Archive for May, 2009

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How’s about this as a variation on extreme sport: basketball, football and gym rolled into one

May 30, 2009

Here’s one to think about this weekend – good luck!!! I think it might take quite a lot of weekends to get as skilled as these guys. Thanks  CairoWithLove for showing us this video.

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Summer here, but the ski season’s just about to start in the Southern Hemisphere

May 29, 2009

Desperate to go ski-ing? Wondering where to go? Look no further – Cardrona in New Zealand has had its best pre-season snow base levels in over a decade, 120 cm on the upper mountain and 80 cm in the base area.

“We’ve had some pretty extreme weather in May bringing heavy snow falls, the mountain is looking amazing, from top to bottom. It’s been great to get such a solid snow base but I know our operations team is grateful this week has brought some settled weather to continue with pre-season preparations,” said Nadia Ellis, sales and marketing manager.

If these pre-season conditions are anything to go by then winter 2009 is going to be one for the record books. It certainly looks like we’re in for some great skiing and snowboarding from the outset, so long as the cold conditions hold,” said Ellis.

Cardrona is scheduled to open Friday 26 June. For further information, visit the newly relaunched web site at www.cardrona.com.

Cardrona yesterday 26 May. Photo: Tommy Pyatt

This picture was taken 3 days ago, 26th May 2009, by Tommy Pyatt.

Not looking too bad is it?!

Falls Creek, on Mt. McKay, Australia, on the other hand, is making snow in preparation for their opening in one week’s time – the Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Conditions are perfect for snow making with the mercury well below zero and the temperature, taking into account the wind chill component, a cool minus 7.6C.  It has the country’s blackest runs over 450 hectares of snow covered fields.

But it is Mount Buller which has beaten everyone else to the opening day. 248kms north east of Melbourne (about 3 hours), Mt Buller is the most accessible snow resort in Australia and the closest resort to any international airport.

In a special ‘this-weekend-only’ celebration, Mt Buller is throwing open the resort to the public this Saturday and Sunday to share the amazing 35cm of early snow blanketing the resort.

“This is the earliest we’ve opened a lift and ski run in the history of Mt Buller resort. The closest was 45 years ago when we opened on the 16 May in 1964,” said Laurie Blampied General Manager of Buller Ski Lifts.

However, it looks like it’s be New Zealand stealing the show for the moment.

More fresh snow on Queenstown’s premier ski areas of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak on New Zealand’s South Island is delivering spectacular pre-season conditions, comparable with usual conditions in peak season.

Coronet Peak ski area, scheduled to open on Saturday 6 June, has received 50 – 100 cm of snow in the last four days resulting in an 80 cm base at the top of the mountain and a 50 cm base at the bottom.

Across the valley at The Remarkables, the ski area has received 45 cm of fresh snow in the last 48 hours and has received 150 cm over the last two weeks, resulting in a solid 120 cm base across the mountain.

More snow showers are forecast for Queenstown in the coming days…

Soon now, you, too, in the Southern Hemisphere can get up to these tricks (XTremeVideo):

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Segway polo…..a new challenge and definitely extreme

May 29, 2009

The final instalment on the rather more extreme variations of polo is about Segway polo. Now here we have to admit we had a Homer Simpson moment – ‘what on earth could Segway polo be’ – well – duh – its polo played on a Segway……….OK……….but what we really meant was ‘what is a Segway?’

Duh, you don’t know – well let us explain.

The Segway PT only has two wheels, yet it manages to stay upright by itself.

To move forward or backward on the Segway PT, the rider just leans slightly forward or backward. To turn left or right, the rider simply moves the LeanSteer frame left or right. You get the sense of power and speed, yet you also feel a sense of safety and absolute control.

The machine was invented by someone called Dean Kamen and is produced in New Hampshire USA – and today it is used around the world by individuals, companies and organisations such as the police force.

 

Segway PT

Segway PT

So there it is and now you know too – to date the company has sold over 25,000 of these personal transporters which as we have intimated do have their practical and serious side to them. The lady above sure looks to be having a lot of fun and although we have never tried to ride on one we have to admit it does look entertaining and it is of course an eco friendly mode of transport.

Of course there were those who decided to take the fun element to another extreme – enter Segway polo – and as this video from liburd demonstrates it does look to be a laugh and we dare say there is quite a bit of skill involved – but at a price tag of around £5,000, or 6,500 euros, or $7,500, as with the more traditional horse polo, it is not a cheap pastime.

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RacingThePlanet Namibia 2009 has been won by Salvador Calvo Redondo of Spain

May 28, 2009

This clip from racingtheplanet is worth watching. It gives you an idea of the terrain that was covered over the last few days of the race – but does not show the rigours of the first day in the canyon.

A starkly beautiful landscape.

Salvador Calvo Redondo (Spain) has been officially awarded the prize for first overall winner with the time of 25 hours and 47 minutes.

In second place came Ryan Sandes (South Africa) who admitted that it was “hard” but joked how “Salvo made me chase him the whole way.”

Sandes  was the first person to cross the finish line on the final day. He finished at 10:19:46. Next to come through was  Redondo at 10:20:30, closely followed by Javier Gomez (Spain) at 10:20:34.  Redondo walked up to Sandes to congratulate him, and the pair who had fought so hard for the entire race, shook hands with mutual respect. Of his incredibly fast sprint to the end Sandes said, “I was missing this all week, and I just gave it one last burn”.

“I am very grateful to Ryan for the race we had together,” Salvador replied.

The first placing woman was Lucy Hilton (United Kingdom), she gave thanks to the volunteers who “kept [her] going.”

The first placing team was Team Swana (Israel). Team spokesperson Kobi Itzchaki (Israel) gave thanks to his fellow competitors for “making it special” but also to RacingThePlanet. “for the opportunity to enjoy the challenge and beauty of Africa”.

Speaking to racingtheplanet later,  Sandes had this to say about the race:

He is going to be a competitor worth watching in the future.

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Richard Branson shows the world how to kitesurf

May 27, 2009

The other day we had one of our regular rants about the environment, global warming and the awful destruction of the rainforests, amongst other things, and we showed you the video made by The Prince’s Rainforest Project.

This video has now been viewed more than 500,000 times over various sites and their next initiative is to launch their Supporter of the Week.

This week it is Richard Branson, entrepreneur, adventurer and founder of the Virgin group, who was filmed with the frog‘ to demonstrate that there is a global determination for change on this issue.

Although he had little success on the video in changing the frog into a beautiful woman, there was obviously, from the following photo, a delayed but successful result to his efforts:

Richard Branson and Denni Parkinson. ‘I only wish I had eyes in the
back of                               my head’ he told the Daily Mail.
(Photo credit: Stephane Gautronneau)

In fact, so successful was his kite surfing weekend on Necker Island, that the Alinghi (defender of the America’s Cup) coach and and performance analysts, Pierre Yves Jorand (SUI) and Peter Evans (NZL)  spent a lot of time studying and analyzing the photographs from Mr Bransons kitesurfing weekend and were able to give this exclusive report for World Sailing News.

¨From what we can tell it looks like it was blowing on shore at the time, suggesting an afternoon seabreeze, as the wind would have been sucked onto the land – probably in the region of 13 knots to begin with the pressure rising steadily throughout the afternoon, maybe up to 17 or 18 knots. The technique is good, his feet are in the correct position and he seems to have good control. When wet, the board shorts and long hair will be adding to the drag a little –  the added weight will not help his performance therefore but nevertheless, judging by the smile on his face he is clearly enjoying himself. This has the effect of helping him to relax and at least feel phsycologically that he is giving the best performance possible. This is the key thing  – and it´s therefore something we will be recommending as part of their training regime to both Brad Butterworth and Ed Baird before they compete at their next D 35 regatta¨

Responding to the recommendations from the Alinghi performace analysts, Ed Baird, said, ´One of the great things about working for a team like Alinghi is that all the people around you are constantly searching for that little bit of something special to help make the boat go faster. Pierre Yves and Peter Evans seem to have nailed it again, and I for one look forward to joining in the process, learning from it, sharing that experience and getting in amongst it¨

Brad Butterworth said, ´Yes, lets go´!

But to end on a serious note, let us quickly remind you that:

  • the destruction of tropical rainforests accounts for 17% of CO2 emissions…
  • that the Amazon alone circulates 20 billion tonnes of water every day which helps water the crops that feed the global population…
  • that an area of tropical rainforest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every 4 seconds…

Note that Branson has chosen a very eco-friendly sport!

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The British Cheese Rolling Race happened yesterday

May 26, 2009

Remember I told you about a few weird and wonderful races held in England every year? Well, here’s the latest video on the Cheese Rolling one held at Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire. The annual event was held yesterday, with thanks to  AssociatedPress.

And another moment of  hilarity from anna1b1 !

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Does mollycoddling push us towards extreme sports?

May 25, 2009

As you know, if you are an avid reader of our blog (!!!), extreme sports, called by some –  ‘dangerous pastimes’ – are booming.

The latest one I’ve heard about is ‘coasteering’. Ever heard of it?

It’s an extreme sport that is a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming. It requires no boats, no ropes – just skill, fine judgement and bravery. A defining factor of coasteering is the opportunity provided by the marine coastline for moving in the “impact zone” where water, waves, rocks, gullies, caves etc, come together to provide a very high energy environment.

Wearing wetsuits, gloves and helmets, participants of this sport swim along the base of cliffs on coastlines, climb the rock faces, dive into the sea or into caves. This is where the fine judgement comes in, not least the bravery, as with waves crashing in and the tide swelling and ebbing, this can be a highly risky enterprise.

Learning can be physically exhausting as shown here by paulnod.

But also fun – ankleshock100.

Each extreme sport has its own fraternity. And among them is an hierarchy: most coasteerers, like experienced mountaineers, regard zorbers or bungee jumpers as dilettantes out for a quick thrill. “We take risks,” says Tom Fox, an experienced coasteer, “but we take them from a place of safety. We’re fit, we train and it’s not all about getting a quick fix of adrenaline. When we master our fears, the reward is huge. Everything is heightened and I feel good for days.”

So what is the psychology behind the urge to do an extreme sport? Is it the adrenaline pumping thrill we are after or are we just reacting against mollycoddling?

In the past this search for thrill was not necessary. There were enough wars and strife in people’s lives to keep that thirst at bay. But nowadays, for most of us, life has become pretty mundane and it’s not surprising that people are on the search for something to inspire them with the thrill to live – and live dangerously, if only for a few hours a week. As 35-year old teacher, Martin Ollerenshaw, a surfer, says, “If I don’t do it for a while, I feel prickly. I need to take those risks to feel fully human, fully alive. It’s about joy and intensity – it’s an escape from the mundane and the routine.”

When you consider the steady erosion of children’s freedom such as handstands, skipping ropes and conkers being banned from the playground, you shouldn’t be surprised at the surge of interest in extreme sports.

Adrenaline holidays are moving from a niche market to a mainstream one:

A Mintel survey of the adventure travel industry last April found that activity holidays had increased by 17.2% over 4 years, far more than the overall market – 2.8%. Tour operator Thomson, for example, has 20 dedicated brands serving 400,000 customers a year. Danger is an international industry.

And age is no barrier, though Mintel did find that participants are most likely to be between the ages of 20 to 44. However, plenty of over-40’s have a taste for danger too.

When you compare the danger element in extreme sports to day-to-day living – it compares quite favourably. For example, in England 150 Britons die every year taking part in adventure sports (and remember, they know the risks undertaken when doing their chosen sport), whereas accidents on the roads and in the home kill 6,000.

Quite something that, isn’t it?!

Times are slowly beginning to change though and the world is slowly beginning to wake up to the fact that governance has over-mollycoddled the populace. There are signs that the tide is finally beginning to turn.  As Ken Way, a sports psychologist, says: “If we remove risk from our lives we never find out our strengths and weaknesses. We stagnate.” Simon Barnes, a sportswriter, agrees. He says “some people think it’s got something to do with a death wish (extreme sports). It’s not. LIFE wish, more like.”

We couldn’t say it better than that…

We’ll end with a video from  extremityTV highlighting the never-ending search for a challenge – and also highlighting what we love to write about.