Adrenaline is a dangerous thing. Although useful in small doses, it’s highly addictive and, like any drug, your tolerance only increases the more you get. That’s how you find yourself, one day, looking at a bungee cord tied to a precarious bridge, 1000ft above a churning river and thinking ‘what if we added crocodiles?’ Here are 10 sports specifically designed for those who reached the absolute limits of intensity, then leapt off them on a flaming motorbike, giving fate a double finger:
1. BASE Jumping
BASE Jumping is either shockingly admirable or utterly, utterly insane. With at least 200 confirmed fatalities since 1980, a sudden gust of wind, a split-second miscalculation or simple bad luck are all that’s needed to reduce you to a sticky mess they’ll have to scrape up with a shovel. The competitive element comes in seeing who can go the longest without dying.
2. Ghost Riding
The rules of Ghost Riding are simple: get in car. Start car. Wait until car has built up sufficient speed. Exit car and do tricks on roof as you cruise toward certain death. This ‘sport’ from the San Francisco area checks all the boxes required of the extreme pastime: it’s pointless, dangerous and predominantly enjoyed by young males so numbed by apathy it takes a near-death experience for them to feel anything at all.
Running with the bulls at Pamplona, Spain is a rite of passage enjoyed by drunks, tourists and the insane; resulting each year in a handful of poor sods getting trampled, often by their fellow humans. Gorings and actual deaths are relatively rare (14 in the last century), but the statistics neglect to mention the number of underpants lost to sudden soiling.
4. Volcano Boarding
Like snowboarding, but down the side of an active volcano, Nicaragua’s latest (tourist) sport attracts thrill-seekers who want to combine the rush of hurtling down a mountainside with the thrill of doing it on a goddamn active volcano. Given the blending of speed and the potential for explosions it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood snaps it up for Point Break 2.
Afghanistan’s national sport involves charging around on horseback, whip in hand, dragging a headless goat carcass behind you as you attempt to… actually, we’re not sure. While national leagues have mellowed the practice out a good deal, traditional forms of the game can last for days and are noted for their brutal violence.
6. The Iditarod Trail
Ever wanted to recreate Scott’s last expedition, but can’t get to Antarctica? Alaska’s race from Anchorage to Nome on the Bearing Sea has everything you require for your themed-suicide: bitter winds, endless night and temperatures routinely below -30c. Expect frostbite, hypothermia and frozen huskies; and for the winner… nothing. Just the glory of knowing you managed to survive.
7. Solo Climbing
8. Cheese Rolling
Every year, inebriated adults gather at Cooper’s Hill, England to hurl themselves headfirst down a steep slope in pursuit of a runaway cheese. Unsurprisingly there are injuries. The perfect blend of whimsy, drunkenness, and cheese, Cheese Rolling is for those who like their sports insane in more ways than one.
9. Cave Diving
Find an aquatic cave, preferably one with sub-zero temperatures, jagged rocks and aggressive marine life. Enter cave with little oxygen and no real plan, wash up dead on a beach 3 weeks later. That is cave diving; a sport that has claimed over 500 lives in half a century. It’s the deadliest sport on the planet, and will probably remain so, until someone finds a way of combining it with BASE jumping.
10. Train Surfing
Popular in Germany in the 80’s, Train Surfing disappeared for a while, only to resurface in South Africa a few years ago. The premise is simple: find a train and cling to it as it reaches speeds no human should ever endure. For maximum effect, try it on a speeding intercity.
Author: Alfie Davenport works for Ladbrokes Games. Whilst he enjoys the mild thrill of the occasional bet, he doesn’t think he has it in him to try out any of these crazy sports.