Death Defying Sports

Garrett Macnamara now holds the record for the largest wave ever surfed after completing a ride on a 90ft monster of the North coast of Portugal (Watch the video here). The coastline is home to a deep-water canyon that funnels large swells from the Atlantic Ocean; creating record-breaking waves such as the one McNamara rode. Feats like this are a true test of not only an extreme athlete’s ability but also their mental strength, as a fall would undoubtedly have killed Macnamara. Today I will look at extraordinary feats, which if gone wrong would have been the last thing the athlete did.


Next up is the eccentric Frenchman Alain Prost (no relation to he Formula One driver), who not content with facing the wrath of the forces while he rock climbs, turned his hand to urban climbing in 1997, also incurring the wrath of the law. His most famous ascents include the 300m Sydney tower and the Eiffel tower in France. The Frenchman is 60% mentally handicapped and has been arrested over 10 times, normally at the top of the skyscrapers. There have also been documentaries made about him  – the most famous being ‘The Wall Crawler’ which was released in 1998. The most incredible thing about Alain Robert? He suffers from vertigo.


Cliff jumping may seem like a hobby that kids do while sneaking away from parents on a Mediterranean holiday, but there are people taking it to new extremes, and the renowned maestro is a proud Brit. Last season Southampton’s Gary Hunt barely dropped a point all year, and has tricks in his repertoire that other divers couldn’t even contemplate. For him it is not uncommon to perfectly execute a two and a half twisting quad with a running take-off from over 88ft in the air. See him in action here.

Parkour (or extreme running) is a sport that involves jumping from buildings, running on rooftops and generally using the urban environment as a playground. The aim is to move as efficiently and quickly as possible from on point to the other. Parkour’s unofficial motto is être et durer, meaning “to be and to last”. According to Dylan Baker, a famous traceur (parkour practitioner) “Parkour also influences one’s thought processes by enhancing self-confidence and critical thinking skills that allow one to overcome everyday physical and mental obstacles.” If the idea of parkour tickles your fancy why not check yourself in to the Tempest Freerunning Academy in California. Click here for the school’s video.