History of Extreme Sports
Once the niche of rebellious, multi-pierced idlers and tattooed miscreants performing outrageous stunts, extreme sports have blossomed into mainstream consciousness with gut-wrenching flair and gusto.
Spurred on by wider media coverage of sports like snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding, and driven largely by tightknit gatherings of hard-core participants around the world, extreme sports are no longer defined by their counter-culture and non-traditional roots – one might say that they’re firmly entrenched in the fabric of modern sport culture.
Between ESPN’s X-Games and a YouTube generation titillated by GoPro-captured squirrel suit BASE jumps, extreme sports are here to stay.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- Each year, $100 million in media is spent on 300+ action sports competitions around the world
- In the United States, there are more than 1800 skateboarding parks, up from 200 in 1996.
- Extreme sports generate $12.1 billion in annual U.S. retail sales.
- In 2009, more than 22 million athletes participated in sports like snowboarding, BMX riding, surfing and skateboarding.
Nerve Rush’s Extreme Sports List
Here at Nerve Rush, we put together an unofficial extreme sports list for your viewing pleasure. Consider it our attempt to catalog all things adrenaline.
In the past, building an extreme sports list was easy — there wasn’t much to work with. A skateboard here and a parachute there. Now, curating a list of extreme sports is much more difficult, what with sports like Bossaball, ZORB globe riding, WiSBASE and trampoline bridge jumping.
I know. This whole extreme sports thing is getting a tad ridiculous. We love it.
Staying up-to-date is one challenge. The matter of opinion is another. Is hiking an extreme sport? What about snowmobiling? I’d like to think that level of extreme-ness matters, but even that can be arbitrary. Some sports are undoubtedly extreme, but many of them, well, it simply depends. Does cycling a well-groomed single-track trail through the woods count as extreme? I’m not sure. But this gut-wrenching and insane video of a Chilean downhill race? THAT IS EXTREME. Don’t get me started with semantics.
I digress. Enough waxing philosophical — let’s get to the extreme sports list.
WiSBASE (or Wingsuit Flying, or Proximity Flying)
Hot Air Ballooning
Speed Flying (or Speed Riding)
Kitesurfing (or Kiteboarding)
Big Wave Bodyboarding
Big Wave Surfing
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
Freediving (or Free-Diving)
Abseiling (or Rappelling)
Mountainboarding (or All-Terrain Boarding)