Extreme sport pushes the limits and ability of the human mind and body to cope with conditions that are out of the ordinary. Conditions that require a high degree of physical exertion, with the adrenalin-pumping danger of the possibility of death. At times, extreme sport would appear to defy the laws of science. Extreme sports are only as varied as the imagination of clever advertising marketers and designers.
There is a cult-type following, that forms into a sub-culture, which has evolved around the mystique of extreme sport. It is the wealthy, disillusioned and experience-seeking younger generation that has been the focus of the advertising marketers. The gurus have quickly cottoned on to this as being Blue Moon Opportunity (once in a lifetime opportunity) and happy to satisfy the wants of the thrill seekers.
Extreme sports demand the discipline and fitness of the body, as well as the mind, for it frequently involves performing a death defying stunt. This can be clearly seen in operation in those who participate in the sport of diving without oxygen. This is based on a technique first witnessed in dolphins and whales, called the ‘Mammalian Diving reflex’. While at the extreme depths of free diving, the ‘baracardia shift’, the heart beat of a world champion oxygen free diver was recorded to beat as slowly as 9 beats per minute. The deepest free dive ever recorded, was performed by the German Herbet Nitsche, diving with the aid of a weighted sled, to 214 metres (702 feet), in 2007.
Of course there are the expensive ‘toys’ that have to go with freediving, such as freedive fins, low profile masks, skin tight hydrophobic freedive suits etc. Free diving has developed into the team sports of underwater hockey and rugby.
There is an annual event of extreme sport which has become a collection of summer and winter games, called the X Games. These were created solely for those who prefer their sport vial the TV.
Hang gliding, wind surfing, rock climbing, skiing were once all classed as extreme sports, though now widely accepted. New sports continue to evolve such as snocross, ice climbing, airwavesboarding and wingsuit flying. Once a body has been sipped inside a wingsuit it becomes shaped like an airfoil, through the clever use of a specially designed jumpsuit. Once the participant has free glided through several thousand feet, a normal parachute is used for landing.
Extreme sport continues to evolve with three major factors: breaking the norm, costly equipment and specialized clothing. For the marketers of extreme sport it is limited only by the imagination of the designers, the producers of video-music and the ability of advertising giants to push new frontiers to an experience-hungry thrill-seeking generation. Perhaps we will see a day when there will be a low-gravity, oxygen free giant step extreme sport held on the moon.