Most of us are content playing tennis on the weekends or kicking the soccer ball with the kids after school. For others, however, sport is a much more exciting and dangerous endeavour. From BASEjumping and bull riding through to luge and endurance ocean racing, some sports are much more likely to lead to injury and death than others. Let's take a look at some of the world's most dangerous sports to see if you're ready to swap the golf clubs for a bucking bull or wingsuit.
When it comes to danger and pure adrenalin, it's hard to go past BASEjumping. While this sport is seen by many as an extreme activity rather than a sport, BASEjumping competitions have been held around the world since the 1980s. The BASE in BASEjumping is an acronym which stands for building, antenna, span, and Earth. In order to be a bona fide BASEjumper, you need to have launched yourself off each of these four fixed objects, with the best jumpers having done this hundreds of times. While BASEjumping is illegal across most of the world, there are legal events where people can compete with other like minded crazies.
Wingsuit flying is a similar activity that also involves jumping off elevated structures on purpose, only this time you fly through the air using a wingsuit before you launch your parachute. The Red Bull Aces contest was the first-ever competitive wingsuit event launched in 2014, with participants from 18 countries flying through slalom-style gates high in the sky. While this is unlikely to become a huge participator sport, it's fantastic to watch from the comfort of your lounge chair. Two other potentially deadly sports involving high altitude are rock climbing and cliff diving.
Closer to the ground, bull riding is also an incredibly dangerous activity that lots of people seem to enjoy. This rodeo sport involves riders getting on a bucking bull and trying to stay on for as long as possible. Riding the bull for eight seconds makes it a qualified ride, with both the rider and bull then given points based on their performance. While death is not as common as you might think in this incredibly dangerous sport, it can and does happen when the animal’s hooves stomp on the rider’s chest. Bull riding can also be dangerous for the bulls, with animal rights organisations speaking out against the use of cattle prods and the flank strap.
Races that involve extreme speed can also be incredibly dangerous, including luge, car racing, and helicopter skiing. The 24 Hour Le Mans race in France is one of the most dangerous motor sports in the world, as is the BAJA 1000 on the Baja California Peninsula, and the Macau Grand Prix. Along with altitude and speed, endurance is another big contributor to accidents and injuries. The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the most challenging races on the planet, with participants covering 39000 nautical miles in a nine-month period. From huge icebergs and horrifying storms through to Somalian pirates, this eight yacht race has it all. If you want a way to challenge yourself through endurance, there's also the Yukon River Quest kayak race, the Cape Epic mountain bike challenge, and the Tor des Geants running race.
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