Monday, September 3, 2012

Top 10 Extreme Sports for Amateur Athletes

Top 10 Extreme Sports for Amateur Athletes (and even non-Athletes)

This is the first part in a series of posts for my quest to find the best extreme sport. Declaring something as "The Best" is always a subjective decision and ultimately depends on more than one factor. Acknowledging this, I have only ranked sports that I have actually done personally, limited my list to sports that anybody can do with less than a month of preparation, and ranked the same sports in each list.

Each of the following categories will be written about in the upcoming weeks and will address any comments or questions you have. For example, next Monday, I will write a post that explains in detail how I ranked the "Best Adrenaline Rush" and the following week will discuss how I ranked "Most Physically Challenging" and so forth.

Best Adrenaline Rush

What would an extreme sport be without that adrenaline rush?

1. Solo Skydiving

2. Motorcycle Driving

3. Tandem Skydiving

4. Ice Climbing

5. Canyon Swinging

6. Bungee Jumping

7. Free-diving

8. White-water Rafting

9. Scuba-diving

10. Rock Climbing

Most Physically Challenging

Sometimes overcoming the burn is just as much of a rush as completing the objective.

1. Ice Climbing

2. Rock Climbing

3. Free-diving

4. White-water rafting

5. Motorcycle driving

6. Solo Skydiving

7. Scuba-diving

8. Bungee Jumping

9. Canyon Swinging

10. Tandem Skydiving


Biggest Mental Hurdle

Of course, sometimes the biggest battle is just doing it.

Free Diver

1. Free-diving

2. Bungee Jumping

3. Canyon Swinging

4. Solo Skydiving

5. Motorcycle Driving

6. Ice Climbing

7. Tandem Skydiving

8. Scuba-diving

9. White-water rafting

10. Rock Climbing



I ranked safest (in my opinion), as opposed to most dangerous, because under the right supervision, all of these sports are relatively safe (most are safer than driving your car!)

Tandem Skydive

1. Tandem Skydiving

2. Scuba-diving

3. Canyon Swinging

4. Solo Skydiving

5. Rock Climbing

6. Free-diving

7. White-water Rafting

8. Bungee Jumping

9. Ice Climbing

10. Motorcycle Driving


Most Engaging Communities

When you share a unique passion with someone, encouraging each other to take/keep up the sport can be a big part of the fun.


1. Scuba-divers

2. Tandem Skydivers

3. Solo Skydivers

4. Rock Climbers

5. Motorcyclists

6. Free-divers

7. Ice Climbers

8. White-water Rafting

9. Bungee Jumping

10. Canyon Swinging


Easiest to Get Certified

You don't need to get certified for most of these sports, but those which you take some effort in planning and preparation in order to do right.

Canyon Swing

0. You don't need to get certified for Canyon Swinging, Tandem Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, White-water rafting (guided), or Ice Climbing (guided).

1. Rock Climbing

2. Motorcycle Driving

3. Scuba-diving

4. Solo Skydiving

5. Free-diving


Cost of Certification (Range Estimate)

For sports that require certification, I have ranked the total cost of an entry level certification.

Rock Climbing 1

1. Rock Climbing (Free-$150)

2. Motorcycle Driving (Free-$185)

3. Free-diving ($400)

4. Scuba-diving ($300-500)

5. Solo Skydiving ($1000-2000)


Affordability Per Outing (Range Estimate)

One of the most common questions I get asked is, once you get into a sport, get certified and buy all the gear, how expensive is it?

Rock Climbing 2

1. Rock Climbing (Free-$15 outdoors, $10-20 indoors)

2. Free-diving (Free-$30)

3. Ice Climbing (Free-unknown)

4. Scuba-diving ($5-$50)

5. Motorcycle Driving (Current price of gas - avg 50-60MPG)

6. Solo Skydiving ($15-30)

7. Tandem Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Canyon Swinging, and White-water Rafting are not sports you can acquire gear for without running a full-on business of your own and are therefore not ranked.


Affordability With Rental Gear Per Outing (Range Estimate)

Of course, before you buy your own gear, you have to try out rental gear to see what works for you. I've listed the price with certification (if applicable) with rental gear.

Rock Climbing 3

1. Rock Climbing ($20-40)

2. Free-diving ($30-40, though you usually buy your own gear)

3. Solo Skydiving ($35-50)

4. Canyon Swing ($80-160)

5. Tandem Skydiving ($100-200)

5. Scuba-diving ($100-200)

7. Bungee Jumping ($80-250)

8. Ice Climbing ($250-400)

9. White-water Rafting ($160-450 or more)

10. You don't rent motorcycles, you buy them


Affordability of Gear Purchase (Ranked Numerically)

The cost of gear can be such a wide ranges that I'm not going to rank it hear with dollar amounts. There are too many variables that go into selecting the appropriate gear for all of these sports and it really depends on how intense you are into the sport.  On average, the least expensive gear starts with:

Rock Climbing 4

1. Rock Climbing

2. Free-diving

3. Scuba-diving

4. Ice Climbing

5. Solo Skydiving

6. Driving a Motorcycle

Considering the way people participate in the sports mentioned above, you would only get a  Tandem Skydiving Rig, Canyon Swing, Bungee Jump, or White-water Raft in order to run a business, and therefore I do not considered those sports here.


As I stated above, all of these rankings are based on my subjective experience and should only be used as a guide when deciding whether to get into a particular sport. If you don't do your homework and make an uneducated decision, any of these sports can kill you. However, with proper training and awareness of the potential danger, these sports can become some of the most amazing experiences of your life. Please check back next week when I address any questions or comments you post below on the "Best Adrenaline Rush" category.

Thanks for reading.


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