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A contestant flies during a World Wingsuit Championship at Tianmen Mountain near Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, October 17, 2012. (CHINA DAILY/REUTERS)
A contestant flies during a World Wingsuit Championship at Tianmen Mountain near Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, October 17, 2012. (CHINA DAILY/REUTERS)

Extreme sports: 3 cool ways you can conquer land, sea and air Add to ...

Overlanding

Overland travel involves exploring remote regions of the world that can only be accessed with serious four-wheel-drive vehicles. Roads in these areas are often not maintained and travel usually requires driving on dirt and rock trails. Traditional locations in North America include the rugged deserts of the southwestern U.S. or the vast and sparsely populated areas in northern Canada. At the end of each day, Overlanding enthusiasts can retire to plush rooftop tents mounted atop their vehicles and enjoy gourmet meals thanks to sophisticated, battery-powered mini-refrigerators that keep ingredients fresh for days. The emphasis is on self-sufficiency without compromising comfort. Trips can last anywhere from a few days to months and, depending on the location and the terrain, may require serious driving and mechanical skills. Because of the remote nature of the travel, participants sometimes spend months researching their routes.

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Ideal For: Aging extreme sport athletes interested in adventure travel with a surprising level of comfort, but without the hand-holding of guided tours. Think adventure RVing.

Cost of Entry: Costs can range between $4,000 to $100,000 and revolve mostly around purchasing and modifying an appropriate vehicle such as Toyota FJ Cuisers, Toyota Land Cruisers, Jeeps or older, truly off-road-worthy Land Rovers.

Thrill Level: Low to High

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

By combining the balance and body awareness of surfing with the upper body and core strength of paddling, SUP offers a great way to get fit while enjoying Canada’s waterways. Participants stand on a modified surfboard and use a long paddle for propulsion and balance. This set-up allows SUPers to paddle on smooth water while still being able to ride smaller waves – like regular surfing. The sport’s recent growth stems from the fact that it incorporates many aspects of surfing, but is easier to master and doesn’t require waves. It also helps that participants can approach the sport on their own terms, choosing from smooth lakes, fast running rivers or ocean waves.

Ideal For: Anyone who’s looking to spend the summer on the water but prefers more of a challenge than flat-water canoeing or kayaking.

Cost of Entry: $1,500 should get most folks started in the sport.

Thrill Level: Medium

Wingsuit Flying

If parachuting and BASE jumping seem too sedate, you might consider wingsuit flying. A special nylon suit with fabric panels under the arms and between the legs allows participants to glide (almost fly) as they jump off cliffs or out of airplanes. As they approach the ground, they deploy a parachute, which ensures a safe landing. Although people have been playing with wingsuit designs since the 1930s, effective modern versions only came about in the late 1990s in Europe when BASE and parachute jumpers started experimenting with the sport. The sport is most popular in Switzerland and Norway – both countries’ have numerous cliff-launching locations. Anyone wanting to try wingsuit flying must complete 200 conventional skydives to qualify for a training course.

Ideal For: Relatively fit individuals bored with any of the more established extreme sports and eager to experience human flight.

Cost of Entry: Wingsuits usually sell for less than $1,500, though participants also need to factor in the price of a parachute (between $2,000 and $3,000) and other gear. After completing the requisite parachute jumps, wingsuit flyers can find a coach online and enroll in a course.

Thrill Level: High

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