Semi Extreme Sports
We’ve got nothing against extreme sports. Semi extreme ones sound even more glamorous and, er, less extreme.
Here they are, our fave pseudo-extreme sports, in order of X-tremity:
X-TREME RATING: 1/10
Ah, mini-golf! The king of games! It costs about two pounds per person in any seaside town, which gets you a scorecard, golfstick (sorry, club) and ball. Walk round a tiny course trying to get the ball down the hole in as few goes as possible. Sessions last about an hour and then you can go and have a pint or a fried doughnut. Lots of much younger people are playing it nowadays, it’s actually very cool, and it’s even more fun if you pretend to take it really seriously.
PROS: It’s the best fun in the world. And the man at the cashier desk can sum the rules up for you in 5 minutes.
CONS: If you take more than 6 goes to get your ball in the hole you score a ‘bogey’, and then it sucks to be you. It’s annoying if it’s a bit windy and your hair gets in your mouth while you’re trying to get the perfect shot.
2) FLOTATION TANKS
X-TREME RATING: 2/10
Basically you go to a posh-ish New Age centre in town that does flotation tanks and book yourself a session (usually about 20 mins). You go into a private room, strip down and get into a big white thing like a bath filled with very salty water. It has to be salty so you can float in it literally without shifting your arse. You can do it with with or without lights and eeeking dolphin music. Hey, why not ask if they can stick on your cd of Goldfrapp.
PROS: You might get enlightened. You will definitely get nice soft skin.
CONS: If you’ve got any cuts from shaving you will die of agony in that salty water so smear scraped skin with vaseline first. Also, you will spend most of your session wondering if you can stop yourself from bumping into the sides / spoiling your hair / killing that dolphin.
X-TREME RATING: 3/10
You can go on half or whole days all over Britain to falconry centres where you get to hold beautiful birds of prey and fly them, too. Most centres really care about their birds and want them to be comfortable with strangers but not at the risk of losing their hunting instinct.
PROS: Birds are more beautiful than reptiles and less cute than fluffy mammals. They’re so noble! It’s like the bird is honouring you when it perches on your arm or returns to your fist after a flight.
CONS: Birds are really beaky and you’re putting them scarily close to your face. The heavier birds are hard to support on your arm but unless you want to wind them up there’s not much you can do about it.
4) X-TREME HULA-HOOPING
X-TREME RATING: 4/10
Pah, you think hula-hooping isn’t extreme? Maybe it was easy in the days when you were less than four foot high and thought a hand shandy (ahem) was some kind of easy-to-hold drink. Try hula-hooping today and see what happens!
PROS: Hula-hooping is cheap, works the stomach muscles like nothing else and you can do it in a suprisingly small space (ie at home, not in public). If you get good, you can do sexy dances with 5 hula hoops on your legs and arms to Green Day and Bikini Kills and have a fine career in cabaret.
CONS: It’s surprisingly hard to do and you will hurt your tummy trying.
5) X-TREME IRONING
X-TREME RATING: 5/10
We didn’t make this up. Extreme ironing combines sporting thrills with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt. You just take your ironing kit into the great outdoors and iron something in a place where it’s difficult to do, then take a piccy of it as proof.
PROS: If you’re quick you might get your photo into the Extreme Ironist’s book that is being put together
CONS: It’s pointless and miserable ironing at the best of times.
X-TREME RATING: 6/10
Zorbing is a lot less scary than it looks! Just strap yourself into a big see-through plastic ball then roll down a hill! Hooray!
PROS: It sounds really exciting. You probably won’t break anything. It’s over so fast you won’t know what’s going on!
CONS: You probably won’t break anything.
6) LE PARKOUR / FREE RUNNING
X-TREME RATING: 8/10
Lots of people have heard of Le Parkour, or Free Running, by now. It was probably invented by some French dudes. Basically you treat the urban jungle as your playground and see what kind of weird gymnastics you can do on public railings, roofs, stairs… you name it, you can jump on it. Anything goes – except using the pavement.
PROS: All about the spirit of freedom, and doesn’t cost anything.
CONS: Doing handstands on top of the Eiffel tower? You’re having us on. We suggest a gentle learning curve. Start with large jumps off the kerb and swinging your legs while you sit on benches…
7) POWER KITING
X-TREME RATING: 10/10
Power kiting is extreme because it does take some skill. Basically it’s you and a large kite and lots of wind. You can go behind a sailboat, or jump of a cliff, or jump off the ground, and away you go… It’s all about speed and technique apparently. It’s cheapish to have a taster session (about 60 quid) but kit is expensive to buy unless you’re really into it…
PROS: It’s proper X-treme
CONS: Where to start? We’re monkeys! We’re not designed to be airborne!