Extreme Sports in Low Gravity Environments

It goes without saying that humans love to watch the X-games on TV – those extreme sport athletes on skateboards, bungees, motorcycles, parachutes, stunt planes, and what not. Often we see these dare devils as Red Bull addicted thrill seekers with a death wish, who knows maybe some are. Yes, they are adrenaline junkies if there ever was such a thing. Of course, all these extreme sports are done here on Earth, but in the future, extreme sports will follow humankind as he boldly goes to other worlds as well.

Science fiction writer Ben Bova once described sporting events that might be played on an asteroid, and even Carl Sagan made some comments about extreme sports being played on asteroids. Consider if you will a human attached to a giant bungee cord running across a spinning asteroid and jumping as far and as hard as he could to escape it’s small Gravity Dwell (escape velocity), and then floating in space behind the asteroid until the bungee cord stretched out and pulled him back?

But extreme sports on asteroids are not the only types of extreme sports which will be conquered in the future. On Mars there are very deep canyons, and I can imagine people running and jumping off the side of those canyons with some sort of device to slow down their fall. One of the canyons on Mars is so deep it goes for nearly 20 miles. We don’t have any canyons on Earth that are that deep, not even close. So you can imagine what an extremist sporting event that would be – the ultimate B.A.S.E. jump indeed.

The moon also has holes on it, and giant tubes created by lava hundreds of millions of years ago. Surely humans will wish to do a little rock climbing, bungee jumping, and other extreme endeavors there. Further, there will be orbiting space hotels and colonies as well, and in zero gravity there are all kinds of fun things humans can do in the way of sports. And as you know humans will always find a way to entertain themselves, so you can bet they will try.

Now then, I imagine that’s humans will videotape all their adventures, and place these videos on their Facebook pages, and allow people to download their expeditions, and extreme jumps into Virtual Reality Holographic living room gaming devices. This way people at home will be able to enjoy the exact same experience here on Earth that other humans are enjoying on the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and orbiting space stations. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Extreme Sports

An Introduction to Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is one of the most extreme sports that people take part in worldwide. The first attempt at this extreme sport was in 1979 when a ‘dangerous sports’ team from England devised the bungee device that is still in use today. The first bungee jump was made successfully from the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

“Awesome Extreme Sport”

In 1986 a man named A.J. Hackett did his first jump in New Zealand. He went on to jump off a number of important buildings including the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Not long after this, bungee jumping really came into its own as an extreme sport and is now a popular activity throughout the world for extreme sports lovers. But how safe really is it? And what are the odds of dying in a bungee jumping accident?

Bungee Cords

Due to the high risk element associated with the sport, chemists and physicists are constantly striving to make improvements in the make up of bungee cord. The bungee cord that is used today is predominantly made up of rubber and synthetic materials. When creating the equipment, the height and weight of different people are taken into account in order to ensure survival. Different cords are used for different weighted people to ensure maximum safety. It is up to scientists to make sure they use a medium between flexible and stiff in order to let the extreme sportsman enjoy the sport and keep him alive.

Safety

Before even thinking about doing a bungee jump 99.9% of people will want to be completely assured that they will be safe from harm. Statistics show that there is only a two in one million chance of dying from this sport, making it pretty safe especially when compared to other extreme sports like scuba diving and rock climbing. Adding to this, it may (or may not) be reassuring to know that almost all accidents that have happened have not occurred due to the actual bungee, but due to the operators not attaching the cord to the person or the building correctly. The producers of bungee cords are more than efficient at their job.

Perceptions

When compared to other sports it is not uncommon for many people to believe bungee jumping is more dangerous. Take sky diving for instance – due to the high numbers of ‘ordinary’ people that take part in this sport, many people believe it is relatively safe. It is a generally safe sport but when compared to bungee jumping the odds of dying are much higher. The same can be said for parachute jumping and scuba diving. If you’ve thought about doing a bungee jump, why not research it further? The odds of dying are very small!

Day Activities For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Love to be outdoors, but feeling trapped by the rain? Don’t fret: there are a plethora of activities one can do in spite of the wet weather. Read on for a few ideas.

Foosball

Also known as table soccer or table football, foosball offers great fun for 2 to 4 players. Passing the mini-ball around makes for great time to catch up with friends and family.

If more than 4 people want to play, create a championship tournament with players competing against each other one-on-one. Winning players are paired off until only two remain for the final foosball championship face-off.

Rainy Day Walks or Hikes

Rain transforms the world outside, so rainy day walks or hikes are an experience to be savored. Take the stance of many devoted runners, who are fond of saying that there is no bad running weather, only poorly prepared runners. Get yourself a waterproof outfit and venture out. Let wet-weather birdcalls enchant you, and allow fresh, clean smells to energize you. If a trail has a thick canopy of trees overhead, the rain sometimes seems like a mist. Once you return home, take a warm shower and savor a bowl of thick stew.

Travel Somewhere New

What is your ultimate travel dream? Blustery, dreary days are perfect for learning more about your dream spot via book, video, or Internet. Check out your local library’s travel resources, which may include informational DVDs and audio books. Every country in the world has a website. Dream of Dubai? Visit their official tourist page. Craving Costa Rican beaches? Take a mini-visit on the World Wide Web.

Slacklining

Slacklining is a balance sport that is gaining popularity in the United States. This variation on tightrope walking can be done indoors or outside. As its name implies, the major difference between slacklining and tightrope walking is that in slacklining, the rope is not tight.

To slackline, attach a nylon rope between two sturdy points. The height of the rope is your preference; it can be inches or a couple of feet off the ground. The line may also be adjusted to be more or less taught.

Typically, the nylon rope is anchored between two trees outside. However, people who practice this sport indoors often anchor their rope to columns in a room instead.

Indoor Rock Climbing

Climbing indoor rock walls is a safe way to practice an extreme sport. Not only are there physical benefits to rock climbing, but also emotional ones, as participants often feel a rush of accomplishment and confidence when they finish climbs. Rock climbing also benefits a climber’s brain, as they have to figure out what move to make next, and how to maintain their grip as they ascend.

Most rock climbing gyms offer climbing routes for all levels of climbers. The great thing about this sport is that anyone can try it, regardless of her or his upper body strength. As you practice climbing, you will tone your entire upper body without the monotony of lifting weights.

As you can see, with a little thought and imagination, there are plenty of rainy day activities for outdoor enthusiasts. If all else fails, spend gray days planning your next big outdoor adventure. You’ll appreciate your extra preparation once the weather clears and you’re out on the trail again.

Climbing Footwork With Slacklines

Precise and powerful footwork in rock climbing often makes the difference between sticking a move and falling off the wall. All too often I have the finish of a boulder problem within reach, only to have my foot slip out from under me.

As routes get more difficult, it is increasingly necessary to have great footwork. This means trusting in your feet to provide balance, stability, and propulsion on even the tiniest of footholds.

This coordination can be very difficult, especially when you’re tired and technique begins to falter. However, with correct training, good footwork can become second nature. This will get you up the wall faster, with less time spent thinking about your feet. Overall, this will take more strain off your arms and leave you energy and strength for harder climbs.

What is slacklining?

Slacklining is the sport of balancing on a narrow piece of webbing suspended between two anchors. This is different from traditional tightrope walking in two ways. First, the webbing is flat instead of rounded like a rope. This provides a better surface to balance on. Second, webbing is stretchy and dynamic, allowing the line to bounce like a trampoline. This aspect of slacklining opens up many possibilities and variations that aren’t feasible in tightrope walking.

You can make your own slackline out of climbing webbing, or purchase one online. Gibbon slacklines are very popular with beginner slackliners.

When learning, it is best to practice with a slackline set close to the ground. A height of two feet allows the line to flex, but is low enough to be fairly safe. Slacklines can be set up on almost anything, but two trees about twenty or thirty feet apart work perfectly and are easy to access. Try to set your line up over grass for a soft landing. Cover any dangerous objects you might fall on and use crash pads if in doubt about your safety.

How to train on slacklines

The first goal of slacklining is simply to walk from one end to the other. Slacklining is difficult, and it takes lots of practice to be able to walk on one. When you are first beginning, try to use as short a line as possible. This will make the line more stable and easier to practice on. As you get better, extend the length of the line for more of a challenge.

Going barefoot helps to grip the line better and gives you more tactile feedback. Start in the middle of the line where it is more stable. It is helpful to have something to hold on to while you get used to walking the line. Run a rope above the line at chest level that you can hold on to while learning. This assistance while balancing will make starting out less frustrating and will help you learn faster.

You will fall a lot at first, but keep at it! Building balance is tricky, and can be frustrating at times. Balancing on only one foot is easier than on two, so focus on just standing on one foot at a time in the beginning. You will be shaky at first, but after a few days your legs will adjust. Then you can try walking by quickly switching between which foot you are balancing on. Train a little bit at a time and you’ll see progress.

Once you can balance for a few seconds, practice walking along the line. If you can make it from one end to the other you are doing great! Reaching this level can take a few weeks, and even then it is never simple to traverse a line. Even pros still wobble and have to concentrate.

If you are looking for more challenges, try turning around on the line. Walk one direction, then slowly turn around and walk the other way. Balancing well enough to turn in place is tricky!

Apply your new skills to rock climbing

After training with slacklines for a few weeks your legs will become stronger. You’ll notice that you shake less when standing on the line and balance will come to you easier. These are all great skills that you can now apply to rock climbing!

Next time you are climbing, focus on how you can use these slackline techniques to help you on the wall. Trust yourself to balance on one toe, and notice how your legs feel more powerful when pushing you up the wall. Since your legs are stronger you can do less work with your arms. This will allow you to save energy on longer climbs, as well as give you the extra edge you need to overcome very difficult moves. Enjoy your new rock climbing prowess courtesy of slacklining!