Maybe it's been a while since you've cannonballed into a pool on a hot summer day, but one whiff of chlorine and coconut sunscreen can usually bring it all back. It wasn't enough to sit on the hot concrete and daintily lower yourself into the water feet first -- at least not if you wanted to be respected by those punks you called your friends. If you were serious about summertime fun, you had to jump. And if you were dead serious, you had to make a splash so big all the grownups would go home on account of rain.
In other words, how you got into the pool has always been serious business. Today it just got seriouser.
Allow us to introduce you to the bone-breaker of your dreams. It's called the AirKick, and it's exactly what it sounds like: a giant commercial catapult designed for the sole purpose of launching you 26 feet into the air. Its driving force is about six buckets' worth of water, shooting through a rocket nozzle with enough pressure to fling a fully grown human.
Or a man-child.
Of course, where you land is your own business -- the manufacturer names swimming pools and foam pits as potential landing sites, but if you're the sort of person who purchases a goddamn human catapult for recreational purposes, chances are you can afford to get a lot more creative about your destination. (Vanilla pudding.)
Or a carpet of floating strippers.
For people who want to get in the air but aren't coordinated enough to attempt hang gliding or the process of buying plane tickets, kite jumping is probably the best start. Because anyone can jump, right? Sure. But jumping is the easy part.
The recipe for kite jumping is as simple as the recipe for disaster: A comically oversized kite and you, trying not to die when it inevitably snatches you up into the sky.
Ian B., College Humor
This is the final picture of at least one of these kids.
It is considered one of the riskier forms of kiting, an achievement that may seem comparable to being the most hardcore knitter in the Woolly Sock Club ... until you actually see it in action.
Like we said, you are by no means in for a smooth ride: you are at the mercy of the wind, which can fling you to the ground in a screeching, crushing arc.
"I'm beginning to regret several specific life choices."
And of course, while you're up there, you do tricks. Because how else would it be extreme?
Could there be a stupider way to get airborne?
Aviation is never a simple thing. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than with hang gliding, which is basically just a dude leaping off cliffs wearing a giant wing thong and trying not to die. Yet the sport of hang gliding somehow manages to have some of the strictest safety standards around, with more controls, harnesses and safety measures than a moderately equipped bondage dungeon.
But then there's the Kitewing, which is an unholy cross between a hang glider and a kite that's stripped of every single conceivable safety feature. What it has instead is a handle, for you to better hang-on-for-dear-life with.
"I like a morning glider shark hunt before my afternoon volcano skiing."
Technically, the Kitewing can be used safely, as a sail-like propeller to extreme sports vehicles such as roller skates, surfboards and snowboards. But Kitewing is also specifically designed to provide lift, in order to gain the extra element of uncontrollable flight to sports that are strictly surface-based.
And so we have these guys snow skiing with Kitewings ...
... and using them to fly right the hell off the side of the mountain:
"The handles count as a safety feature, so I don't really need a helmet."
And then we have this guy ...
... using it to kite himself right across a frozen lake at breakneck speed:
"I'll take imminent, gory death over coffee any morning."
Damn it, people. If God wanted people to fly via kite, he would have given us kite heads.