Extreme sports are activities that are perceived to have a high level of risk of injuries or even death. It is thought that by subjecting the human body to these "extreme" experiences, the individual can experience a "high" either due to the adrenaline rush or increased level of endorphins due to physical exertion.
(1) Free soloing
This is essentially climbing up a rock surface or building without a rope. A 20-feet height is usually practical enough to be considered as free soloing. This activity is usually done by climbers who are familiar with the route and surface conditions. Considerd by many to be the "purest" form of climbing, this sport is often practised over sea cliffs, where the deep water could be a form of safety net. (However, this also increase the risks arising from wet holds, loose rocks or birds.) This sport requires the climber to have great mental strength (since there is no safety net or cords) and concentration to focus on the task. However, unpredictable weather and surface conditions often pose great hazards to the climbers. After all, all it takes is one small mistake....
This activity involves walking across a thin wire or rope tightly tied between two anchor points, usually over a great height. The key to this activity is to maintain one's balance, using either a balancing tool or one's own body ("freehand"), while traversing across the wire. The use of a balancing tool like a pole is to increase the rotational inertia of the walker, giving him more time to adjust his centre of gravity over the wire. The pole also helps to lower his centre of gravity making him relatively more stable on the wire. A common hazard of this sport (or art, as some might call it) is unpredictable wind conditions, which could throw the walker off balance. Nonetheless, this sport has thrilled many audiences over the years, as it seemed to bond both the walker and audience over the course of the walk. Skywalkers also often use props such as juggling clubs, spinning plates, or ladders to add to the entertainment value.
(3) Cave diving
This is a form of diving, where the diver uses specialized equipment to enable him to explore previously uncharted territory in freezing temperatures and low-visibility conditions. Unlike normal diving when you could surface when your air supply is running out, you have to carefully plan your ascent and descent through the water. This is also complicated by the unknown topographical and ecological conditions of the caves (i.e. You never know what you are going to come across in these caves.) According to a recovery team based in San Marcos, there have been more than 500 fatalities from this sport since the 1960s. It is so risky that even experienced divers succumbed to the dangers. Many of these victims have been diving instructors and technical divers. As a testimony of the risks involved, the National Speleological Society defines a “successful” cave dive as “one you return from.”
This activity is essentially skiing from a usually inaccessible area, which is why it requires a helicopter to bring the skier there. However, conditions in these areas are usually uncontrolled (compared to that of a ski resort), as they vary according to the time of the year and the slope gradient. Given the unpredictability of weather conditions in some of these mountains, even the helicopter ride can be dangerous. (Frank Wells, former president of Walt Disney Company died in a helicopter crash during a heli-skiing trip in 1994.) Compared to traditional skiing, heli-skiing carries an elevated risk of avalanches, as the helicopter might disturb the snow pack and create a potential source of instability, which might not be evident on the surface. Hence, heli-skiing is usually recommended for highly experienced skiers. Because of this, heli-skiers are advised to carry transreceivers to use in case of emergency.
(5) Wingsuit Flying
This is an activity of flying through the air using a special jumpsuit which adds surface area to the human body to enable an increase in lift. The principle behind this is that as the jumper falls through the air, the air tubes on the wingsuit are inflated. This makes the wingsuit like an aircraft wing, giving the jumper lift. After the jumper has glided through the air for a considerable period, he can deploy the parachute to facilitate his descent to the ground. By manipulating his body shape as well as the design features of the wingsuit, the jumper can adjust his forward speed, direction and fall rate (which can reach up to 150 mph). This activity particularly appeaals to those with huge skydiving experience and a deep sense of adventure and safety. After all, the exhilaration brought about by the experience of flying through the air is often tempered by the consideration of ensuring a saft and soft landing at the end.