Archive for June, 2009

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Nissan Outdoor Extreme Games 2009

June 30, 2009

We normally keep a close eye on the Nissan Extreme Games, but were obviously so busy writing on other things that Interlaken 2009 slipped by with no comment from us for which we apologise. However, it’s never too late to make up for past omissions and  show you the high quality of both competitors and film producers… following this teaser from  OutdoorGamesTV.

Nissan have been innovative in the extreme sports world and were the first to realise that an original event concept was needed in this growing sector of the market.

Because extreme sports have become more and more fashionable over the past few years, the event organisers came up with a concept like no other – 5 teams, 5 sports and a 5-minute film.

The task for the five teams is challenging: to produce a five-minute short film in seven days including five outdoor sports in the Interlaken region.

Rather than pushing the limits in outdoor sports, the Nissan Outdoor Games again reveals that certain subjects can be addressed within a sports film. The themes represented in the 2009 films go from the meaning of life and death, profound feelings as well as harmony with nature.

Extreme sports challenges have been taking place in Interlaken now for 5 years. The Games are an important event for adventure sports and film making. For a week, the best kayakers, mountain-bikers, climbers, paragliders and base jumpers combine with film makers and photographers to share their adventure in the mountains and to battle  it out for prize money of Swiss Francs 70,000.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, General Manager of Nissan’s Marketing Communications in Europe, says The Nissan Outdoor Games allow athletes to express themselves in the most awe-inspiring way, whilst thrilling the public by capturing their exploits in a five minute film. Nissan is once again proud to be supporting the Outdoor Games and together we are working to increase participation in an active outdoor lifestyle and a sustainable engagement with the natural environment.

Enjoy these incredible hang gliding sequences filmed by Austrian film team ‘Argon’ (orleyflo)

Marvel at Anthony Green’s 10-second death defying  misting by the falls (acrotwinz).

Enjoy Swiss Team, NBFlyer’s, film for which they received the Jury’s Special Award as well as the Best Sports Sequence for its climbing scene with Cyril Albasini. (OutdoorGamesTV)

And we end with the winning film from Team Golgoht of Finland who received the Golden Peak Award.

The Finn, Petri Kovalainen from the Golgoht team, won the Best Photographer award as well as the Game of Light Award by Julbo.

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The longest kite buggy journey ever attempted … 2,500km

June 29, 2009
“The definition of adventure is outcome unknown, says Steve Gurney.

And that is what Mad Way South is all about.

This wind powered odyssey began casually when Geoff Wilson challenged a Kiwi friend to a buggy race. The Mad Way South race was born and four mad and extreme wind driven men set to start racing from Northern Morocco on August 3rd 2009.

They will attempt the first ever journey across the Sahara desert on kite buggies this summer.

There’s a twofold reason for this race. One is an effort to help promote green travel and the second is to raise money for charity.

The race will cover 2,500 km of the worlds toughest terrain in just 30 days. They aim to claim the rights to be the first to have ever crossed this desert by wind power alone from Agadir in Morocco, through Western Sahara, Mauritania, and end in Dakar, Senegal.

This will be man and machine pitted against the harshest environment in the world at the end of the Saharan Summer.

30 days is the aim… but since this is unchartered terrain and has never been attempted before, the time-scale will be flexible.

The team consists of 2 Kiwis and 2 Aussies.

One of the Kiwis is a recycled Zimbabwean, Craig Hansen. He has been flying kites since he was 10 years of age and has a passion for kite traction and wind assisted travel – specifically as a means for journeying. He is co-owner of Peter Lynn Kites based in New Zealand, and he and Peter have designed the “Big Foot” buggy and its Saharan adaptations for the Mad Way South.

Geoff Wilson, the team leader, is an African born Aussie, veterinarian come adventurer – who is obsessed with all things wind driven. He has already completed a year long, 25,000km odyssey on a yacht, and crossed the Egyptian Sahara by bicycle.

Garth Freeman, another Australian, is the youngest member of the team.  Despite this he brings many man hours flying kites and considerable expertise to the mix. He is a professional kite instructor and one of his pre-race conditions is to ensure that Geoff has all the kite flying skills he needs to survive the journey!

The fourth member is Steve Gurney – Kiwi born and bred. He is an ex-professional Adventure Racing athlete who was at the top of his game for 16 years, with 9 Coast to Coast wins, numerous Adventure race team wins, and twice represented NZ at the world Mountain-biking Champs. He is also a well known motivational speaker.  He no longer competes, but is taking part in this race in a bid to seek “green” and sustainable adventure options.

These 4 will be backed up by a highly efficient and knowledgeable support team.

Asked why they were doing it, Dr Wilson said: “The idea is to road-test these vehicles in one of the world’s most rugged environments and also promote eco-friendly travel. As for why the Sahara Desert was chosen as the battleground – it’s simply because no one else has been stupid enough to try it.”

The challenge will be staged as a rally, with several timed stages, and will also be filmed as an international television documentary.

The purpose for the Mad Way South Sahara Challenge is to raise awareness of the plight of women and children who have been forced into commercial sexual exploitation in Cambodia. They are hoping to raise $100,000 for the “SHE Rescue Home – Cambodia”.

kitebuggy by Adam Head

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Wingsuit flying – why not!

June 27, 2009

This looks just amazing. Fabulous video and for once too short! Thank you imexkorea for sharing it with us:

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Extreme manufacturing from VW in Germany

June 26, 2009

This extraordinary video from CristianS75 was brought to our attention by a friend – now we understand this is not excactly an extreme sport but the technology, robotics and concept for the VW car manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany certainly is extreme and we think it will have you catching flies as your jaw drops open with amazement.

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What to do today … extreme kayaking perhaps?

June 25, 2009

https://i1.wp.com/thepirata.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/extreme_kayaking04.jpg

It was this picture that set me off…

Isn’t it fantastically extreme?  WOW – what more can you say…

Extreme kayaking seems to be all about making the biggest drop and beating your compatriots to finding the next big drop.

Ben Stookesberry, a 30-year old professional kayaker,  seeks out big drops all over the world. He has made 51 first descents in 11 countries so far.

Pedro Oliva and Tyler Bradt have both set world record drops this year. Oliva first made headlines when he went over a 127 foot water fall in Brazil, and just weeks later Bradt shattered that record by dropping 186 feet over Palouse Falls in Washington State.

It is these sort of antics that has brought extreme kayaking to our attention.

Technology continues to evolve, offering better, more stable, boats, paddles, and other gear, which is allowing the top kayakers to challenge some impressive runs, such as the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas in Mexico, which drops 480 feet in just an eighth of a mile and has two waterfalls of 90 feet or more. It is just one of several extreme runs that Stookesberry is hoping to conquer in the months ahead.

Interesting little video this one from solesupfront :

And here’s Tyler Bradt’s record breaking drop (Fauxlaf ).

Bradt, Stookesberry and Oliva are one of about half a dozen professional kayakers who tackle waterfalls above 100 feet.

A little over a decade ago, a 50- or 60-foot waterfall was thought to be the biggest drop a kayaker could survive. But sturdier boats and new techniques have allowed daredevils to push the outer limits of the sport.

It’s not all about being the one to do the biggest drop, it also allows the extreme kayakers to venture into unexplored river gorges and uncharted rapids that were previously deemed out of reach, sealed off by fortress-like waterfalls where portaging is impossible.

They are becoming the equivalent of 19th century explorers risking their lives to claim a “first descent” of a waterfall or a long, treacherous stretch of river!

The most extreme kayakers have also developed new techniques to control their descents over massive falls. Boaters tuck forward like high divers, laying flat across the bow and angling their boats nose first, which reduces the surface area hitting the water and softens the impact. Some even attach fins to the back of the boats so that they drop straight down, like a dart. The most common injury, kayakers say, is a broken nose.

“Approaching the lip, there’s this feeling of being completely out of control, completely in the hands of the river,” Ben Stookesberry says. “You lose all that fear and all that anticipation, because there’s no turning back.”

Rather them than me, tho’ I have to admire their courage.

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The last word on the Gobi March 2009

June 24, 2009

From Adventure Racing to Ultra-Marathons…

As you will have surmised, the Gobi March has drawn to a successful close with a fantastic race enjoyed by all.

The final stage of the competition was a 10 kilometer course passing through the Old City of Kashgar (the one that is about to be razed to the ground to make way for a modern replacement) and the finish took place in front of the Id Kah Mosque.

This stage was won by Weichao Wei (China). He blitzed through the finish line at 12.09.25 holding up the Chinese flag . In 2nd place was Riel Carol (France) at 12.13.30. Patrick Diaz (United States) followed soon after at 12.13.51. Shane O’Rourke (Ireland) came in looking strong at 12.15.50 with John Lewis (United Kingdom) in close pursuit, and then Shawn Harmon (United States). Eric LaHaie (United States) was the most recent arrival at 12.17.31.

Having led most of the way, Eric LaHaie was the overall winner, with Diana Hogan-Murphy (Ireland)  being the overall winner in the women’s division. Group Cohesion was the first placed team.

I promised to bring you the remaining stages and thank racingtheplanet once again for putting them on youTube.

And the final day with the first competitors crossing the line:

Our sincerest congratulations go out to all and every one of you.

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Adventure Racing and its dangers

June 23, 2009

Adventure Racing is one of the extreme sports that we blog about regularly, and it is best to remember that it is an extreme sport – witness the tragic death of 3 participants in the Raid du Mercantour last weekend, 21st June.

Adventure Racing is an example of how the mixture of terrain and weather conditions can catch out even the most experienced of runners and trekkers.

When I first started writing about Adventure Racing, the first thing that crossed my mind was that, whilst physically and mentally challenging, a long hike through difficult and varying terrain was a bit ‘tame’.

I apologise profusely to all Adventure Racers – and hasten to add that that thought lasted less than 10 minutes as my research broadened.

Since then I have been impressed and amazed at the antics that the sportsmen (and women) get up to, and think that, as an extreme sport, it is probably one of the best.

Don’t shoot me down in flames if you don’t agree… but Adventure Racing is quite something.

For those of you who are not too sure what Adventure Racing is all about, it’s a combination of two or more disciplines, including orienteering  (if an orienting map is used) and/or navigation (when non-orienteering maps are used), cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours. There is typically no dark period  during races, irrespective of length; competitors must choose if or when to rest.

You need to be superfit. You need to have a team you know well and trust. You need to have mental and physical stamina. And you need to know how to do all the above disciplines … and more.

It’s many sports all rolled into one…

The first official Adventure Race was “The Raid Gauloises”, held in New Zealand in 1989, and consisted of 400 miles of mountaineering, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing and rafting over a two week period. The first U.S. race was the Eco Challenge, held in Utah in 1995.

Adventure Racing has become so popular that it has even had a TV series made in its honour – the Odyssey series (trainingsept ):

So why do it? Well, it has been said that Adventure Racing is one’s own personal road to self-discovery as it allows an individual to find his or her limits and push through them because the ‘Race’ often takes participants out of their comfort zone by challenging them with unfamiliar surroundings, often while sleep deprived and physically exhausted.

Anyone can become an Adventure Racer. It’s  an easy crossover for cyclist, runners and water sport enthusiasts. Many former tri-athletes, marathon and ultra-marathon competitors looking to add more spice to their chosen fields have taken it up.  Some sportsmen found themselves suffering recurring injuries in their sport and so turned to Adventure Racing as an alternative. Aging athletes, on the other hand, discovered that while they can no longer keep up with 20-somethings in a foot race, in a 24+ hour races, they have some competitive advantages!

As with ALL sports, accidents and tragedies DO happen.

This is the  RAID season in France and there are many keen participants.

“I’m used to hiking in mountains since I’m a kid, doing a lot of alpinism, skiing, climbing…I’ve discovered adventure racing about 10 years ago and I love it!” says Carine Porret.

“I like adventure racing because I’m a racer, I like the spirit and the race parties!….” says Franck Salgues

“I’m Brasilian living in Miramas,France,in a beautiful winery,I travelled the world for the past 7 years to compete in diferents AR,” says Karina Bacha.

I could give you hundreds of quotes.

“I was born with a compass in the hand! I participate in a lots of orienteering competitions with all my family…my three daughters and my wife are like me: addicted to!….” says Michel Denaix.

But I won’t!

As I said above, this is the Grand Raid season in France, but on Sunday in the Grand Raid du Mercantour in the South of France about 80kms north of Nice, the region suffered adverse weather conditions and three runners died under tragic circumstances.  It was the ‘running stage’ of the race and had already been reduced from 100kms to 80 because of the abundance of snow still around. The alarm was raised as a number of competitors had not returned by the 6pm cut-off time, and emergency services were scrambled in an attempt to locate the missing people. All 3 were in their 50’s and it is suspected that they died of  hypothermia and hypoglycaemia. Our sympathies go out to their families.

This is not an extreme sport for nothing…