The FQ Adrenaline Guide

Extreme Sports – Getting Started

[Image - Johannes Waibel]
Avatar photo
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

It’s fair to say that extreme sports are now definitely part of the mainstream. 

With an ever-increasing rise in the popularity of death-defying activities, more and more dads are getting involved in extreme activities, continuing to challenge the stereotype that fatherhood puts pay to adrenaline-seeking – and with great experiences like bungee jumping, parkour, cliff diving and even snowboarding, it’s really become a question of why not get involved?

With the pure exhilaration that comes with these sports it can be easy to get caught up in all the hype. However, before you set off to bring out your inner daredevil, there are a few things you need to know beforehand. Not only are these sports incredibly physical, there’s a huge psychological factor to them as well. Preparation is key and finding the right sport for you is the ultimate aim.

Get prepared

First things first, find out what sport suits you best. Whilst many extreme sport athletes jump from sport to sport, this often takes years of practice and experience. With extreme sports covering activities in water, land and air, there truly is a diverse range of options out there. One activity may seem fun and thrilling, but weighing out the consequences before you start can do no harm. If you have a type of medical condition that you fear may be incompatible with what you want to do, ask your GP in advance to see what they think.

Sometimes taking the lighter version is best, such as paragliding instead of skydiving. If you are healthy enough to take on the harder hitting activities, you can still try out the less intense versions before setting off. 

Once you have found the right sport for you, arranging the necessary amount of training is useful, especially if the one you have chosen requires certification such as scuba diving. Even if certification isn’t required, it can help to prepare yourselves and learn the ropes before you venture off. Classes are available for most sports and you can even find plenty of clubs dedicated to specific extreme sports as well.

Some sports also require an instructor with you until you get your certificate, such as skydiving or big wave surfing due to the obvious risks. A lot of resorts even employ their own adventure travel instructors, giving you first-hand experience in some incredibly daring activities.

Get the right kit

Most extreme sports come hand-in-hand with a range of sporting equipment that is fundamental to the demands. Whilst less-challenging sports such as skateboarding demand less gear, others can require anything from helmets, kneepads, elbow pads and for something like scuba diving, you will need specialist gear, suits and tanks.

Information regarding what you need for each sport is easily attained, with many sport shops providing everything you need. It’s also helpful to ask someone you know who has prior experience to guide you into what’s best for the particular activity you have chosen. The same goes for when you’re partaking in the sport itself, as knowing someone who has relevant experience is always a benefit.

There is also no shame in starting small, especially if you find the more extreme variations strenuous and overly difficult. Even when it comes to sports such as snowboarding, it’s unwise to jump straight in at the deep end as you’ll most likely be unprepared and end up with an injury. By gradually progressing into the harder areas of the sport, you’ll find it a lot more rewarding as it becomes more of an achievement.

It’s clear that there is a substantial amount of preparation needed in advance before setting off into the extreme sports world – it’s not something you can just jump into at the drop of a hat and requires plenty of mental and physical strength. Trying out a variation at first is great to find out what you actually love and building your way up in terms of difficulty is also advised. For dads looking for a slice of escapism and excitement, the special thing about these sports is that they have their own dedicated clubs, where you’ll meet like-minded people who share your unique passion.