Weekly Feature

Extreme Sports Videos

September 02, 2008
by Liz Colville
Participants in extreme sports such as parkour, off-course snowboarding and motocross risk life and limb to seemingly defy gravity. Witness their stunning feats in these online videos.

Parkour and Free Running: The art of getting there

Resembling the moves seen in action movies, parkour requires participants to make creative use of their surroundings to get to their destination as swiftly as possible. A combination of running, climbing and jumping, parkour is an incredible test of strength, endurance and discipline that has become more mainstream in recent years. An official definition of parkour refers to it as “gett[ing] somewhere using the most effective movements with the least loss of momentum.” Watch a tribute to parkour from YouTube.

Base Jumping: Without a net

The risky but thrilling sport of base jumping is skydiving without the plane. Using tall buildings, scaffolding, and mountains as their launching pads, base jumpers wear parachutes; because of the proximity to cliffs and buildings, the risk is actually higher than traditional skydiving. In this video, base jumpers use “squirrel” or “wing” suits to help them stay airborne while soaring above a mountain.
For an even bigger thrill, some base jumpers use helicopters as their launching pads; this video demonstrates one such jump, set above snowy, jagged peaks.

Kiteboarding: A whitewater medley

Using wind and gymnastic ability, kiteboarders flip and jump in rough water, propelled along by a kite hooked into a board that resembles a chopped-off surfboard or wakeboard. In this video, world-renowned kiteboarder Cesar Portas shows off his competition skills.

Extreme Snowboarding: The big descent

Snowboarding isn’t just about half-pipes or a vacation in Vail. Off-course snowboarding is a far more daring adventure, in which the snowboarder glides down a mountain crest at a height of thousands of feet. Snowboarder Terje Haakonsen recently made an historic descent from a mountain peak labeled “7601” for its vertical height. The peak appears to be almost a straight vertical drop at some points, and Haakonsen accomplished the feat at record speed, astonishing his peers. Haakonsen remarked that he had butterflies in his stomach from the event, even hours after he finished. Watch the Broadband Sports video; it includes commentary from Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White.

Extreme Skiing: A 360-degree obstacle course

This extreme skiing video combines steep cliffs with ramps, rails and even water.

Freestyle Motocross: The motorcycle circus

Many of the riskiest sports have the word “freestyle” as part of their names, and motocross, a rapidly growing extreme sport, is one of them. Motocross brings dirt bikes off their already tumultuous courses and adds complex mid-air twists and flips. Riders typically use ramps to propel themselves high in the air, where they then maneuver their bikes into positions not all that different from those achieved by ski jumpers or skateboarders.

Surfing: A whale of a wave

Surfing, especially big-wave surfing, happens so quickly that films of the events have to be played at half speed. The 2008 men’s professional competition in Tahiti showcased the extreme sport of surfing inside the barrel of a wave, which relies on perfect timing to avoid getting pushed under the wave or sucked into the barrel as the wave crashes. Watch some of the best male surfers in the world with Billabong’s video selection from the Tahiti competition.
Big wave surfer Mike Parsons, as part of Billabong’s Odyssey program, surfed one of the biggest waves caught on film in 2006, right after wiping out from another enormous wave. The second wave reportedly measured 100 feet in height.

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