Posts Tagged ‘extreme sports’


WOW – extreme surfing

June 20, 2009

This is taking extreme sports to the limits – surfing a tsunami wave! What a wave, thanks to pads316 for posting it:

and since it’s Saturday and I don’t have much time… I couldn’t resist posting this video from mobscene1003 of other strange occurrences following a tsunami. Bare with the German write-up (unless of course you understand German in which case I apologise!), the fish are worth having a look at.


Some useful tips on belaying

May 11, 2009

The other day I did an article on stupid mistakes to avoid when abseiling – today it’s belaying’s turn… With extreme sports such as rock climbing, there are so many things that can go wrong, so it is worth reminding oneself from time to time of some of the basic most logical rules which are all too easy to forget, or neglect to do, in your haste to get up there.

This article will be a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs to some of you, but bear with me… it never hurts to be reminded of a thing or two.

Belaying is, of course, the technique of controlling the rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far. The term belay is also used to mean the place where the belayer is anchored; this would typically be a ledge, but may instead be a hanging belay, where the belayer is suspended from anchors in the rock. Control of the rope is achieved through applying friction, which allows control of the speed at which the rope slides past the belayer.

It is one of the most important of the climbing skills and is absolutely essential to all climbers.

So, enough about what belaying actually is. What are the mistakes to avoid?

  • Always pay attention to your climbing partner, and I mean ALWAYS
  • Always double check your harness buckles are double passed
  • Check the tie-in knot is properly tied
  • Check the belay device is properly rigged
  • Check that the locking carabiner is locked
  • Check the anchor set-up and tie-ins are rigged correctly
  • Check that the free end of the rope is knotted or tied into the belayer
  • NEVER take your brake hand off the rope – and don’t hold any other strand other than the brake strand in your brake hand. Thanks to teachmetoclimb for this video.
  • Always keep the rope taut when belaying someone – do not let it pass through the belay device while lowering someone. Tie a stopper knot in the end, or even better, get your belayer to tie in to the end.
  • Get acknowledgement before taking someone off belay. Don’t rush into things. Always get confirmation when taking someone off belay or committing to being lowered.
  • Stand close to the cliff when belaying. Put a helmet on if you’re worried about rock fall. If you are belaying from too far out from the cliff the leader could be slammed into the wall during a fall.
  • Forcing your panicked leader to take a fall because, down at the belay, you allowed a knot to creep into the slack rope. Flake the rope out before beginning belay duty, even if it looks neatly coiled.
  • Getting hit by loose rock or items dropped by your leader. Wear a helmet. Even something as simple as the movement of the rope above you can cause loose rock to come crashing down.

Then of course, there are the terms that are used between the leader and belayer, thank you to expertvillage for their simple but excellent short video.

Remember: “a bad anchor is a dead climber”. That’s a saying worth remembering wouldn’t you say?! And another thing worth remembering is that learning to belay is one of the most fundamental links to successful climbing, so learn it well, learn it right, and never never rush it.


Short of ideas on what to do this weekend?

April 25, 2009

This video, courtesy of   mouthpiecesports1 is full of extreme things to give you some ideas. Mind you, some of them are bound to be unpopular or forbidden in your neighbourhood, and with some of the exploits, quite rightly so!

Anyway, enjoy…


Banging on about High Diving and extreme sports rules and regulations

April 24, 2009

This is becoming an exhaustive subject! Sorry. But apologies again for some more mis-information…

We recently reported on Dana Kunze’ 172 ft dive as being the highest dive in the world. We thought that was pretty extreme.

We were then corrected and told that it was actually Oliver Favre who held the title with a 177 ft dive. Also extreme.

And then Dana Kunze himself has set the record straight for us….

Yes, it is perfectly correct that Oliver Farve completed a dive of 177 ft. However, he sustained injuries – in fact he broke his back – and the rule of the game is that you are disqualified if you are injured in this sport.

Therefore… it is Dana Kunze who holds the title and achievement of being the World’s Highest Diver.

If you are an avid reader of our Blog (which we sincerely hope you are) you might remember  similar rules in another extreme sport we follow with interest – freediving.

Although Sara Campbell completed an incredible 100m constant weight depth dive – the first woman to have attained this remarkable depth, she briefly blacked out as she broke the surface and was therefore disqualified. She completed the competition with a successful 96m dive – still a world record breaker.  littlefreediver

There are rules that are put in place to try and protect competitors from doing themselves a damage.

There have been many debates  over regulating thrill-seeking ”extreme sports’ – Freediving and High diving, to name but two, have imposed their own strict rules.

Lawmakers in Switzerland have been  pushing for laws regulating fate-tempting sports, which often involve inexperienced participants, but passing such laws, whether involving caving, canyoning, paragliding, ice climbing or bungee jumping, has proved difficult in Switzerland, even in the face of several disasters in recent years.

The problem is  people do extreme sports because it gives them a feeling of freedom – an escape from the nanny state we all live in. If everything became too regimented one risks pushing these people toward activities that are even less controlled.

You might have heard of the BASEjumping accident at Table Mountain, Cape Town on Friday? It seems that South Africa has a remarkably sympathetic and sensible attitude to extreme sports enthusiasts and this accident has drawn it into focus. Would the rest of the world could listen and learn…

Base jumper Karl Hayden sustained minor injuries after his canopy malfunctioned as he leapt off Table Mountain on Friday. Rescue workers spent several hours combing the mountainside before airlifting Hayden to safety, the Cape Times reported. Hayden was lucky; despite multiple fractures — wrist, rib, femur and pelvis — the Capetonian managed to avoid a spinal injury, the daily reported.

That was the situation.

And the shout that goes out worldwide saying “aren’t people like Karl Hayden wasting rescue services time and money by doing a sport that is inherently dangerous? Why should rescue survices then put themselves in danger by trying to rescue these foolhardy idiots?”

Well, the response in South Africa was calm, measured and sensible. Wayne Smith, deputy director of Metro Medical Services, South Africa, agrees that although there are risks involved, extreme sports will continue despite any attempt at regulating the activity.

“Extreme sports are always going to be around. Extreme sports are risky but society needs to give people who enjoy those types of activities the necessary space to do so,” said Smith.

Mountain rescue worker, Roy White, says he has no problem in helping those who put themselves in harm’s way.

“It’s part of my job. Most of us are quite happy to help them. Where do you draw the line from an accident to an attempted suicide? Everyone who uses the mountain faces a certain amount of risk.”

If regulations were brought in, the feeling is that very quickly most extreme sports enthusiasts would find a way to circumnavigate them. Banning a sport in a certain area would only make things worse because they would go ahead and do it anyway and that would make things even more difficult for rescue services.

It seems rescue workers and extreme sports enthusiasts reach a stalemate when it comes to regulating the sport. But perhaps the last word belongs to basic common sense.

“We can’t regulate the sport but we could advise them to leave contact details with someone. It all comes down to educating people about good mountain use,” said White. And that sort of prosaicness is comforting and oh-so sensible.

Anyway, what has happened to freedom of choice? I am not advocating that you go out there and so something so ludicrously stupid that the result is death. But, if you do an extreme sport, you are obviously aware of the risks, are you not? And having evaluated that and decided to continue, then that, surely, is your choice, is it not? and having taken that decision, you are not likely to be the type of person to squeal if something goes wrong… are you?

If you are aware of the dangers before you begin, you can’t then cry “but nobody told me…”

The problem is that we are being so conditioned by over zealous governments as to ‘what to, how to, when to… do anything’, that if anything goes wrong one instantly hears  “it’s not my fault., it must be yours'”. I think for this very reason a chunk of society, in a last ditch attempt of having some control and decision over their own lives, take to an extreme sport where they decide on a sport, learn the art and then make their own decisions and no-one can tell them what to do…

What do you think?


Do you need some inspiration choosing your extreme holiday this year?

April 18, 2009

… if so, please follow this link:


The importance of finding the right shoes for your chosen sport

April 3, 2009

I am sure you will have, at one time in your life, cursed the shoes on your feet… I know I have. I had one holiday where we did a lot of hill walking and only belatedly did I find out that I should have bought hiking boots at least a size, if not 2 sizes larger than my feet actually are…

So what are the truths about sports shoes and how do you know what to look for and what to buy?

Here is a very simple breakdown of some points worth remembering when buying new shoes…

Hiking Boots:

You have two choices: leather or lightweight hiking books. Leather has the advantage of moulding to the shape of your foot, but obviously it comes with a higher price tag. However, either of these boots must have ankle support. The boot must be at least one size – if not 2 – larger than your normal shoe size. When you put the boot on, unlaced, you should be able to slide your toes to the end of the boot and fit your finger between your heel and the heel of the boot – this extra space is important because your feet swell when warm and there is nothing worse than being miles out on a hike and find that your feet are blistering and terribly sore.

Your toes must not touch the front of the boot. To make sure you have the right size, when trying on the boots, bang the toe of the boot against the wall – if your toe touches the end… the boot is too small.

When lacing the boot up, don’t lace too tightly. The foot should be comfortable with a little movement around the heel area.

Wear two pairs of hiking socks – this gives extra protection against blisters, gives good padding and also draws the moisture away from the foot. Although it goes against the grain to say this, natural fibre socks are more likely to cause blistering. Thank you to mooutdoors for the video.

Break your boots in before you go for a long hike. Even the best fitting most comfortable boots are likely to cause blisters on their first outing.

Mountain climbing boots:

You will need the stiffest hiking boots possible. These are often called stompers. These will allow you to attach crampons if needed. They also provide better stability when hiking in snow or through icy portions of your trail. Stompers are also best for long backpacking trips where you are carrying a heavy load. They will provide you with the best grip and steadiness when you are under the weight of a stuffed backpack.

Rock Climbing Shoes:

Different types of rock climbing require different types of shoes.

Slippers:  these hug the foot tightly, are light and have very thin soles to give maximum sensitivity. They are ideal for training, wall climbing and bouldering.

All-purpose:  these are typically cut high to protect ankles and are designed to be comfortable and good performers. They can be used for a wide variety of rock climbing such as multi-pitch climbs, cracks, edging and smearing.

High performance: self-explanatory. These shoes are cut low for added flexibility and lighter weight. High-performance shoes are designed to fit tight for maximum rock-sensitivity and control. They are ideal for high-intensity climbing and difficult sport-climb routes.

Have a look here to see the huge variety  of rock climbing shoes available, with thanks to waterstoneoutdoors .

Ski boots

Good ski boots should be snug, and should support your foot and ankle while allowing enough flexibility to manoeuver with. They should keep your feet warm, dry, and padded to protect you against impacts which may result in injuries. Having the proper fit is the most important thing to consider as far as these boots are concerned.

The main difference in ski boots is how to put them on and there are two different type of methods for this – either top or rear entry. In general, rear entry boots are easier to use but top entry boots give more support.

Liners in the boot mould to you feet and over time they become compressed. It is important to look after the liners which means that after a long day skiing don’t go back to the lodge and drop your boots in a forgotten corner – you must either remove the liner and make sure it dries properly or place the boot in a heated environment overnight so it dries out. Boot liners are designed to help regulate the temperature of the foot and to wick away excessive sweat. As it compresses with use, it stops doing this. It is recommended to change your liners every 2 years – if you are skiing about 4 weeks a year.

And a final note on ski boots – the suggested life of a ski boot is 7 years. If you ski 50+ times a year then the time period is shorter.

Good descriptive video here from mhawk98642 showing you how a ski boot should fit.

Snowboarding boots:

Similar with other sports footwear, the most significant factor that ensures your comfort and performance is a good fit. When snowboarding your foot can swell by half a size so it’s important to have a boot a little larger than your normal size. Snowboarding boots should fit snugly around the ankle, and should hold your heel firmly down in the boot.

If you’re going for Soft Boots you should feel some toe movement. For Hard Boots there should be minimal toe movement.  Once the boots have been used the internal padding will become compacted, thereby increasing the available space slightly. Your heals must NOT be able to lift at all when the boot is laced up. To check this out, lace the boots up and stand on tip-toe… if your heel lifts the boots are too big.

Here’s a very useful short video of a nifty way to tie your snowboot laces so they don’t loosen during the day. Thanks to DogfunkFilms for sharing it with us.

That covers the footwear of  some of the extreme sport catagories we talk about. Next time I’ll see about some of the others…


From mountainboarding to mountainboard kiting

March 26, 2009

With mountain boarding one of the fastest growing extreme sports, is was only a matter of time, before the board was teamed up with the kite as so eloquently shown here by  Davelea360.

If you already kitesurf, making the transition to kite-mountainboarding is quite simple. A power kite can provide the energy to ride in parks, beaches, cross-country, or on a dry lake bed.

Remember that a mountain board is little more than an off road skate board with pneumatic tires, foot straps, and adjustable suspension for better ride and handling performance.

MBS Pro 100 Mountainboard with noSno soft bindings

When kitesurfing you are using the power of the kite to keep you on top of the water. Water creates a drag on the board so more power, and therefore a bigger kite, is needed.

However, with kiteboarding you are supported by a hard surface, whether it be sand or grass, therefore less friction, and so getting going is much easier. This means that you will need a kite which is one size (or maybe two sizes) smaller.

Getting muddy on a kiteboard
Andy Wardley, pictured above, was  one of the pioneers of kite landboarding He was among the first people to ride a mountain board under kite power back at the end of the last century (!) – 1999.

You change the tyre pressure depending on the surface you will be kiteboarding on: softer for sand, harder for grass. Softer tyres are also more forgiving on your body when riding on rougher terrain.

Here are some useful kiteboarding safety tips that should be thought about and remembered:

  • Have fun and stay safe while riding by making sure to wear a helmet, gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, long pants and long sleeves while kite mountainboarding.
  • If you wear your board-rider retention leash while riding; make certain it is fastened snugly above your lead leg’s knee pad to reduce the potential of knee injury from twisting your leg.
  • Use caution at all times. Kite within your limits and stay away from picnic areas, or populated parks.
  • Always scout (survey) your terrain prior to attempting to ride it. Watch out for hidden obstacles and unseen dangers. Point out hidden dangers to others.
  • Always be aware of and respect all automobiles, cyclists and pedestrians. Be mindful of others especially moving cars.
  • Use a lower tire pressure to slow your speed if just starting.
  • Practice stopping techniques frequently by bringing the kite overhead slowly, or slightly past, to resist your forward movement.
  • Recognize the distance required for these stops. Always practice your stopping technique even after you feel you know it.
  • When riding with others – always yield to the other rider. If both riders yield, problems will be avoided.
  • Observe and obey all posted signs. Only ride where permission is granted.
  • Always respect your environment, tread lightly to preserve nature.
  • Do not litter the parks with garbage.