5 Summer Extreme Sports & Staying Safe

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Summer may be winding down. However, if you are an adrenaline enthusiast looking for one last adventure, now may be the perfect time to take an extreme sports vacation. Extreme sports participants are not content with just relaxing by the pool.  They travel the globe looking for new and exciting ways to challenge themselves both physically and mentally. Whether you are into high speeds or high altitudes, here are a few of the most unusual extreme sports we have found. Just a warning – these activities are not for the faint of heart.
1.    Zorbing
At first glance, zorbing looks like a human trapped within a giant beach ball. Zorbing spheres are two balls, one inside of the other, made of flexible plastic. A layer of air in between the two balls helps to cushion some of the shock of impact.  Riders can choose to push themselves across a flat terrain – much like a hamster in a ball. But extreme enthusiasts prefer rolling down a hill. Riders can choose to zorb by themselves or with a friend and opt for harnessed or unharnessed. Unharnessed riders should beware of flying elbows.

2.    Volcano boarding
Forget snowboarding. Instead, how about boarding down the side of an active volcano? Volcano boarding – or ash boarding – came onto the scene a few years ago and involves hiking up the side of an active volcano and then sliding down on a thin plywood or metal board. While the risk of the volcano actually erupting while the boarder is making their descent is slim, cuts and scrapes from falling on volcanic ash is a reality.

3.    Jetboarding
Jet skiing has been around for a long time and surfing even longer. It was just a matter of time before someone came up with the idea to combine the two. A jetboard is the same length as a traditional surfboard, but with a jet propelled motor attached. There are no handlebars, just a tether attached to the front of the board, and some boards don’t even come with footholds. The ride offers unmatched agility and speed, with some riders reporting speeds up to 70 mph.

4.    Wingsuit BASE jumping
BASE jumping – which stands for Building, Antenna, Spans, and Earth – has been around for over 30 years. As if jumping from bridges and buildings with only a parachute wasn’t extreme enough, adrenaline junkies are now using wingsuits to complete these feats. Wingsuits have webbed panels between the arms and legs to give the body more surface area, creating the effect of flying for a short period of time. When the jumper reaches a certain altitude, they must deploy a parachute and unzip the wings so that they can guide themselves to a safe landing.

5.    Hydrofoiling
The concept behind hydrofoiling began as an adaptation of a military weapon used to detonate underwater mines. It is similar to wakeboard or skiing. However, instead of skimming along the surface of a body of water, skiers can actually fly through the air. Skiers strap themselves to a specially designed board fitted with underwater wings. The skier is then towed out by a boat. As the boat picks up speed, the hydrofoil wings lift the skier into the air. The rider has the ability to control the hydrofoils, moving the board up or down or side to side.

When participating in an extreme sports activity, you want to make sure you live to tell the tale. Always wear the appropriate safety equipment, including a helmet, elbow and knee pads, protective eyewear, and the appropriate footwear. Most traditional health insurance plans do not cover extreme sport activities, so it would be wise to purchase an additional policy in addition to an air-medical transport membership program in the event that you are injured.