Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

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And now for polo on a cycle

May 22, 2009

We trust no one will be upset by cycle polo which from our research would appear to be gathering an increasing number of players, supporters and countries that play the game. Having said that we have not been able to find anything about the 2009 tournaments and so we would be delighted to hear from enthusiasts of the sport of what is happening, when and where, so we can post a blog and keep people informed.

Traditional bicycle polo is played in a rectangular grass field, 150 meters by 100 meters officially, unofficially whatever field is big enough or whatever surface is smooth enough. Moreover, official dimensions can vary between 120 and 150 meters in length on 80 to 100 meters in width.

The game was invented by an Irishman, Richard J. Mecredy, in 1891 and has seen a sharp spike in interest since the turn of this century and new teams are sprouting up across the world.

Today there is organized cycle polo being played in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

The 1980s saw the rise of two new powers in cycle polo, India and USA. The Cycle Polo Association of India was officially created in 1966 and the Bicycle Polo Association of America was created in 1994.

International cycle polo matches staged a comeback in the 1990s with the first world championship organized in 1996 in the USA. Teams from India, USA and Canada participated with India winning the title.

Today the game has become more urban and is played on tennis courts and the like where a hard surface presents a fast and exciting game.

See the video below from cleancut62 of some action from a recent game which demonstrates there is more than just a little skill in riding a bike required – the crashes are pretty hard but it looks a lot of fun.

The final installment of this trilogy will be about Segway polo….stay tuned!

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Shocking news of Natasha Richardson’s death

March 19, 2009

 British actress Natasha Richardson has died from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident in Canada. Actress Natasha Richardson was not wearing a helmet when she fell and suffered a critical head injury on a beginners ski slope. The question is — would a helmet have saved her life?

 Natasha Richardson pictured with husband Liam Neeson

The answer is a surprising one: maybe not.

For years, the ski industry has been encouraging skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets.

Statistics from the 2007/2008 season released by the National Ski Areas Association found 43 percent of skiers and snowboarders wear helmets and that helmet use increases by 4-5 percent each year.

But despite the significant increase in helmet use over the past several seasons, the fatality rate in skiing and snowboarding has remained constant.

“Helmets are not going to prevent you from having a fatality,” Dave Byrd, director of education and risk for the National Ski Areas Association told FOXNews.com.

“What they are going to prevent is the lower-end scale of injuries, such as lacerations to the scalp or mild concussions.”

Byrd said the NSAA strongly encourages all skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets — but he stressed that the behavior of people on the mountain is just as important.

“Wear a helmet — but ski as if you’re not wearing one,” he said. “Sometimes people put on a helmet and feel like it’s a cloak of invincibility — but that’s not the case.”

The problem is that most helmets are designed to prevent injuries up to only 14 miles per hour. That’s not going to be real helpful, Byrd said, when, on average, a typical skier on an intermediate trail is moving at 25 to 40 miles per hour.

“And so we strongly encourage everyone to follow the responsibility code, which is a seven-point code that has been around for 30 years, about being responsible while skiing.”

Dr. Arno Fried, chairman of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said it’s important to be cautious because skiing presents the perfect scenario for a serious head injury.

“The head is moving quickly, and when it comes to an abrupt stop when you fall or hit something, this can cause traumatic brain injury.”

“In general, injuries can run the full gamut: from a concussion, which a person can recover from in a few hours, to a severe injury/hemorrhage in the brain, which can take weeks or months to recover from — sometimes requiring surgery, sometimes not.”

Fried said the bottom line: Children and adults should wear helmets.

In 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a report recommending all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets to help prevent head injuries from falls and collisions.

That recommendation was made following the highly publicized deaths of Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy in 1998. Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, was killed during a ski accident in Aspen, Colo. A few days later, Bono suffered fatal injuries while skiing in Lake Tahoe.

Still, Byrd said skiing remains a remarkably safe sport.

“On average, there have been 39 fatalities per year over the last decade,” he said. “And that shows that skiing is just as safe – or safer – compared with the fatalities that result from swimming or bicycling.”

The beautiful and radiant Natasha Richardson, who we remember so well from her early days on the stage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and who had a holiday home just a few miles from where we live in the south of France will be remembered for her amazing vitality and sense of fun that she brought to every aspect of her life.

We add to the chorus of sympathy extended to her family, particularly her mother, husband and two sons. Natasha, we know your star will shine so bright and can never be extinguished.

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Richardson, 45, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave, fell on a beginners’ slope at the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec on Monday. Richardson died in a New York hospital, close to the home she shared with Irish actor Liam Neeson and their two sons.

The accident happened while the actress was taking a supervised skiing lesson at the Quebec resort.

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Rodeo timed events – barrel racing, pole bending, steer wrestling

February 26, 2009

Last week we put a blog out about the bull riding and Professional Bull Riders which attracted a lot of interest and we therefore you would like to know more about the world of rodeo which when you think about it would have to be considered an extreme sport.

History

Rodeo did of course originate from the activities of cowboys and vaqueros who on a daily basis were managing steers from horseback on the vast ranches and needed to either separate, move to different pasture, treat for illness or brand the cattle. Rodeo competition grew from these every day activities and by 1860 there were informal rodeo competitions in both Mexico and north western America. By 1910 several major rodeos were established including the Calgary Stampede, the Pendleton Round-Up and the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Rodeo is now particularly popular in the province of Alberta in Canada and throughout the western United States and is the official sport of Wyoming and Texas.

The modern professional rodeo is big business with more than 7,500 cowboys competing for over $30 million prize money at 650 rodeos. The circuit concludes with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR)  held in Las Vegas, Nevada  in December.

Today rodeo encompasses three discipllines – namely timed events, roping and rough stock competition (bull riding being part of rough stock competition). Today we will look at the timed events: barrel racing, pole bending and steer wrestling.

Competition – timed events

Barrel racing – exclusively a women’s sport. In a barrel race, horse and rider gallop around a cloverleaf pattern of barrels, making agile turns without knocking the barrels over. The fastest time is the winner. Check out the action in the video below from tetah11.

Pole bending – horse and rider run the length of a line of six upright poles, turn sharply and weave through the poles, turn again and weave back and then return to the start. Fastest time wins all but it should be noted that pole bending is not a professional sport – check out how it is done in the video fromRodeoDVD

Steer wrestling – also known as “Bulldogging,” the rodeo event where the rider jumps off his horse onto a steer and ‘wrestles’ it to the ground by grabbing it by the horns. Again the quickest time gets the most points and is therefore deemed the winner. It is considered the most dangerous of the timed events as the cowboy runs a risk of missing the steer and landing head first in the dirt, or of having the thrown steer land on top of him, sometimes horns first, whilst attempting to wrestle it to the ground. Again the action can be seen in the video below from easternslopepro.

One element that is not generally of concern with other extreme sports that we cover is animal rights  – we believe and respect everyones opinion but would suggest that participants are not wanting to harm their horses or the steers – all of which cost money and will only perform well if they are fit and sound. We are always interested to hear your thoughts on this and any other issue.

This brief introduction to the timed events of rodeo will be followed by a look at roping and rough stock competition in a future publication.

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2009 Red Bull Air Racing World Championship program

February 5, 2009

We are pleased to bring you news of the schedule for the 2009 Red Bull Air Racing World Championship with a great video of the action, thrills and spills from the 2008 season.

  But first the World Championship Air Racing 2008 final rankings

1  H. Arch  AUT  61 points
2 P. Bonhomme  GBR 54 points
3 K. Chambliss  USA  46 points
4 M. Mangold  USA  44 points
5 P. Besenyei  HUN  34 points
6 S. Jones    GBR   33 points
7 N. Lamb  GBR   30 points
8 A. Maclean  ESP  21 points
9 N. Ivanoff   FRA  19 points
10 M. Goulian   USA  16 points
11 S. Rakhmanin  RUS  2 points
12 G. Dell   RSA  0 points
Here is all the action from the 2008 season, this compilation video is provided by Redbullairrace on YouTube – thanks – now watch these crazy men in their flying machines demonstrate why this sport is so extreme.

With more pilots, a more compact program and a new race format the 2009 season will go to six locations, 15 pilots will fight for seconds, points and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship title.

An overview of the upcoming season.

The fifth season in the history of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will take place over six racing weekends. Already a tradition is the kick-off in Abu Dhabi, this year taking place on April 17 and 18. After that – also as in 2008 – it’s off to San Diego (May 9-10). On June 13 and 14 in Windsor, an auto manufacturing city on the United States’ border, Air Race pilots will conquer Canadian airspace for the first time. Following this are Budapest (August 19-20) and Porto (September 12-13), two well-known locations, before Barcelona celebrates its comeback in the racing calendar with the season finals on October 3 and 4. In 2006 one million spectators watched the Red Bull Air Race in the Catalonian seaport.

Boasting 15 pilots, the 2009 field is bigger than ever before. While two-time winner (Budapest 2006, Porto 2007) Steve Jones (GBR) ends his Red Bull Air Race career, four new rookies from four different continents will stir up the air. Alongside Matthias Dolderer (GER), Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) and Matt Hall (AUS), as the youngest Air Race pilot of all time 24-year-old Canadian Pete McLeod will try to snatch up as many WC points as possible from the established pilots surrounding title-defender Hannes Arch (AUT).

Something to look forward to on this grey and cold February day – oh come on spring – time to wake up!!

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Kite Surfing in Canada

January 30, 2009

“The potential for kite surfing is mind blowing!”
Don Montague, Naish Sails

Well here we are – back on the subject of kite surfing again. It was kite surfing that originally got us started on this blog. Fast growing and simple to learn, kiting is one of the newest and most rewarding adventure sports out there, but in time the lure of other extreme sports proved too much and we broadened our field somewhat.

however, they still talk of kite surfing being the newest adrenaline sport taking America by storm. Europeans have already been hit hard by the kitesurfing bug. Some say it is the newest water sport of the millenium…

I know, I know – it’s not THAT new. However, it has taken a while to grow in popularity.

“LET’S GO FLY A KITE….” – remember that song? how long is it since you watched Mary Poppins, or did you ever watch Mary Poppins? not that it matters much, it’s just that kites have grown up a bit since those halycon days…

Although it is still mid-winter here, and probably frozen and bitterly cold in Canada – I decided to choose that country, and its wide choice of kitesurfing, kite skiing, kite snowboarding and kite mountainboarding, as my topic on this bright, sunny and crisply cold morning…

Canada has two coasts – the Pacific and the Atlantic, the Great Lakes, and  hundreds of  small lakes which makes Canada the perfect year-round kitesurf playground – despite their extremely cold winters. Remember, if you don’t fancy braving the freezing waters, all  you need do is swap your kiteboard for a snowboard or skies – or even blades to make the most of the frozen lakes and huge areas covered in deep winter snow.

Of course, the fact that canadiantourism dropped a broad hint that I should go and have a look at the following video of kitesurfing in New Brunswick, had something to do with this article too!

Shippagan, on the mainland, and Lameque, an island just off the coast in northern New Brunswick is said to be one of the best kitesurfing locations in Canada. The regular wind, the deep-water lagoon, and the warm water of the Baie des Chaleurs give perfect condtions for learners and keen participators of this sport.

From New Brunswick to Newfoundland … why not?  Would you ever have thought of kitesufing in such cold spots? But you can, and you can also discover the freedom of kite-skiing or kite-snowboarding in total synergy with the wind. Deer Lake, however, is a 50km stretch of water that separates the Upper and Lower sections of the Humber River. It offers some great recreational potential and is often used by canoeists, kayakers, boaters, windsurfers and kiters – beware of errant golf balls from the nearby resort though!

Slowly making our way west, we come to Brittania Bay near Ottowa where you can rely on experiencing this region’s strongest winds. They are generally north-west and this allows for some excellent kiting and surfing. In fact, they have perfect conditions for kite boarders and windsurfers who launch from a special 2nd beach at the end of a long rock pier. The waters are quite shallow on either side of the pier, allowing beginners to wade in shallow water.

We shall now take a rather large step across the interior of Canada and come to another halt in the Rocky Mountains – Canmore, Alberta to be exact. this is the home of kiteboarding, kitesurfing, snow kiteboarding, kite skiing and mountainboarding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They look at the combination of the above sports as a ‘lifestyle’ and are keen that others view them in the same favourable way.

Alberta is perfect for round-the-year kitesurfing. They, too, have  numerous lakes to choose from and lots of windy days during the summer. Kitesurfing in the winter,as you can imagine, is ideal:  miles and miles of snow-covered terrain and if you head up to the ski areas – no need to buy a ski pass.

In my rush across Canada I did rather step over the Saskatchewan. I hope you can picture, in your mind’s eye, the vast acreages that reach out to the horizon in every direction. Now give all this a coat of snow and imagine the fun you can have. And in summer you can exchange your skis or board for all-terrain rollerblades or a mountain board and keep that adrenaline pumping.

There is also Lake Diefenbaker – 125km south of Saskatoon. Lake Diefenbaker is a reservoir shaped like a T with a dam at each end. Water levels change depending on the season and beaches can be big at times making it the perfect place to learn and upgrade your kiteboarding skills. You can come in and land almost anywhere along the 300km shoreline. Diefenbaker is a premiere kiteboarding destination for all levels of kiters and is well worth a trip.

And of course, across on the west coast is British Columbia. Not only do they have the ocean but they also have plenty of inland lakes and reservoirs and, too, the Okanagan valley which is Canada’s California, a beautiful region of fruit trees and lakes. Kitesurfers in BC have a choice of ocean, lake or snow kiting. The world’s their oyster.

Remember that kitesurfing is a unique experience for real adrenaline lovers and people who wish to try something different and exciting!

And just to remind you that this is not a tame sport, watch Sebastien Cattelan break the world speed kitesurfing record on 3rd october 2008, thanks to ikraal for posting it, and congratulations to Sebastien.

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Waveboarding’s latest adaptation

January 22, 2009

We have noticed that there is an increasing number of those extreme sports enthusiasts who are asking more and more about waveboards and street surfing.

The waveboard was originally invented by a Korean man. This man named it the snakeboard or the S-board. Then an American company asked the Korean man for his idea and the company switched the name from snakeboard to waveboard or the ripstick.

Now there has been a further adaptation which is gaining in popularity in Canada; it combines skating, surfing and snowboarding.

What adapts the board to ice is the blizice system which consists of two small stainless steel blades.  The blades can be easily converted for asphalt by inserting wheels, making it a board for all seasons.

Mike Cooke,  of the  Dog Bowl Board in Brooklin, Ont., said “the sport has become extremely popular, I can’t believe the response we’ve had. A couple of people asked for it and then once I got it in the store it took off. In the last couple months we’ve sold well over 30 boards.”

The first video is from thewavevideos and shows the Street Team stutting their stuff in traditional wave board style..

The second is from ehoob10717 –  very instructional for this extreme sport which is getting more and more popular.

The final video from mpanagis shows what happens and what can be done when you adapt your waveboard with the blizice system. Despite Mr Cooke’s optimism (see above) we are not convinced that this adaptation will have a universal appeal due to the limiting necessity and therefore space, of ice.

Still  it  might be a good idea to have a pair of blizice in your pocket – you never know when it might freeze over.

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Flight of fancy for those down under

November 27, 2008

First things first – today is Thanksgiving day in the United States of America so happy Thanksgiving Day to all our US readers – it is a time to give thanks for the harvest, and in general, although this year many Americans will wonder what they should be thankful for. It is also celebrated in Canada, but rather than the 4th Thursday of November the Canadians give thanks on the 2nd Monday of October. And let us not forget the Grenadans, whose Thanksgiving Day is on the 25th October, when they celebrate the removal from office and execution of their Prime Minister Maurice Bishop! Oh well – it takes all sorts, something we should never forget.

And now we turn to Australia – I don’t know about you but its darn cold in the south of France at the moment – snow is forecast – and so we thought it would be good to cheer us up by finding some sunshine – down under here we go, beam me up Scotty!

This sounds fun – have you ever heard of a Tiger Moth? No…..well its an aeroplane – a biplane to be more precise, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for the Royal Air Force in the 1930s and primarily used as an aircraft for training pilots. It can cruise at about 100mph and is a two seater with an open cockpit – over 8,800 were built and it has been used by airforces in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, India, Persia, Iraq, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Poland, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Spain, Spanish State, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and Uruguay – they got around a bit as they say.

Well nowadays they are primarily used as air ambulances, aerial advertising, crop dusting, glider tugs and for recreational and aerobatic use. Finally we get there…… for it is this last purpose that would be a lot of fun, kind of extreme, a very nice birthday present perhaps and if you find yourself in Melborne, in the state of Victoria, in southern Australia you have a great opportunity to fly around the city for 30 minutes and even do some gentle loops, rolls and spins – the cost $275 – and I presume thats Aussie dollars.

If you want to find out more go to the companies website which is www.godo.ninemsn.com.au and check it out and watch the video below from schlutorflyer – it makes you want to reach for your goggles, feel the air rush past in the open cockpit, just imagine you are Ralph Fiennes or the beautiful Kristin Scott Thomas – yes this is the plane they used in The English Patient, an extreme classic – have a great Thanksgiving Day wherever you are.