It's easy to invent an extreme sport. All you need to do is take one sport (say, bungee jumping), recklessly add another sport (motocross) and BOOM, you're the goddamn Thomas Edison of BUNGOCROSS.
As for getting folks to play your sport, well, that's more difficult. So while no patent office will answer our calls regarding Gunby (rugby plus, uh, use your imagination), here are six real sports that mix the best of other sports with an unhealthy dollop of extreme.
Remember the final scene of Over The Top in which Sylvester Stallone won back his estranged son by arm-wrestling a sausage-necked roustabout? Wouldn't that scene have been a million times better had Sly been simultaneously punching the fat dude in the throat?
If the idea of such wanton violence gets you off, then may we recommend XARM, a new combat sport that is equal parts every Stallone movie ever made. It combines the arm-wrestling of Over The Top and the pugilism of Rocky with the futuristic spandex of Judge Dredd.
XARM contains elements of arm wrestling, kickboxing and jiu jitsu. A fighter's waist is chained to a 28" by 16" table and his left hand his taped to his opponent's. Contestants have three one-minute bouts to pin their opponent's arm or pummel him into a coma--whichever happens first.
Here's footage of an XARM match. Notice how the fighters immediately eschew the whole arm-wrestling thing for the alternative tactic of smashing each other's solar plexuses.
Referees award points for clean hits, successful grapples and standard arm wrestling pins. Points are deducted for a "failure to fight aggressively," which is a sort of redundant rule--after all, a sissy defense is kind of impossible when you're handcuffed to the guy who wants to eat your aorta.
But you can hide under the table.
In sum, XARM is the modern update of an old-timey saloon brawl. It begins as a sportingly macho test of strength on a bar table and ends with a very large man giving you punch-induced renal failure. That being said, we'd hate to see which arm German pro arm-wrestler Matthias "Hellboy" Schlitte would choose to wrestle with.
That's a pile driver or a wrecking ball. Your choice.
If the idea of screaming down an icy crevasse on a thin fiberglass snowboard sounds too wussy for you, snowkiting may be your huckleberry. Snowkiting instead involves flying up a mountainside strapped to a giant fucking parachute and allowing the laws of physics to have sex with your face.
"Hey baby, it's me, inertia. Sorry I didn't call back. Been working late."
Snowkiting's origins cannot be traced to one individual, but rather a consortium of snowboarders and kite-builders who brought these two pastimes suicidally together. And as this two-minute tribute to ragdoll physics demonstrates, it's an extreme sport tailor made for blooper reels:
An ancillary benefit of snowkiting is never having to wait for a ski lift. Then again, an ancillary benefit of a ski lift is that it doesn't fire you off the mountain once you reach the top.
Remember the previews for Mission: Impossible 2, in which Tom Cruise scaled a sheer cliff face to the rocking riffs of, uh, Limp Bizkit? Well, there are actually adrenaline junkies out there who get their jollies hanging from precipices weighed down by nothing but small bags of chalk and their own mammoth testicles.
They're called free soloists, and those who free solo over ocean cliffs practice the sport of psicobloc:
On one hand, psicobloc is safer than free soloing. The deep-water soloist has the ocean to cushion him should he fall, whereas the free soloist will end up as a bloody splat for coyotes to lick up and unsuspecting birdwatchers to discover weeks later.
This site would be 100 percent Stallone allusions if we had our druthers.
On the other hand, if a regular soloist loses his grip, he gets the luxury of dying on impact. The deep-water soloist falls several stories into the roiling high tide, where he must swim, winded and stunned, against a current to safety. And yes, people have drowned deep-water soloing.
In the end, comparing the dangers of free and deep-water soloing is like comparing granite-hard apples and tidal waves of orange juice: both will kill you in their own special way.
Deep in America's heartland, intrepid fishermen are wrastling catfish to a standstill using their bare hands. And lest you think that they're merely fish tickling, know that A) these catfish can weigh upwards of 60-pounds, and B) these fishermen are using their hands... as bait. Welcome to the wacky world of "catfisting" or (as it's more widely and less disgustingly known) "noodling."
Noodling is simple in theory and terrifying in practice. The noodler dives underwater to a flathead catfish hole and rams his fist inside. The catfish, understandably upset that a hillbilly is trying to punch him in the face, instinctively swallows the noodler's meaty paw. At this point, the noodler hooks his hand through the fish's gills and lugs the leviathan to the surface.
Naturally, allowing yourself to be eaten by a pissed-off catfish does have its dangers. Here's a clip of some real-life noodling - skip ahead to 2:30 to see what the fish did to these good ol' boys' forearms:
Your mother's advice applies in noodling as it does in life: Poking your appendages around strange holes isn't great for your health. Vacant catfish holes can house snakes, snapping turtles and even the occasional alligator. Also, flatheads are tenacious fighters and have drowned even the most precautious noodlers.
On the list of the embarrassing ways to kick it, "death by catfish" falls somewhere between "autoerotic asphyxiation" and "moonshine enema."
Slacklining is the art of walking along a dynamic (i.e. dangerously unstable) length of one inch-wide nylon webbing. Unlike a tightrope--which remains relatively static when you walk across it--the slackline will buck and bounce under your weight. In other words, it's as if your tightrope has become sentient and is revolting against its human oppressors.
"DON'T TREAD ON ME." - Slackline
Slacklining has the dubious distinction of a sport that's dangerous at all heights. There's low altitude tricklining, in which practitioners risk their noses and dignity backflipping on the slackline. And then there's highlining, which resembles rodeo-riding a giant millipede at 3,000 feet:
For those readers thinking about giving the highline a whirl, may we suggest instead jumping off your roof wearing moon shoes? It'll save you years of practice, and the outcome will be the same.
"Don't jump of your roof wearing moon shoes." - Our lawyer
We fully anticipate that some luminary in the comments section will opine, "WTF mehz. the middel ages isn't an extream sprut." To that faceless interlocutor we preemptively say, "Touche. You got us good."
To the rest of you, enjoy this video of a man joyriding a medieval siege weapon:
Human trebuchet launching was pioneered by David "Captain" Kirke, founder of the aptly named Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club (DSC). Kirke was also the first man to ever attempt a modern bungee jump, thereby demonstrating that either A) he has a predilection for death-defying stunts, or B) the man has a vendetta against the laws of gravity for sleeping with his wife.
From the looks of things, the sole goal of human trebuchet appears to be "land in the safety net," which is easier said than done. Since its creation, the trebuchet has fractured a user's pelvis and was finally put out of commission in 2002, when a miscalculation killed an Oxford student.
So remember, if your friends try to peer pressure into using 12th century counterweight anti-fortress engines, they're not your real friends.
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For more awesome sports you never heard of, check out 6 Ancient Sports Too Awesome For the Modern World and The 8 Most Baffling "Sports" From Around The World.
And stop by our Top Picks to see our office sport: dong hockey (it's exactly what it sounds like).