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To The Extreme: The 9 Most Extreme Sports On (Or Above!) Planet Earth

When the extreme need to feed their fix, they will get it, even at the cost of their bodies, their lives. Check out our list. Can you handle these sports? Would you even want to?

Even the most hardcore gym workouts occur in a predictable setting. The weights may get heavy, and your elbows might clatter, but the floor won't move, and the roof won't go flying skyward. Over the course of your workout, the biggest variable might be Annoying Gym Dude yakking on the bench next to yours. It may be an extreme annoyance, but you'll live.

The extreme athlete is a different breed. An addict in search of an adrenaline fix, he or she wants the ground to shake. So they pit their flesh and blood against extreme heights, depths, speeds and other conditions, forcing their human shells to defy physics. The opponent isn't just laws of physics; it's the human survival instinct.

Extreme sports have been multiplying in recent years, which begs the question: Which are the most extreme? It's a subjective question, and the answers depend on our own array of deep-seeded fears. If you don't like the water or darkness, free diving may seem like the craziest thing any human would even contemplate doing. Others might view it as a refreshing (but deep) dip.

The sports we included use and abuse gravity. Most of them involve water (Mother Nature's club, whip, and wall). We disqualified extreme sports that require participants to start an engine; sorry motos, sleds, cars, trucks, rockets, planes, etc. Some of the sports did use motorized vehicles to get them there (snow and ocean sports). Every one of our sports uses some sort of implement (a board, a rope, a rocket into space).

Top 9 Extreme Sports

Disagree with our selections? Post a comment below; try to change our minds. Submit any sport of your liking, but you better make it extreme, or it will never make this list.

1/
Stratosphere Skydiving

When Felix Baumgartner leapt from 127,000 feet, he took extreme to incredible heights. This sets the bar for crazy stuff humans will do. Yes, he used a balloon to get there, but he jumped from space and survived.

Beat that.



2/
Cave Diving

Two-thirds of the world is covered in water and we may never reach its depths, but still, crazy divers will try! This recent expedition went deeper (636 feet) into this lost river in New Zealand. If you panic, you drown. That is extreme.



3/
Ice Climbing

Harsh conditions test human determination, but this sport is ridiculous. We don't trust ice. Any sport that may cause you to lose an extremity, or risk exposure or hypothermia, had to make our list.



4/
Slacklining

No, tying two ends of a rope to the trees in your yard doesn't count. Suspension over gorges in windy terrain, often without safety ropes? F that. But hey, it's extreme!



5/
Whitewater Kayak

Sure river shallows are fun to put your feet in, but strap into a kayak and slug through earth's twisted Category-5 rapids and see if you can still paddle with water in your lungs. Many wild rivers still have unconquered stretches, for now.



6/
Ice Cross

The X-Games have the golden ticket to some of the world's most extreme sports (big air anyone?) but ice cross mixes solid surfaces, gravity, speed and a few of your closest rivals. All the cross sports get props, but ice cross is extremely inadvisable.



7/
Skeleton

There are many variations like this (see bobsled, luge, etc.) but the downhill speed and the facial dangers in skeleton qualify it. Can you go that far downhill, that fast and not make a single error in judgment? If not, "skeleton" may describe your physique in a few weeks.



8/
Ski / Snowboard

Both of these sports go to great lengths to discover untouched powder. As much as they hate each other, they have a lot in common, and we think they belong together. These sports are so low on the list because they use machines (lifts, helos) to find the extreme.



9/
Surf

We purposely left this one a bit vague, because extreme surfers use so many different boards, we couldn't compare them all. Long, short, sand, paddle, flow, wind, and even body surfers make our extreme list. Thank the moon folks, for the tidal surges that guide you. Riptides = Extreme.


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Gh9zt

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Gh9zt

2, cave diving... if you panic you *drown

Oct 27, 2012 7:39am | report
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bullrider94

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bullrider94

I dont want to take anything away from the other activities, but I think bull-riding has to be on this list. It takes extreme strength, balance, flexibility, coordination and mental toughness. It is also quite unpredictable.

Oct 27, 2012 8:47am | report
bullrider94

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bullrider94

Nothing against the other sports but bull riding should be on the list. You need extreme strength, balance ,coordination, and flexibility to compete. It is also quite unpredictable.

Oct 27, 2012 8:52am | report
bullrider94

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bullrider94

Mental toughness is also needed.

Oct 27, 2012 8:53am | report
mkkearney

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mkkearney

respect to all these sports, but i think Mountain biking should have made the list
http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Video-Red-Bull-Rampage-2002-Full-Highlights.html

Oct 27, 2012 8:59am | report
plasticzipper

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plasticzipper

I fully agree with you mountain biking should have made the list. I think that Both Whiewater kayaking and mountain biking and most gravity sports! I kayak and hats off to mountain bikers!! when i throw myself off of a waterfall I land in water ya big hit depending on size of the drop, mountain bikers hit rock or trees so huge respect for all you guys!!

Nov 15, 2012 4:19pm | report
Anticastle

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Anticastle

Let it be known that Felix baumgartner did not use a rocket to get to the stratosphere.

Oct 27, 2012 2:25pm | report
lucho22

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lucho22

It was a balloon, no?

Oct 28, 2012 12:02pm | report
Anticastle

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Anticastle

Yeah it was. I also wouldn't even consider it a sport considering it was such an extreme feat it's only been done once and that's probably the only time it will ever be done. It took so long to plan and cost so much money. I would call it one of the most extreme and dangerous stunts of all time. But not a sport.

Oct 28, 2012 3:55pm | report
awlareau

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awlareau

Technically it's still skydiving so it is a sport still. It's just an extreme example of skydiving.

Oct 28, 2012 4:26pm | report
dustinlapray

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dustinlapray

Hey folks, that was my brain-mistake. Thanks for the correction, salut! It was tough limiting this list. I think even regular sports can be pretty extreme. Bull riding, football, any type of rugby, etc. Every body in motion counts against sedentary lifestyles. Lift on!

Oct 29, 2012 9:34am | report
Gudino95

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Gudino95

cave diving and ice climbing look awesome

Oct 27, 2012 6:15pm | report
ironmonkey15

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ironmonkey15

Surfing should be 8.

Oct 27, 2012 9:17pm | report
WissamShami

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WissamShami

Cave diving is so scary ...

Oct 28, 2012 1:19am | report
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Egleaves22

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Egleaves22

Wingsuits.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmlAW_1hgT8
How were they not top 5?

Oct 28, 2012 11:54am | report
Shifisu

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Shifisu

I find it kind of disturbing that he said he used a rocket :/
It's been all over the news and the video is being shown everywhere. I don't see how someone could have missed it that he used a balloon..

Oct 28, 2012 12:39pm | report
mattmoo123

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mattmoo123

Fair play some sweet sports but you forgot Gymnastics and Trampolining...

I may me bias as Im a coach but 10 and 11 year old girls and boys doin double back somersaults and some sweet release and catched...

You cant beat it :)

xx

Oct 28, 2012 1:24pm | report
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gustaboyle

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gustaboyle

have you seen underwater rugby? extreme as f*ck!! look it up in youtube

Oct 28, 2012 5:28pm | report
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robdobbie

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robdobbie

Rollerblading/skateboarding/bmxing is more 'extreme' than ski/snowboarding

Oct 29, 2012 3:29am | report
mattadams87

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mattadams87

No freestyle Motocross?? These guys are 30 feet in the air upside down hanging off a 300 pound bike by their toes. Definitly more extreme than ice hockey racers. :P

Oct 29, 2012 12:51pm | report
Reddirtrock

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Reddirtrock

They should have consulted redbull for more examples of extreme sports. while those look pretty "extreme" they left out motocross, bull riding, and several more that require top physical conditioning and mental focus.

Nov 5, 2012 10:14am | report
reid95

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reid95

Wrestling.....UFC....

Dec 2, 2012 8:26pm | report
FromTwigsToBigs

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FromTwigsToBigs

#4= idiots not using safety lines, but I have to say #7 looks the funnest!!!

Dec 27, 2012 9:12pm | report
Showing 1 - 23 of 23 Comments

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