This month, as part of Hunter’s 28 series, we are celebrating the brand’s pioneering spirit. We have searched some of the most grueling journeys and action-packed events in the name of extreme sports.
1. Red Bull World Championship Cliff Diving, Worldwide
Taking on dives almost three times higher than at the Olympics, the Red Bull World Championship Cliff Diving entrants must be in peak physical condition. Each contender can reach speeds of up to 56 mph and build up huge force, so in addition to performing somersaults and twists, they must hit the water with precision, as a "pancake" or crash landing will turn the water into concrete.
2. Eddie Aikau Challenge, Waimea Bay, Hawaii
This extreme surfing challenge is named after Eddie Aikau, a famed lifeguard and surfer, who used to ride waves of over 30ft in order to save lives of people swimming at the bay. Waimea Bay is notorious for its huge winter waves, but the contest will only take place if waves reach more than 40ft. Because of these extraordinary natural conditions needed, the surfing competition has happened just eight times.
3. Marathon Des Sables: The Sahara desert, Morocco
The Marathon Des Sables, meaning Marathon of the Sands, is one of the toughest footraces on earth and takes place in the scorching heat of the Sahara desert. The race is a five day test of endurance, covering 256 miles – more than five and a half marathons.
4. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, The Canary Islands, Spain
This rowing challenge crosses almost the entire Atlantic ocean, starting in the Canary Islands and finishing in the Caribbean. Not only must teams row 3000 miles, they also have rough seas and the extremes of weather to deal with, resulting in many never completing the course.
5. World Cup Downhill, Fort William, Scotland
One of the key events in the mountain biking calendar, those taking part in the course descend 1,820 ft on the rugged terrain of one of Britain’s tallest mountains, Aonach Mor in the Scottish highlands.
6. Vake Snow Kite World Championships, Norway
In -70ºC temperatures, the Vake Snow Kite Championship challenges enthusiasts to a grueling 186 mile journey across the frozen landscape of the Arctic Circle. Snow kite surfers must tackle cliffs, rivers and crevasses often with little visibility, as blizzards roll in with a warning of just seconds.
7. The Patagonia Expedition Race, Chile
Adventurers travel into the remotest and previously uncharted areas of Chilean Patagonia to take part in this endurance race. Lasting 10 days and covering hundreds of miles, the expedition has a very low completion rate because of the unpredictable weather and the diverse terrain, which can include mountains, ice fields and forest.
8. The Yak Attach, Nepal
The world's highest mountain bike race, it takes places among the Himalayas in Nepal. The highest point of the race is at an elevation of 17,769ft, where bikers are faced with deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.
9. The Erzberg Rodeo, Germany
The Erzberg Rodeo is one of the most notorious dirt bike races, taking place next to the Erzberg lake in Germany. Over the 27.3 mile track, bikers must tackle forest, rocky terrain, mudslides and near vertical inclines.
10. Ouray Ice Climbing Festival, USA
Armed with harnesses and axes, hundreds scale the frozen waterfalls at the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival. The distinctive landscape is made by spraying thousands of gallons of water over the high gorge in Colorado, which sub-zero conditions turn quickly into the cascading ice for adventurers to climb.
11. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, France, Italy and Switzerland
This annual race in the Alps is approximately 103km long and crosses France, Italy and Switzerland. Taking many competitors more than 30 hours, it is considered the most difficult footrace in Europe with high altitudes and extreme weather.
12. IGSA World Championship for Downhill Skateboarding and Street Luge, Worldwide
Extreme skateboarders take to the steep courses around the world in a race powered by gravity. Known as street luge because of the position they take on their boards, the contestants can reach speeds of nearly 100mph.
13. Caber Tossing at the Cowal Highland Gathering, Scotland
Possibly the most famous event at the Highland Games, caber tossing needs immense strength and technique. The huge larch trees, which are the height of a telephone pole and weigh 175 pounds, must be launched upright at a 12 o’clock position and hit the ground in an upright position in order to score highly.
14. Vertical Blue: Dean's Blue Hole, The Bahamas
Vertical Blue, the free diving competition, takes place in Dean’s Blue Hole in The Bahamas. It is the world’s deepest blue hole and has a depth of 663ft. Free divers often go down to depths deeper than many SCUBA divers. Record holder, William Trubridge, reached a depth of 328ft and was submerged for 4 minutes 10 seconds on a single breath.
15. Wingsuit Flying World Championship, Worldwide
The Wingsuit Flying World Championships are not for the faint hearted. Competitors jump from dizzying heights, with last year’s competition held in China, descending 5,000ft from Tianmen Mountain. Wearing specially designed suits with fabric between the arms and legs, they are able to glide through the air before opening parachutes to land.
16. Race Across America
The Race Across America is an annual coast-to-coast bike journey from California to Maryland. The race spans 3000 miles and is approximately 30% longer than the Tour de France. Bikers have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race - cycling between 250 and 350 miles a day.
17. Swatch Freeride World Tour, Worldwide
A far cry from the slopes of the usual ski resort, these raw courses involve rugged ground and vertical drops. The competitor is judged on a number of factors including fluidity, control, jumping and the difficulty of the route they take down the mountain.
18. Badwater Ultramarathon, USA
If running a 135 mile race wasn’t enough to deter even the fittest of adventurers, this one takes place in the hottest place on earth, Death Valley. With temperatures that can exceed 120 degrees fahrenheit, runners cross varied landscapes including salt flats and mountain ranges with few completing the race.
19. The Billabong XXL Awards, Worldwide
The Billabong XXL awards are judged on video footage of surfers going against the waves. They are judged by surfers, photographers and surf magazine editors and can win a prize of $50,000.
20. Jungle Marathon-Floresta National de Tapajos, Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
Deep in the Amazon, the Jungle Marathon in Floresta National de Tapajos is a 200 mile test of endurance against 40 degree heat and 99% humidity. It’s not just the extreme landscape that competitors have to face but the animals that lurk within it – the Amazon is home to caiman, piranhas and anacondas.
21. Sandboarding World Championship, Germany
This sandboarding competition takes place in Hirschau, Germany currently also the site of Europe’s largest sand hill at 984ft, consisting of 35 million tons of sand. There are a range of events in the competition including slalom and freestyle, in which the snowboarder performs jumps and tricks.
22. The AR World Series, Worldwide
The AR World Series is an endurance race lasting 10 days and has taken place all over the globe from the UK to New Zealand. A multidiscipline event, the exact details are kept secret until just before the start but include kayaking, trekking and mountain biking.
23. 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
Started in 1923, this unique race tests not only the speed of the cars but their staying power. The race lasts 24 hours and competitors can cover over 5000 miles.
24. North West Creek Kayaking Competition
This kayaking course is among the most difficult and complex in the world. Fighting against the strong currents, the competitor must navigate high waterfalls and jagged rocks to avoid being pulled beneath the water.
25. USSBA racing, USA
Originating in New Zealand, Spring Boats follow a shallow swerving track and can reach speeds of up to 80mph. Because of the nature of the track, the boats perform incredibly sharp turns, generating between 3-7Gs, taking your breath away.
26.Big Wave World Tour, Worldwide
Taking place in the world’s premier surfing destinations, the Big Wave World Tour is a hunt for the world’s biggest waves. Those that wish to take part are given 72 hours to get to the destination as organizers monitor sea conditions to ensure waves over 30 feet.
27. X Games, USA
Possibly the most famous event for extreme sports, the X Games showcases a range of sports from motocross to snowboarding.
28. ProBASE World Cup, Worldwide
One of the most dangerous sports in the world, partakers jump from a BASE - meaning building, antenna, span, and earth, which is where the sport gets its name. Because the distances aren’t as high with skydiving, jumpers have less time to open their parachutes and must time this exactly.