“I’ve got the willingness and stupidity to try anything. If I think it’s even remotely possible, I’ll do it”, American motocross rider Travis Pastrana once famously remarked. Extreme sport, or adventure sport is the name given to sporting activities that involve a certain level of danger, speed and often height, such as base jumping, body boarding and free running. It’s a common misconception that you have to travel far afield to places like New Zealand or South America to satisfy your need for a thrill, when in truth there are plenty available in the UK. Over the past decade demand has increased considerably and there are now centres all over the country offering countless activities, ranging from the unbelievably challenging barefoot water skiing to more accessible activities such as skateboarding.
One popular UK way of getting an adrenaline fix is through motor sports and there is much on offer for the petrol heads out there. If you fancy a taste of off-road buggying, for as little as £70, then head to Kent where you will get to race on grass tracks at high speeds with a professional instructor; these little cars have a power-to-weight ratio to match most Ferraris.
If cars aren’t your thing and you like the idea of rolling down a hill at up to 30mph in a giant ball, then try your hand at Zorbing. Also known as ‘sphereing’, this is a new craze sweeping across the UK and as it’s mostly offered as a package for two, it’s ideal to do it with a friend. Aqua-Zorbing is also available; this time you’re not harnessed and in addition to you and your friend, 30 litres of water will also be put into the inflatable ball. This is affordable fun at only £25 per person but should not be underestimated safety-wise!
Bungee Jumping is probably one of the best-known extreme sports and that too is available in the UK. From 100ft to 400ft, you can jump from as high or as low as you like! Prices start from around £60 but some centres offer charity bungee jumps free of charge, if you raise £100 or more for a charity of your choice. But, if 400ft isn’t high enough for you, head to Lincolnshire for the UK’s highest skydive from a terrifying 15,000ft! Skydive Hibaldstow will cost a student £225 and although one of the more expensive options, it’s well worth the price tag.
From terrifying heights to fast flowing rivers, white water rafting is another activity loved by adventurers and thrill seekers alike. A day white water rafting will comprise one or more runs down either a natural river or a purpose-built course in a six or eight man inflatable; accompanied by an expert instructor guiding the boat, this is a great social activity and perfect for team building, from around £50. Other water based extreme sports include kite surfing, a perfect combination of surfing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing, which can be found at coastlines around the country. A one-day kite surfing course will teach you the mechanics behind the sport and give you a chance to get to the water and start practicing. If you want to really get to grips with it there are also two and three day courses available from £100.
If you prefer your sports to be land-based, then ice climbing is a fantastic option, and a great alternative to rock climbing. It’s offered at various places in the UK such as London, Manchester and Fort William. You get to complete solo climbs across ice walls of around 300 metres squared using picks and axes. You’ll be provided with all the necessary equipment and will benefit from the supervision of an instructor. Rather than a quick sudden adrenalin rush, ice climbing offers a tricky challenge and an experience very different from anything else, a very worthwhile experience for a reasonable £50.