How Many Extreme Sports are There?

Interested in the world of extreme sports? We’ve come up with a list of some of the most famous, not so famous, and bizarre extreme sports of the world. Is this list, you’ll find a sport for every content and part of the world we live in—air, water, ice, and earth!

Extreme Sports

Have you ever wondered how many extreme sports there are in the world, or perhaps came across an extreme sport online and thought, “I never heard of that”? If that’s the case, you’ll be thrilled to know we’ve complied a list of extreme sports from all corners of the world. There are countless extreme sports in the world, and we’ve picked some of the most popular and newer, not as well known sports to feature on this list. 

To make this simple, extreme sports are broken up into four categories: Earth, Air, Water and Snow/Ice. How many do you think there are?

Let’s jump (or dive, paddle, run, ride…) into the world of extreme sports!



  • Skateboarding

An action sport using a board (called a deck) on wheels to preform tricks and used for transportation, skateboarding is a fun recreational activity, art form, and a professional extreme sport. 


  • Longboarding

Longboarding is a type of skateboarding, but the two sports are quite different. Often longer than a normal skateboard and in different shapes, it’s faster because of more precise hardware, wheel size and are used for cruising, traveling and downhill racing – AKA longboarding.


  • Mountainboarding

Mountainboarding is another sport similar to skateboard, but the similarities end with a board with wheels you stand on. Originally made by snowboarders for the off season, it’s a well established if little-known action sport that’s growing in popularity. 


  • Sandboarding

A cross between surfing and skateboarding, Sandboarding is a boardsport and extreme sport where you ride a board down or across a sand dune. It’s been around for centuries, but was made popular by surfers, who started learning how to do it when the water was flat. 


  • Fierste Ljepper

Originally from and most popular in the Netherlands, Fierste Ljepper athletes use a long pole to cross a body of water–without touching the water.


  • Pole Vaulting

Pole vaulting is a track and field event.  Athletes use a long and flexible pole, usually made from fiberglass or carbon fiber, to jump over a bar. Pole jumping was started by the Celts and Mycenaean Greeks.


  • Drifting

Drifting is a driving technique—and extreme sport—where the driver oversteers and looses traction, while still  maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. 


  • BMX

One of the most popular extreme sports, BMX short for bicycle motocross, is a cycle sport performed on BMX bikes.  There is BMX racing and freestyle BMX, in which athletes preform different tricks and maneuvers.

  • Motocross

Evolving from motorcycle trials competitions held in the United Kingdom, Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing held on off-road circuits. 


  • FMX

FMX, which stands for Freestyle motocross is a variation of motocross. Riders do all kinds of jumps, tricks, and stunts on their motorcycles in competitions held around the world.


  • Aggressive Inline Skating

Aggressive inline skating is a sub discipline within inline skating. This type of inline skating is more aggressive (hence the name) and is used to preform many kinds of flips, jumps, and other action stunts, both within an urban landscape and in skating parks.


  • Canyoning

Canyoning, also known as canyoneering, is when someone navigates on foot down a fast flowing mountain stream or river in a gorge. You’ll use a wide variety of techniques including climbing, abseiling, jumping and sliding.


  • Mountain Biking

Mountain biking—biking in the mountains! A mountain bike or mountain bicycle is a bicycle designed for off-road cycling and is designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.


  • Orienteering

A little different from the other sports on this list —orienteering is the sport of navigation. Meaning, the competition often takes place in a place familiar to you, and you must navigate from point to point in diverse terrain while moving at a quick pace. Participants are given a  specially prepared orienteering map, compass and must navigate from start to finish. 


  • Cross Country Mountain Biking

Cross country  mountain biking is a form of mountain biking that emphasizes endurance above technical skill. It’s performed on terrain consisting of forest paths,  singletrack, smooth roads, and paved roads connecting trails. 


  • Highlining

Highling is a sport where a special type of rope is secured from two points—cliffs, buildings, or something else—hundreds or thousands of feet above the ground, and people attempt to cross them using their balance. 


  • Abseiling

Abseiling, also known as rappelling, is when you have your rope tied down to a point on a rock face or cliff side and climb down.


  • ATV Motocross

ATV riding has several disciplines, but all involve racing from one point to another on an ATV, either on a track or on fields. These competitions are becoming more and more popular worldwide.


  • Free Climbing

Rock climbing has numerous disciplines, and Free Climbing is one of them. Free climbing is simply rock climbing without the assistant of any equipment such as ropes—however, most styles of climbing that are considered free climbing do use some sort of protection in case you fall.


  • Parkour

Parkour is considered an athletic sport, art form and philosophy. Practitioners attempt to get from point A to point B in the most fluid and fastest way possible, without equipment.


  • Kite landboarding

Based on the sport of kitesurfing where a rider on a surf-style board is pulled over water by a kite, Kite landboarding is nearly on land, except you exchange water for land.


  • Zorbing

Zorbing -both a recreation or sport – of rolling downhill inside a clear plastic orb. Generally, Zorbing is done on hillsides where you can gain speed and race others.


  • Obstacle Course Racing

Travelling on foot, competitors must quickly make their way through a difficult and physically daunting obstacle course. Races can vary in length from courses with obstacles close together to longer events which incorporate elements of track, road and/or cross country/trail running.


  • Ziplining

A zip-line, is a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on a slope, where people “zip” down the line. The activity has been around for some time and is developing into a worldwide sport.


  • Volcano surfing

As the name suggests, Volcano surfing is a sport performed on the slopes of a volcano—a far cry from surfing the waves in the ocean! Volcano surfers hike up a volcano along with their board, made from thin wood or metal. And “surf” their way back down.


  • Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is just would it sounds like—climbing rocks! Not just your average boulders, though. Rock climbers climb up, down and across massive rock formations and cliffs, testing  the climber’s strength, balance, endurance, agility and mental control.


Extreme Water Sports


  • Surfing

One of the most popular water sports, surfing, is when an athlete uses a board to ride on the crest of a wave towards the shore.


  •  Waterskiing

Pulled by a boat or a cable ski installation, waterskiing is literally skiing on water. The athlete will  skim the surface on  one (or two) skis. 


  • Bodyboarding

Bodyboarding and surfing both aims to catch and ride a wave, however the key difference is that while you are standing on the board in surfing, in bodyboarding you are laying stomach down on the board.


  • Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding, similar to waterskiing, is when a rider stands on a wakeboard and is towed behind a boat. While being towed, the athlete will preform different types of tricks midair.


  • Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to be pulled across the water, It’s an extreme sport that can also be done on land or snow, and incorporates aspects of other sports like surfing, windsurfing, skateboarding, and wakeboarding.


  • Windsurfing

Windsurfing combines both surfing and sailing. The athlete stands on the board and uses a single sail to maneuver and travel across the water.  It came about in the late 1960s developed from the aerospace world and surf culture of California.


  • Cave diving

Cave diving is both an exploration adventure and is an extreme sport where divers partake in  underwater diving in water-filled caves.


  • Flowboarding

Flowboarding a combo of skimboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and bodyboarding. Flowriding is basically surfing on an artificial wave and created by Wave Loch.


  • Kayaking

Kayaking both a water sport and fun outdoor activity, propelled by hand with a double-bladed paddle. Kayaks are narrow with a covered deck cockpits designed for to seat on person.


  • Cliff Jumping

Cliff jumping—jumping off of cliffs and into the water below.  Experiencing the thrill of the free fall and falling into the depths of the water is what attracts athletes to this sport.


  • Scuba Diving

One of the most popular extreme sports, scuba diving, is a type of underwater diving. Divers must use breathing equipment as they will be deep underwater for extended periods of time, exploring the underwater world.


  • White Water Rafting

Rafting and whitewater rafting is when you use an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. It’s a recreational outdoor activity, often done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water.


  • Skim Boarding

Skimboarding or skimming is a boardsport where you use a board to glide across the water’s surface, meet an incoming breaking wave, and ride it back to shore. Wave-riding skimboarders perform a variety of surface and air tricks and maneuvers, and it has been gaining popularity within the world of water sports.


  • Free Diving

Freediving is like scuba diving, except you are driving without breathing equipment. This is an ancient activity, and divers practicing their breath-holding techniques in order to stay underwater longer. 


Extreme Air Sports


  • BASE Jumping

BASE jumping is a sport of jumping from permanent objects or points, using a parachute to land safely.  “BASE” is an acronym that stands for:  buildings, antenna (referring to radio masts), spans ( like bridges), and earth. BASE jumpers jump from an area like a cliff, experience the freefall then deploy a parachute to slow their descent and land.


  •  Sky Diving

Skydiving is a sport of jumping out of an airplane (or another high point) and controlling the speed and descent with a parachute.


  • Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying is where a person wears a wing-like suit that helps increase lift to help keep you longer in the air.  First developed in the late 1990s, wingsuits has fabric stretched flat between the arms and flanks/thighs to imitate an airfoil, and usually between the legs as well as a tail. A parachute is always used when partaking in the activity.


  •  Bungee Jumping

A well known adventure activity, bungee jumping,  is when a person jumps from a great height (like a cliff) and is connected to a long elastic cord. People can jump from anything from cliff, ravines, cranes, or buildings and are typically thousands of feet in length.

  •  Highlining

Highlining is a slackline discipline that is practiced at great heights, between mountains, buildings, bridges. A wire or type of webbing is attached between two points, and the highlighter will basically “walk the line” from one side to the other, thousands of feet above the ground. 


  • Paragliding

Both competitive and a fun hobby, Paragliding is an adventure sport of flying paragliders. What is a paraglider? Free-flying, lightweight, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid structure. Sitting in a harness and in a pod, the paraglider is suspended below the gliding wings.



Snow and Ice


  • Snowboarding

Snowboarding is both a fun activity and competitive sport where athletes stand on a board and slide down a snow covered slope. The board it attached to the athletes’ feet and is practiced across the world, and is a part of the Olympics. 


  •  Skiing

One of the most popular winter sports, skiing, is the use of skis to glide on snow. Used in everything from basic transport, a fun activity, and a competitive winter sport. An Olympic sport, there are different types of skiing and international competitions for those divisions. 


  • Ski Jumping 

Ski jumping is where skiers ski from one point, jump from a descending hill and land in a safety zone. Some jumps have been over the size of a football field and use larger skis than normal skiers, and are judged by the length of the jump and style.


  •  Ice Climbing

Like rock climbing, ice climbing is the sport of climbing ice formations like icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs. Using ropes and other equipment, climbers use their skills to climb impossible ice formations.

  •  Snowkiting

Like kitesurfing, Snowkiting is a winter sport where people use the power of the wind to surf over the snow. Using skis and connected to a large kite, this is a face paced sport that completes athletic power along with wind power.


  • Monoskiing

A monoski is where a skier uses one larger ski on the snow. All the equipment used in alpine skiing  is the same (except for the larger ski), with both feet facing forward.


  • Snowblading

Snowblading is a new sport that is quite similar to skiing, but is a new and exciting take on the sport. Snowblading is basically skiing on two small skis that look like mini snowboards with no poles. While skiing is more popular. Snowblading is an ump and coming sport with a growing fan base.


  •  Ice Driving

Ice driving—the sport of driving fast cars on ice. Most popular in Finland and with Porsche being the most popular sport car for the sport. You’ll get maximum driving pleasure at the wheel of a Porsche, and icy drifts that will take your breath away.


  • Winter Mountaineering

Winter Mountaineering gives the thrill of traveling through walking icy ridges, snow-laden cornices and seeing the unimaginable views from the top of a snow peaked mountain.

Short days, quick changes in weather and sudden changing conditions are just a few of the unique challenges mountaineering has compared  to other sports.


  • Cross Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers cross snow-covered terrain without using ski lifts. Some people still use this as a mode of transportation, but most use it for fun or sport/


  •  Dog Sledding

A dog sled is a sled pulled by one or more sled dogs.  Used to travel over ice and through snow, dog sled racing competitions are held in colder locations in the Northern Hemisphere.


  • Ice Cross

Featuring downhill skating on a walled track, featuring sharp turns and high vertical drops. Compared to hockey, Ice cross downhill is a winter extreme sporting event which is growing in popularity. 

  • Ski Jumping

Ski jumping, uses similar equipment to regular skiing. Competitors aim to achieve the farthest jump after sliding down on their skis from a specially designed curved ramp. Athletes are not just ranked on their jump, style, and length.


WFO Worldwide

So there you have it! There are at least 66 different kinds of extreme sports in the world—did we miss any? Drop a comment below and let us know!


What do you think?


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