activity. Hydro zorbing is where you aren't strapped in and water is thrown into the zorb with you to ensure you get nice and drenched.
- Hot air ballooning is the oldest human-carrying flight technology and it uses hot air to generate lift whilst you stand in a wicker basket underneath the balloon.
- Safaris are certainly more of an adventure holiday than most, and you get to see some amazing things. Hot air balloon safaris are also available, to view wild animals from above.
- Adventure Racing is often a team event and the race is made up of at least two endurance diciplines such as mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, kayaking, running, horseback riding, climbing and rope skills. Races can last for up to a week or two!
- Orienteering is a fun activity to participate in as you spend lots of time in the great outdoors doing a mix of running (or walking) and map reading/navigation. You can also compete in orienteering races, where a group of people are given the same map and have to reach many checkpoints in the right order before getting to the finish line.
- For an adventure alone or with your friends, why not plan a road trip in a camper van, motorhome, car, or on a bicycle or motorbike? Perhaps you could plan to make a challenging journey with a mix of walking and other modes of transport and get sponsored for charity?
Don’t die without embracing the daring adventure your life is meant to be.” — Steve Pavlina
Slacklining & More
Helicopter Tours & Heli-Hiking
- Heli-hiking is where you are taken up to a remote area of mountainous terrain in a helicopter, and then you go on a hike (there are different levels of hike difficulty you can choose on these kinds of tours). Heli-picnics are also available.
- Scuba diving is where you swim underwater whilst breathing with the help of a scuba set. Scuba diving is usually recreational and used to explore underwater environments (including ship wrecks), or swim with underwater animals. Types of diving include cave diving, ice diving and deep sea diving which are much riskier.
- Horseback riding, camel riding and elephant riding tours allow you to experience places in a different way.
- Snow kiting is where you use a large kite (similar to a parachute) to glide on skiis or a snowboard over snow and ice. You can perform tricks, travel long distances, and travel uphill and downhill with a snow kite.
- Sand kiting is much like snow kiting except it is done on sand and you either stand or sit on a buggy.
- Sand boarding is like snowboarding but it takes place in warmer locations where there are sand dunes to board down. Sand skiing is also available to try.
- Kite surfing is where a kite is used to pull yourself along an open stretch of water. As with all the kite sports, kite flying skills are first needed to be learned whilst standing on dry land, so this is a great base skill to learn in order to be able to branch out into the many kite activities.
- Ice climbing is mountaineering but on ice surfaces such as frozen waterfalls. The equipment consists mainly of mountaineering boots, ropes, ice axes and crampons.
BMX, Mountain Biking & Wing Walking
- Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt which can be as easy or as challenging as you like, and the idea is to use a GPS-enabled device to locate hidden treasure (the 'cache'). You then take a small memento and replace it with something you have brought yourself. If you want to take it 'extreme', go on the more challenging routes available - there's even one in Antarctica!
“I do not want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” -Diane Ackerman
Extreme Skiing & Street Luge
Downhill Luge / Buttboard
- Street luge started out when people lay down on their skateboards to go downhill (called buttboarding) faster. Now there are specifically designed boards which you lie on to go down slopes, with gravity as the power. There are luge races in different countries, but if you are a beginner and just want to try out the sport, there are sit-down luges you can go on (such as these in New Zealand) which are also suitable for families.
- Extreme downhill skateboarding is skateboarding down a hill, using gravity to pick up speed. Very high top speeds make this a dangerous sport.
- Volcano boarding is something even beginners can try, and there is a popular tour available which lets you board down an active volcano in Nicaragua.
- Canyoning is a high adrenaline activity for adults and involves traveling through canyons using a range of different skills such as climbing, scrambling, walking, swimming, kayaking, abseiling or jumping (or all of the above). Gorge walking is a form of canyoning where you scramble up or down a river/stream, but is tamer and kids often participate in this activity on school adventure trips. Of course, gorge walking can be made much trickier depending on the type of river you are in.
- Cave diving is very risky and is a cross between scuba diving and caving, allowing you to discover new unexplored underwater caves. It requires a lot of specialised equipment.
- Skywalking is so dangerous (the video is enough to make me feel quite ill!) but the resulting photographs are amazing!
Gliding & Hang Gliding
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. — T.S Eliot
- Wakeboarding is a cross between snowboarding, water skiing and surfing, and was created to allow people to surf even on lakes etc which don't have waves. The boarder has a wakeboard attached to their feet, and is pulled along at around 25mph by a motorboat.
- Motorcross is where motorcycles and cross-country meet. Bikes are driven off-road and raced on often muddy circuits. It is a physically demanding sport.
- Karting is competitive racing of karts around a track, and is how almost all F1 drivers start off.
- Rock crawling is extreme off-road driving in specially designed heavy-duty vehicles. You drive over all kinds of terrain including boulders and rock piles, often with very steep surfaces.