Xtreme sports are a favorite among younger athletes. These sports are hip and have gotten a lot of mainstream attention. Since they're dangerous, many people wonder why folks do Xtreme sports. Athletes say it's the adrenaline rush, the excitement of doing something deadly and threatening and making it out alive.
The first BASE jump to be video taped was a 1978 jump from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It's a very dangerous and often illegal parachute jump from a fixed object. In fact, the BASE acronym stands for: Building, Antenna, Span and Earth, meaning that jumps can be made from buildings, unoccupied towers, bridges and cliffs.
A BMX bike is a cross between a bicycle and a motorcycle. These bikes have super suspension for riding on rough terrain. They don't have engines, but they are still called BMX, which stands for Bicycle Motorcross. There will be BMX events for the first time ever at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Bungee jumping was invented by A.J. Hackett of New Zealand and involves jumping from a high place while hooked up to a thick elastic rope. The diver falls and snaps back into the air before they hit the ground. Even though you're connected to a rope, bungee jumping is very dangerous. Ropes can fail and many jumpers get whiplash injuries.
Demolition derbies are extreme to the max. Cars that racers purchase from junk yards ram each other to the death at county fairs and carnivals. This spectator sport rose in popularity in the 1950's and reached its height in the 1970's. To make this dangerous sport slightly more safe, all glass is removed from vehicles before they head into battle.
Motorcross bikes are special motorcycles built to handle terrain racing and stunts. Motorcross has evolved into freestyle motorcross, where riders do tricks and leap from a ramp, minibike motorcross and even quad motorcross with ATV machines. The hardest motorcross trick is a double backflip performed mid-air off a ramp.
Rock climbing started in the Alps with mountaineers. Since the sport has taken off, most mountains have been graded in terms of difficulty so that climbers know what they're getting themselves into. If there's no mountain near you, you can always practice on indoor climbing walls but you've got to pass a safety test first!
Over 12.5 million people in the world skateboard. Skateboards started as "sidewalk surfboards" in the 1950's but the signature skateboard trick, the "ollie" that started it all, wasn't done until the 1970's. Skateboards got so popular that the military tested them in the 1990's to see if they were useful during combat operations.
The traditional term for skydiving is parachuting, because jumpers use a parachute after they're done free falling. The first people to develop parachuting technology were soldiers in the US military. It became a recreational, competitive sport in 1951. If the diver points head-down during their fall, they can reach speeds up to 200 mph.
The Hawaiian culture is ruled by the ocean. For hundreds of years, Hawaiian chiefs surfed on hardwood boards to unite with nature and they started the surfing craze. In 2007, surfers in Brazil broke the world record for the most surfers catching the same wave with 84 surfers riding at the exact same time.