Activity and effort
Most of these sports are active and participative pursuits that require considerable effort. If you’re rafting you will get wet, there could be crocodiles and there will be scary rapids; if you’re out on the snow you’re going to get cold and maybe even frostbite and yes, extreme sports are potentially more dangerous than smoking or driving.
Age and experience
You’re never too old to learn an extreme sport. Surfing, skateboarding, skydiving or mountain biking aren’t just for the young and there are plenty of clubs, groups and lessons that cater for the more mature. Although it is possible to be too young for some sports such as diving or rally car driving.
It’s never too late to take lessons no matter what your level of ability or age. Lessons are about taking your skills to the next level, about how to conquer fear, learn the appropriate safety techniques, expand your knowledge and have fun.
Before beginning any new physical activity, you should make sure you can handle any exertion it requires. If you have any conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma, it may rule you out of some activities. For example if you have a condition that might make you susceptible to drowning you may wish to think twice before you dive or surf. Consult a physician first.
Operators often have a variety of tours that cater for people of differing fitness. Mountainbike operators might have serious uphill trails for the fitter athlete and other trails that may only require you to sit on a bike and balance without falling off to get to the end.
The best preparation for extreme sports is to be prepared. It is exciting to try a new activity but one that you can return home from in one piece. If something is going to test you consider getting tips from an instructor or an experienced friend. Never go alone. Few extreme sports involve really serious injuries however it’s good to have some basic knowledge about treating bumps, bruises and abrasions just in case. Always pack a first aid kit and a manual.
Destination and operators
The growing popularity of extreme sports and travel is evident in the number of companies now offering these vacations. The best way to choose an operator is to choose the destination or sport first. Decide what kind of sport you want to do and where you might like to do it. If you would like the ultimate dive challenge there are only a few places you can try ice diving. If you are looking at mountain biking the Alps might be too much for a beginner while the flat coastal trails of the Greek Islands might be better. Similarly consider how hot or cold it might be during your tour and the size of the groups that go. Larger companies might not necessarily be cheaper as they could have more expensive running costs, while smaller companies often give more personal service. Read the online itinerary outlines and comments from past travelers, and if still in doubt ring the company itself.