It’s a new year, and along with the inevitable resolution to stick to an exercise regimen, maybe you’ve pledged to try some new things. If you’re looking for adventure, people have thought up a lot of crazy stuff. You’ve probably never heard of these eight activities, from black water rafting to the man versus horse marathon, but you’re sure to find something that will get your blood flowing, and make 2012 a whole lot more interesting.
If you’d like to try surfing but aren’t crazy about the idea of paddling around an ocean full of sharks, consider giving surfing down a volcano a shot. The sport was invented in 2005 by snowboarder Darryn Webb, who built metal-reinforced plywood boards to ride down Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro. It’s similar to sandboarding, but the name ‘volcano surfing’ is just so much cooler.
If you’re afraid of the dark or a bit claustrophobic, stay clear of black water rafting. If not, grab an inner tube and get ready for a wild ride down a river that will take you through an underground cave system. You’ll have to head to New Zealand or Belize to try it out, and various tours offer different levels of speed and danger. At the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand, with the Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. you’ll fly over waterfalls, abseil 100-foot drops, and even get a zipline ride.
Geocaching is perfect for those looking for adventure without the danger or the high-speed adrenaline rush. To get started on this real life treasure hunt and find one of more than 1.5 million “geocaches” hidden around the seven continents, download the “Geocaching Intro” app onto your smartphone, follow the directions to the nearest stash and solve the riddle or brainteaser than reveals its true location.
Jousting in the 21st century is pretty much the same as it was in the 13th, and that’s what makes it so crazy. The medieval sport faded in the 1600s, but has seen something of a renaissance with the resurgence of “full contact jousting” – where modern”knights” wear full suits of armor and charge at one another at full speed wielding lances, with the goal of knocking the other off his horse. If you’ve got a real taste for the extreme, it doesn’t get much wilder than this.
In contrast to the bone-crushing hits delivered in jousting, zorbing is pretty cushy, but still a lot of fun. Climb inside a transparent, inflated ball and roll down the biggest hill you can find.
In the 1970s, Southern Californian skateboarders inadvertently created a new sport when they started casual downhill races on their boards. Before long, they were building special boards and hitting speeds nearing 100 mph. Street luge remained low-profile until the mid-1900s, when it became an X-Games sport. (It isn’t one anymore.) If you’d like to give this high-speed adventure a shot, make sure you’re wearing a helmet and pads, because at more than 50mph, you want more than an inch of daylight and a pair of jeans between you and the asphalt.
If you want the thrill of outdoor climbing but don’t happen to live near a suitable cliff face, consider bridge climbing. Depending on your respect for the law and your own safety, you can go with one of two options: Find the nearest bridge and start climbing on your own, or head to Sydney, where BridgeClimb takes you to the top of the Harbour Bridge. Either way, you’ll put your skills and tolerance for heights to the test, and come down with a story to tell.
This is one you should hold off on until you’re in top physical shape. But if you’re confident enough in your skills to think you can outrace a horse over 22 miles, put your money where your mouth is. Since 1980, competitors on horseback, foot and bicycle have raced through the marshy and mountainous terrain course in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Wales. It wasn’t until 2004 that a two-legged racer came in first. Marathoner Huw Lobb finished with a time of 2:05:19, better than any other man or creature, and earned the £25,000 prize.