Bound in our quarantine zones, we’re all starved for sports. Football, cricket, basketball, baseball, we’re like the addict craving their next hit. But how about we stray away off the beaten path for a while?
How about we mix two of our favourite topics? Let the adrenaline junkie meet the traveller stricken with wanderlust.
How about we delve into some unusual sports played in some of the most unusual locations across the world? Begin by heading over to…
- The Slopes of Cerro Negro in Nicaragua for Volcano Boarding
Yep, you heard that right. Not surfboarding, not ski-surfing, not even heli-skiing. We’re talking about Volcano Boarding. Gives a whole new dimension to the words go big or go home, right?
Conceived on the slopes of the same volcano by Daryn Webb, finding the right material for making the boards was difficult. He experimented with everything from mattresses to fridge doors, to picnic tables, before finally realizing that the combination of plywood and metal worked best. Using your heels to brake and steer, you can now zoom down ash and dirt mountainsides at speeds of up to 95kmph and be among a select group of people who can claim to have surfed a volcano.
P.S.: If you find yourself in the southern hemisphere, far from the lands of Leon, then you can always head over to the Pacific archipelago of Tanna, Vanuatu, where you can quench your thirst for adventure on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Yasur. The credit for popularizing this goes to National Georgaphic’s adventure journalist Zoltan Istvan, who filmed and aired his experience on their erstwhile channel.
But if that is too tame for you, you could always try some…
- Coasteering in Pembrokeshire or Majorca
Created in Pembrokeshire, Wales, there are few better places to experience this extreme sport. But Majorca is one of them: Go for the parties, stay for the adventures, folks.
Most would call the sport bizarre or quirky – and they wouldn’t be wrong. But what exactly is coasteering?
Well, according to Wikipedia, ‘Coasteering is a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft.’
Confused? So were we. But we’ll simplify it for you. Have there been times when you’ve come to the edge of a beach, where land meets sea, and wanted to not stop. To somehow peek over the horizon and go onto the next beach or cave, even though the water was impeding your progress? Well, Coasteering does just that. You essentially turn the world into your playground as you jump of the edge, skirt along the coastline, swim or ride swells where it isn’t possible to trek or leap, and traverse an aquatic nature-trail onto your destination. Best done with a team, you’ll need to be in good shape to brave the dangers of the sea, but once you do, you’ll experience familiar coastlines and beaches in an all-new way. The ‘sport’ originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales, which has some of Britain’s most stunning coastal scenery, but it has also found home on the shores of Dorest and Cornwall. But if you want to go off the beaten trail – and experience the sport in warmer climes – then Majorca on the stunning coast of Spain is the place for you.
Interestingly, though it has been practised informally for ages, the term ‘Coasteering’ was officially trademarked by TYF Adventures in 1999 to maintain the highest safety and environmental standards. And those are truly key. You should only indulge in the sport with a group led by experts, otherwise, it is easy to be caught in the flow of the tide, or trapped in a cave with no escape as the water swells in. When it comes to unusual sports in unusual, perhaps even extreme locations, it isn’t all fun and games. Safety is tantamount, or your hunt for adrenaline could easily turn fatal. But if you do it right, the exhilaration is unlike anything else!
Still want more?
Well, if you’ve got some money to burn, then we suggest heading over to the luxury lodges of Anchorage, Alaska for some…
- Heli-Skiing on Powder-Soft Snow
Think skiing is for peasants? A sport for the unwashed masses and the 2 rupees people? Then take a flight to the Chugach Mountains of Alaska for an experience straight out of a spy thriller. To do some heli-Skiing, you first need to board a chopper. Yep, you heard us right. You step on the ‘heli’ to access some of the most inaccessible regions of the earth, atop tall, misty mountains. Then, you’d expect to get down, right? Wrong! Once you have access to the soft, virgin snow, you kit up and jump out the whirlybird straight onto the white powder below. Then, you can ski with abandon.
Yep, they weren’t lying when they named it ‘Heli-Skiing.’
Not for the faint of heart, you need deep pockets and a hearty dislike of the normal to try out something this extreme. Since you need deep and soft snow to even try this safely, Heli-Skiing is banned across Europe. The Chugach’s deep in the heart of Alaska and Mt Cook on New Zealand are among the only places in the world where you can experience this unusual sport. So, if you’re willing to jump atop a copter, straight onto a snowy peak, with only your skis for company, you know where to go.
Of course, not all of us are adventure junkies. Some of us are just wanderers. Travellers exploring the world one beautiful vista at a time. What about us, you ask? Well, if you’re keen to add a slight sporty twist to your travels, then Svalbard on the northernmost tip of Norway is a must for you. The visa-free location not only houses the Seed Vault – you know, the world’s insurance policy against an apocalypse leading to food shortages. The place where they’ve stored a host of seeds from across the world with detailed instructions on how to plant them in case the climate crisis ravages the planet and we need to restart – but it also houses the world’s northernmost sports store, where you can find everything from snowmobiles to camping gear to guns, all the necessities to make your life easy and safe as you camp out in the winter wonderland amongst polar bears.