“It’s funny what’s happening to us. Our lives have become digital. Our friends now virtual, and everything you could ever want to know is only a click away. Experiencing the world through endless second hand information is not enough. If we want authenticity, we have to initiate it.”
Travis Rice, professional snowboarder and Olympic gold medal winner; a thrill seeker who doesn’t seek to hide behind the virtual world that continues to engulf us all. It isn’t easy for the majority to understand why the need for adrenalin is craved by some. But, the select few who choose to indulge in the rush of blood pumping around their veins over a keyboard, they’re the ones who get ‘it’; the ones creating the ‘authenticity’ out of their comfort zones.
They’re a rare breed in the United Kingdom, a place where climate and landscape limit individuals ability to perform a 360 on skis off a cliff, or surf a Pipeline. However, the danger and renegade stunts can be taken advantage of across Europe, as well as the traditional – albeit slightly strange – sports which carry unrivalled uniqueness still happening in the UK.
A sport which gained recognition in the 1990s thanks to French skydiver, Patrick de Gayardon; participants travel at a speed of 150mph with a safety net of a nylon bodysuit. Wingsuit flying has become increasingly scrutinised following a fateful summer in 2016, where 24 deaths were recorded over three months.
“I’m tired of adding names of close friends to my personal fatality list.”
Veteran Wingsuit Flier, Richard Webb
The increase in fatalities has been caused by the sport’s uptake in participants. The demand for competition, coupled with the platform that social media creates, has amplified the danger and risks taken by competitors; the constant need to impress, and go one better.
The thrill seekers adrenalin regularly outweighs rationality, making the uptake of the fearless a continuing and likely theme. Plus, imagine flying around the Alps in what can only be described as a Batsuit.
A craze across Britain in which participants are not trained athletes. There should be natural alarm bells when the place of venue to take part in tombstoning occurs at an area known as Dead Man’s Cove. A sport which claimed the lives of 20 in eight years, and left many paralysed.
Thrill seekers, encouraged by their adrenalin, are made to jump through the pressure of those behind them; a raw daredevil. And a sport in itself where trained jumpers would take the leap of plummets from up to 65ft.
“To tombstone you need high water, a sensible cliff ledge, and a great big pair of balls!”
Stuart Morris, Tombstoner
The UK became the first country to recognise parkour as a sport in 2017. Done to an extreme level, the sport carries great risks – a Russian woman fell 17 storeys to her death recently partaking in a parkour move.
The sport’s uptake has grown through trained athletes such as, Sébastien Foucan, acting as Daniel Craig’s double in Casino Royal scenes, and this will continue to encourage the thrill seekers in wanting to take part. Although, pulling off parkour tricks makes you look like your own version of James Bond, just without prancing around in a dicky bow.
Wakeboarding… in a car park
Wakeboarding: hard in itself, but when the sport is done in a car park, it’s that little bit more terrifying. A group of males in Surrey were not to be beaten by the floods that swamped Britain in 2014, and chose to take advantage of the situation by wakeboarding in a car park.
The guys used a Red Bull winch to generate the speed to glide along the water, and in between the car park pillars. Nick Mangos was operating the winch and stated how…
“We weren’t really suppose to be there, so we waited until after dark when all the shoppers had gone.”
…as you casually do when it floods in the UK. The wakeboarders were manoeuvring around speeds of 15mph, surely over the normal recommended limit?!
Away from the sports which carry life risks, there are then the traditional – albeit bonkers – renegade sports which still create an element of danger – yet have hilariously mad participants…
And there we have the thrill seekers, the renegades who “initiate authenticity”; the ones not engulfed by the virtual world that’s slowly sucking us all in. To stop them would be criminal, they’re the creative renegades to take advantage of the elements. The adrenalin in the thrill seekers will always be there; they’ll always want to push the limits as much as possible.
And we wouldn’t dare get in there way.
COMING SOON: ‘8 Booth – Gravity’ – A CLICKON Original Series.