Forget about living on the edge - jump off the thing! Dozens of photos of people doing what comes unnaturally - leaping to their deaths, only to be saved by a bit of string and fabric. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there are no how-to's, tips and tricks here, just a dude celebrating his and his friends outrageous addiction, which he even had to sell his Porsche to maintain. It looks pretty damn exciting, but I'm sure you'd void all your insurance policies even thinking about doing it. You can follow the links to the cliff-jumping association to make sure you stay alive if you ever want to try this at home.
Sample: The pictures speak for themselves. No text here.
Verdict: Contradicting the basic urge to stay alive - uh, feels good! - SS
Thanks to cable TV and its thirst for exciting sporting images to fill up air-time, snowboarding is really starting to take off as a serious professional sport. Sponsorships aplenty offer opportunities for young dudes and dudettes in colourful garb, to rise through the world ranks and blow the world away with their acrobatic risk-taking displays. Thanks to the SBA, Aussie riders are getting the support and organisational backing to make a big splash on the world scene. Events, rankings, profiles and sponsorship links make this site a respectable vehicle for the burgeoning sport.
Sample: Nickname: Jack Years riding: many Favourite Resort: LAAX, Switzerland, and Saas Fee, Switzerland Other interests: Skateboarding, movies, making jokes, being bad ass.
Verdict: The rising stars of Aussie Sport - SS
Net Worth: ****
Hang Gliding WWW Server Home Page
Yup, it's hang glider heaven here. Countless photos, movie clips, a chat room, mailing list digests, simulation software, commercial suppliers, clubs, schools, cartoons and comics - you'd have to say they have got all the bases covered. All you have to do now is strap up and leap! Add your link if you have your own hang gliding site. This really is HG HQ. Anything that throws you skyward without a safety net is here. Paragliding, powered parachutes, ultra-lights, sailplanes and home made death traps are guaranteed to get the adrenal gland over-producing.
Sample: "Hang Glider Wanted - I began lessons years ago and quit due to wife. She's now gone, but desire to continue lessons isn't. Need good beginner glider."
Verdict: Join the life and limb-risking brigade now. - SS
Welcome to SkydiveNet
What looks like a small site with a big name containing a few links turns out to be a huge site with a big name containing all the links you'd ever need. After checking out the fatalities page, which is dedicated to highlighting what went wrong and trying to prevent future airborne mishaps, you can follow a link to dropzone.com - a parachuting portal of prodigious proportions.
Sample: "The deceased hit the ground. The reserve container was open, but this could have been from impact. One report indicates some heavy partying the night before, with very little sleep before resuming jumping. He was not using an audible altimeter. Lessons: Pull thy handles. If something seems "strange" pull right away... Know Thyself: If you're exhausted, or really hungover, you're in no shape to skydive."
Verdict: Plummet directly towards this site. - SS
"No use having such an awesome domain name and not using it" - wise words from Mr Zone himself, Sangrio, who has moved his totally tricked-up site to a new home, creating a world magnet for the latently suicidal community. Not just content to gloat about plane jumping prowess, he also offers new chute designs, events, forums, safety issues and featured flying freaks, making for an all round exhilarating experience. Heaps of dramatic photos, too, in all disciplines. This is the skydiving community in action. Join the club!
Sample: "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you."
Verdict: Pretty fly for a parachute. - SS
With his drop zone up in Far North Queensland, Paul's parachuting offers the ultimate weekend adrenalin rush in an on-line ad that looks almost as cool as Cairns would look hurtling towards you at 100 miles an hour. Shockwave whiz-bangery entices you in a big way to overcome your fears and take the plunge. What have you got to lose? Oh yes, your life… well, go the tandem jump and leave it up to the professionals to get you down in one uncompressed piece.
Sample: "Up to 60 seconds of mind blowing free-fall, followed by 5 minutes under parachute - the most spectacular view in the world."
Verdict: Shockwave fear suppression - go the jump! - SS
Advanced Ultralight Aircraft and Aviation News
What is it with Ultralights? Doesn't anyone realise how dangerous they are? How can you expect to tinker around with a lawn mower motor, strap it onto a few pillow cases stretched across coathangers and expect to live if you launch yourself skyward? Well many a folk do, and here is where the madness begins. Personally I wouldn’t go anywhere near an aeroplane engine whose manufacturer has a troubleshooting home page, but I guess that's half the fun of the sport. You never know when the "putt-putt" sound will stop and be replaced by the "aaaaaaarrrrgghhhh" sound.
Sample: "While the human body has amazing recuperative properties (don't I know it - 12 broken ribs, two punctured lungs, broken back, broken leg, broken ankle, fractured pelvis) - a two stroke engine "can not heal itself!"
Verdict: Newsflash guys - don't even think about it! - SS
Even though the 16 year old who put this site together seems to have found girls and left the upkeep behind somewhat, this rather out-of date site does offer enough to be worth checking out. How to do the coolest moves, blueprints to build your own ramps, a few links, message board, chat and photos pepper this place with features, but unfortunately the dude needs to get his marketing together to make it really fly. Anyone wanna email him and pick up the slack here? Sponsors? Most of the hard work is done and it is getting use, just needs some corporate cred.
Sample: "Hard-flip -Try this move still at first. Stand in kick-flip position with your feet in close. Pop the tail then let the board go inbetween your legs. If you do this correctly the board should do a half spin back-flip and a half kick-flip. Then land."
Verdict: And if you make a mistake - you can join the sopranos - SS
Welcome to the Wild Things.com Directory
Forget trawling through millions of search engine results for your favourite addictive adventure pastime. If you wanna know for sure, jump into this list and make your heart sing and make everything groovy, as they have already categorised the sports and adventures and attracted a whole pile of submissions of cool sites in every category. At least you have narrowed your search down to a few dozen or so sites to browse - BMX, bungee, kayaking, skating, paintball - all the fun stuff.
Sample: "Click here to visit our sponsor"
Verdict: Wild things, I think I love you - SS
Nose Wheelie Home
In the early days of skateboards (when I used to ride), we used to have to wear straps to go airborne. It was a world of 360's, slalom, handstands, click clacks and of course the then very cool nose wheelie. Here we have a nostalgic yet up-to-date zone for those of us who haven't quite caught up with the up-and-coming aerial tricksters. Link yourself to a whole world of old-schoolers and if you skate through some of these cyber-parks, you may even decide to pull out the old deck and start practicing up a few new tricks, you old dog.
Sample: "You won't find much on how to do ollies here, but we do link to some of the better "new school" pages. We mainly cover longboarding along with some of the forgotten skateboard disciplines--flatland freestyle, bank riding, slalom, downhill, etc."
Verdict: Dusting off the old arm-breaker. - SS
It's a bit of a case of "nice domain name shame about the site" here as you discover that it is merely a mountain bike brand name spare parts site. Sure you can get all the trick parts to get you through your next overland endurance or stunt riding challenge, but this is a web site, not a mail order catalogue. Where is the news, tech tips, message board, cool rider of the week, competition roster, readers' sites? This is the Internet, dudes. Now get on your bike and follow a link outta here.
Sample: "The Ultimate Site for Dedicated Mountain Bikers" (?) I think not.
Verdict: Xtremely disappointing. - SS
A-Z of Paragliding
Keep it simple, tacky and clunky, but make it work. That seems to be paragliding.net's philosophy. Easy to maintain pages allow for plenty of info to be posted and udpdated without forking out mega-bucks for a redesign. A straight forward approach of "link to us, we'll link to you, we got the domain so we'll dish out the info", gives the enthusiast a trouble free flight through the site. They have even linked to the AltaVista translator to make it easy for everyone.
Sample: "Reserve parachute. If you end up throwing it, make sure that it will open (have it repacked at least every 6 months). In fact make sure that it is still there (unlike the story of the guy who threw out some lunch box instead of
the reserve that should have been there!)."
Verdict: The perfect paragliding portal. - SS
New Zealand Snowboarding - Boarder Zone
I don't know who is paying for this, but it surely is a beauty and worth every penny. Clean, colourful and packed with content, boarderzone not only instils in the viewer a sense of excitement about snowboarding and the NZ scene, it takes you there and everywhere with a travel department dedicated to shoving your face in the snow at every available opportunity. It's gotta be good for tourism, and it's definitely great for the sport. Reports, chat, events, features, weather reports and multimedia grabs make this one happening stop-over on your global chase for thrills and spills in the winter chill.
Sample: "Dash for cash - Third place went to Queenstown's Miles Holden who tried to gain extra speed from flares attached to his skis, but incurred some wind resistance from a huge pair of artificial breasts.."
Verdict: It's downhill all the way! - SS
Yo Beat Magazine
Yo, dude, uh, like, awesome, uh… yo. If these guys were any cooler they'd freeze. The hippest cats this side of an MTV game show, give you the vibes from the slopes, dishing out the humour, the attitude and the full coverage of the hard-core boarding events. Join the in-crowd, invest in a plane ticket, some woolly underwear and a case of beer, and you'll, be, like, yo…totally sick and insane.
Sample: "While last year was all about biting, this year you wore your hunter orange Four Square/Special Blend clothing and dissed. It didn't matter what you dissed on, as long as you were above it, and you were, of course, better than just about everything.
Since you finally wised up to the fact that snowboard rock is but commercial pop, and Rap is only cool when you're wearing your Tommy Gear, this year you worshiped the number of the beast. Slayer, Sabbath, Metallica- it doesn't matter as long as it went along with the skull and flames of your Yohan sticker. Death, Destruction, Mutilation; Metal Lives!"
Verdict: Nothin' better than slammin' your head into a nearby tree. - SS
The real adventure on the ski slopes is turning the spectacular visuals and thrilling rides into a consumable product for film and video and seeing if you can't make a buck out of it. EE does just that. They travel the globe with the world's best and film those action shots you can't help fixing your gaze on if they happen to grace a screen within view. With tales of the filming, samples, a net show and press releases, you are taken into the "adrenaline zone" - never to be the same again. Switch on to the power of multi-media action. If you are an adventurer yourself, perhaps you should send them your resume. Who knows what they'll be looking to film next?
Sample: "We will highlight the people living extreme lives, who, while exploring the frontiers of human potential, actively seek a harmonious balance between the world's ecosystem and human adventure."
Verdict: Scaling the lofty heights with a camera. - SS
Tasmanian Wild River Adventures
Can I click on anything here? The email link? Why? I haven't seen the site yet. The departure dates? But I haven't decided if I want to go… OK I'll click it. Ah, so that's where the site is hiding! The backyard web design job I guess goes hand in hand with the rugged wilderness settings you'll be seeing blurs of as you pelt down the rivers of death gripping the sides with white knuckles and grinding teeth. I don't think even a chopper could pluck you out if you blew it on the water. Check the maps, the river itinerary. It's actually a fantastic way to see our wilderness with a bit of hair-raising thrown in. Well-priced, too.
Sample: "The 11-day trip gives rafters the opportunity to experience the river in all its forms. As a young, narrow river high in the mountains, it winds through untouched, narrow gorges before building in size as tributaries enter through the majestic and challenging "Great Ravine". In the lower sections, the landforms change as the Franklin widens, and rafters are struck by the contrast of long tranquil sections interposed with both large and gentle rapids."
Verdict: Take some time out and live. - SS
In these days of the shrinking world of communications and cheap air fares, Mike Horn grabs our world in huge bear hug of adventure and finds out just how much the fat lady has shrunk, and whether she'll sing when he's done. These are also the days of positive thinking - whatever you can dream, you can be - that kind of thing. Mike is out to not only take on the planet's last big test, but also to cash in on it big time on the corporate speaking circuit when he's done. Check out the amazing route - around the equator - no turns, no diversions. Follow the whole trip right here. The highs, the lows, the absolute stupidity of even trying.
Sample: "He will sail across the oceans, walk across land through dense jungle, over volcanoes, mountains, deserts, lakes and swampland. After 16 months of physical and mental endurance, pushing himself to his absolute limit, he will reach his destination – his exact starting point!"
Verdict: Making the Solo man look like a snivelling little mummy's boy. - SS
The Mountaineers' Home Page
Man's long time adversary, the mountain, has been beckoning the adventure-seeker since time began. Since 1906, the Mountaineers as an organisation has seen it all, in the way of major achievements and technological advances, that have brought the mountain much closer to all of us. With all that history behind it, the web site can offer plenty in the way of reading material, pictorials, courses, networks, activities and a club magazine to bond all the crazy people together in their desire to do what spiders, ants and cockroaches do every day - climb up walls.
Sample: "The Mountaineers is a non-profit outdoor recreation and conservation club with over 15,000 members in the Puget Sound region and beyond. Our members share a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for good fellowship."
Verdict: Throwing the rock climber a line. - SS
The Himalayan Explorers Club
With all the media focus, legend and romanticism over the years attributed to the most awesome bumpy bits the world has got, the HEC has established itself to balance the hype with an environmental perspective, promoting an appreciation of the great lumps, and encouraging safe exploration. That way you won't have to end up a failed and frozen nameless corpse, but rather a successful also-ran, sitting by the fire back home with a renewed sense of wonder at the large white sticking out bits we think we know so well.
Sample: "Every year, over 300,000 tourists visit the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Some 85,000 of these tourists go trekking in the hills and mountain regions, while the others stay in the Kathmandu valley or go on jungle safaris. Many tourists are not well informed about Nepalese cultural values or the sensitivity of the natural environment to tourism".
Verdict: A cyber-crag worth scaling. - SS
Internet Awards finalists last year, Chill Factor keep the dream alive by bringing you a content-rich Aussie ski domain that covers everything from independent weather reports, racing news, photo gallery, maps, travel agents and accommodation, even the odd desktop pattern. Skier profiles are added monthly, so there is a chance for you to get on up there yourself, if you happen to be a legend on the slopes. If not, get in and use the site anyway - that's what it's there for.
Sampler: "I am a beginner snowboarder and so is my cousin. We could really use some tips and tricks sent to us every now and then. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!
Doctor Dick - the trick to snowboarding is ... GO HARD ... GET PLENTY OF AIR ... ASK QUESTIONS LATER!! Seriously though, no pain = no gain. Play around and experiment yourself. There are some great videos about, check them out and then go copy the latest tricks."
Verdict: Independent advice for adrenaline-dependent freaks. - SS
Graphics: Medium, good quality
Internal links: 100
Of all the extreme sports, street luge looks like one of the most insane. Well might you ask: what kind of death-wish freak would lie down on a long skinny board so they can hurtle at high speed down a steep and winding road with nought for protection but a leather suit and helmet? This site aims to dispel common misconceptions about the sport by providing safety advice from some of Australia's street luge experts, including tips on reading and riding your favourite hills. If you want to hook up with other gravity addicts you'll find several excellent links and forums right here, plus of course, loads of action photos to enjoy during quieter moments at work… or something.
Graphics: Heavy, good quality
Internal links: 30
Lifelounge serves up all kinds of entertainment flavours for bright young consumers of trends armed with fast net connections and cranked hardware. Picking up where so many other 'youth' destinations left off so tragically/dramatically last year (RIP K*Grind, Scape et al), the site mixes excellent photo galleries, movies and short/punchy interactions with some fairly clued-up reporting on the latest happenings for skaters, snowboarders and surfers. While you'll probably end up spending too much time cacking yourself in the Carnage photo gallery loaded with images of other extremists enjoying all kinds of physical punishment, if you have the urge for a different kind of stylin' check out the quality fashion, music and travel sections too.
Graphics: Medium, average quality.
Internal links: 20
Vital Gear is something like the Yahoo! for extreme and action sports including BMX, freestyle motocross, skyboarding, street luge and wakeboarding. Bookmark this site because it contains hundreds of links in all categories to fling you off to shopping, community and gallery sites in your chosen sport - but visit regularly for the chance to win some fairly tasty prizes (free stuff is mostly good stuff, right?). The photo gallery is a funny feature which seems to have been modeled on the AmIHotOrNot concept ( www.amihotornot.com ) - you get to vote on each action pic to decide if the stunt is tight or weak… I guess that some people prefer to mouth-off this way, because the forums on the site were empty last time I visited.
Reel Fresh TV
Graphics: Heavy, excellent quality
Internal links: 100
Reel Fresh is one of the more stylish action video streaming sites I've dived into for a long time. Armed with Apple's QuickTime 4 and a reasonably fast net link you can spend hours here catching up on the latest events in your favourite sports including BMX, kiteboarding and skating. The best feature on offer is the POV (Point Of View) archive which is loaded with multiple camera-angle footage of each action sequence. For example, the windsurfing footage selection covers views from the rider's head, down on the board, along the boom and up on the mast - and you can quickly switch between each perspective for that full on-board experience. Coupled with neat design, Reel Fresh TV is (hopefully) a taste of things to come in interactive TV.
Graphics: Heavy, good quality
Internal links: 50
What is an extreme sport anyway? A competitive activity pushed as far as possible until it becomes prohibitively dangerous or difficult? This attractive looking site is pumped with news and images from around the world of sports people trying their hardest to outdo each other… but that's not what makes it special. No, the content itself, which takes in just about any limit-breaking sport, is worth repeat visits. Sure, you'll see some mind blowing visuals of bikers, boarders and jumpers which justify the 'extreme' tag, but if you dig just beneath the surface you'll find stories on some, frankly, ridiculous 'extreme' sports.. such as, erm, golf. Check the piece on the Ice Golf World Championship held on the fjord ice in Uummannaq, Greenland for a good laugh.
Graphics: Heavy, good quality
Internal links: 120
Expecting a huge site about boarding I was very surprised to encounter an encyclopedia of sports and adventure activities sorted into a huge list of confusing (though seemingly self-explanatory) categories. For example, the 'Air' category takes in everything you do in the air: such as cluster ballooning, skydiving, ski jumping and paragliding. But it also includes a whole range of sports where an object - not an athlete - is airborne, including disc throwing, kite flying and skittles. Some of these sports are a little tame, but for a few happy hours of wild tangents, you won't find a kookier site dedicated to bringing you interesting sporting facts and images. Sadly, the sections on some of the more interesting centuries-old sports involving animals, including birding, dog sledding, and camel racing were empty…
Graphics: Medium, good quality
Internal links: 50
I like the cheeky and unapologetic attitude of this site: "Extreme ping pong? Polo? Parcheesi? Sorry, only skateboarding". Any skate-head who has spent more than five seconds scratching around online will probably be a member of this site already, because the community services and expert advice here are top quality. The Skatelife zine delivers thought-itching features and interviews with the pros about skate techniques, issues (legalities are high on the agenda), equipment and events, while Skate 101 should sort out beginners with some easy-to-follow tips on basic moves, safety, tricks and looking after the gear. Now, if you're stuck indoors for a long time - maybe it’s raining, or your broke something - the Hang Out is your place: it has games, streaming video, contests and some very busy graphical chat rooms which you enter by picking a cheesy cartoon image before cruising around a bunch of skate parks in the USA. Skateboard.com is an impressive site aimed at a very difficult-to-please market.
Graphics: Heavy, good quality
Internal links: 80
Taking multimedia to the extreme, Planet X is the Web arm (or foot) of an empire that includes Summer and Winter games, Street competitions, a TV show and print mag. The site itself is more than a teaser, it offers a community space where members can access archives, seek advice and enter regular competitions linked to some of the biggest extreme sports events in Australia. If you've seen the show, or grabbed a copy of the free mag then you'll know what you're in for: crazy shit with killer visuals.
Graphics: Medium, good quality
Internal links: 20
Extremists is another quality Australian site focused on reporting on the latest hardcore sports events around the world which began life as a personal homepage on a local ISP back in 96. Since then the site has grown to serve as an easy-to-access jump station for Extremists all over the planet thanks to the popular Extreme Top 50 and huge Sports Directory links sections. If you're gagging for high colour pictures of hardcore action head straight for the On Camera experience and enjoy categorised images of your favourite activities. Most extreme content? Well… the Advice Chick section comes way out of left field with an Agony Aunt-style column about sex - but none of the sexual issues discussed are particularly extreme. Go figure…
Extreme Road Trip
Graphics: Heavy, good quality.
Internal links: 15
Is this the ultimate scam/tax deduction or what? The Extreme Road Trip is the online journal of a bunch of friends who wanted to belt around America together in a motorhome searching for the best places to enjoy their favourite sports. So why do they deserve props? Well, I think this statement says it all: "We want to encourage members of our generation, and those that came before and will follow, to get off the couch and get out there and try the world out for themselves!" Sure, you might not get to spend nearly nine months on the road (and in the air, on the grass, snow etc) but without much effort, you can recreate this experience in weekend-bender versions, Grab a digicam, a couple of mates and get out there!