The biggest problem with extreme sports is finding a way to top what’s already been done. But there are always new twists that can be dreamed up by creative athletes looking for the next adrenaline rush. Looking beyond the usual arenas to the world’s hardcore tough guys is one sure way to find some inspiration when it comes to finding a new scare.
Forget bland pastimes like mountain biking, skiing or snowboarding. In the English hill country, cheese rolling is the way to go downhill fast. Officials toss a giant cheese wheel weighing hundreds of pounds off the crown of a hill, and hundreds of people chase it down as fast as they can. The winner gets all that lovely cheese, and to score such a magnificent prize the pace is guaranteed to be frantic.
A lot of them stumble and end up reaching the bottom before the cheese gets there. This can result in broken bones, bruises and sprained joints. These stout souls are not above letting notoriously delicate Americans have a go at their game as long as the Yanks try this kinesiology tape, along with a healthy dose of Scotch and a complete set of body armor. With the liquid courage that it takes to fortify the contestants, most of the Queen’s subjects aren’t feeling any pain, so the injuries are easy to deal with for those with legendary British toughness.
Another form of downhill madness called Zorbing originated in New Zealand. A special piece of equipment is required, a zorb, which is a large inflated ball with a chamber in the center for the participant to strap into. For the adventurous, there is a variation known as hydrozorbing, in which the zorbist will slide around inside the central chamber on water lubrication rather than strapping in. Once inside the zorb, the zorbist will find himself rolling, bouncing and sliding downhill at speeds of 40 miles per hour or more.
Next door in Australia, the New Zealand invention of bungee jumping has been improved upon by adding in the missing stimulant to such a boring activity, crocodiles. For the Aussies, nothing adds spice to a good 250 foot bungee plunge like meeting some large reptilian carnivores at the far end of the rope.