5 movies that feature extreme sports

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If you love watching movies as well as extreme sports, here are some movies that just might take your fancy because they combine the best of both worlds. And for those who might never dare to skydive out of a plane or climb up a mountain, you can always get that adrenaline rush vicariously through the characters in these movies, minus the danger.

1. Point Break (2015)

Point Break is quite a smorgasbord of adrenaline-pumping action! Snowboarding, rock climbing and cross country motorbiking are just the start of it. Then things go even more extreme – into the air – with skydiving, base jumping and wingsuiting!

Snowboarding is inspired by a combination of skateboarding, sledging, surfing and skiing. It involves going down snow-covered slopes while standing and balancing on a snowboard. Today, it is not just for recreation, but also an Olympic sport.

The movie’s rock climbing scenes were filmed in Angel Falls, Venezuela, while the rock climbing stunts of the character Johnny Utah were done by professional American rock climber Chris Sharma, who was hailed as the world’s best rock climber in 2007 by National Public Radio, USA.

Wingsuiting. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Matt Hoover

Wingsuiting. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Matt Hoover

Base jumping is similar to skydiving, except it’s off a fixed structure or cliff, instead of an aircraft. It can be done using a parachute, or even a wingsuit. It is more dangerous than skydiving from a plane due to the extremely low altitudes and hence, higher chances of crashing.

One of the adrenaline-laced pursuits in the movie was wingsuiting, which involves gliding through the air using a Superhero-like costume. It looks almost as if Batman were in flight, although it does end with the opening of a parachute to land safely.

It is usually done off a fixed structure like a cliff, but can also be done from an aircraft. First developed in the late 1990s, the wingsuit adds more surface area to the body with fabric under the arms and between the legs, to give that extra lift. The wingsuit is often referred to as a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit, or bat suit.

2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)

Walter Mitty (aptly played by Ben Stiller) goes from being a geeky office worker, whose most exciting pastime is daydreaming, to someone who goes on the adventure of a lifetime halfway round the globe in search of an elusive photographer.

There’s hiking amidst gorgeous snow-capped mountains and some swimming with sharks but the most eye-catching action in this movie is longboarding in Iceland.

Longboarding looks similar to skateboarding. Photo: Jim Petersson But it is usually for cruising. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The stunts were done by Brian Holden, a professional longboarder, but Stiller himself really did learn how to ride for the close-up shots, and at speeds of up to 57km/h too.

Longboarding looks similar to skateboarding, but is not quite the same. While skateboards are shorter, lighter, and good for doing tricks at skateparks; longboards, being longer and sturdier, are more suitable for longer distances, and can do some serious road cruising.

3. Everest (2015)

Ah, Mount Everest … which adrenaline junkie hasn’t dreamt of conquering the world’s highest mountain?

Based on the real events of a disaster there in 1996, the movie focuses on the survival attempts of two expedition groups, and shows that not everybody comes home alive. But even though the movie is not all hunky-dory, it is worth watching.

The altitude of Mount Everest is 8,848m. However, the part of the mountain above 8,000m is commonly called the “death zone”, as the oxygen levels at such high altitudes are insufficient to sustain human life.

A search on the Internet shows that almost 280 people have died trying to climb this mountain, mostly in the death zone, due to avalanches, injuries from falls, exposure to the cold, or health problems resulting from the extreme mountain conditions.

And, not all the bodies have been recovered … some still remain entombed in ice on the mountain to this day.

Editor’s note: The peak of Mount Everest (8,848m) should not be confused with Everest Base Camp (EBC), which lies much lower at 5,380m. While serious mountaineering skills (involving ice and snow) are required for the summit, many ordinary hikers (with good fitness) are able to reach EBC.

However, they should also be prepared for altitude sickness, symptoms of which can start at 2,500m for some people, though it generally becomes more pronounced above 3,500m.

4. Vertical Limit (2000)

The vertical climbing scenes portrayed are enough to induce vertigo. Vertical Limit is another supposedly realistic mountain climbing movie, and it features K2, the second-highest mountain in the world and the highest point of the Karakoram range along the Pakistan-China border.

Also known as the Savage Mountain because of the extreme difficulty of ascent, K2 has the world’s second-highest fatality rate for climbers – with every four who summit, one person dies on average.

It is a good reminder of how important teamwork and timing is in mountain climbing … and this could make or break a rescue attempt.

5. Into The Blue (2005)

There is nothing like diving for sunken treasure, and this movie is definitely meant for those who love watersports, from jetskiing, to snorkelling, to scuba diving, you’ll have more than your fair share of surface and deep sea adventure.

Jetskiing is a riding a personal motorised watercraft, somewhat like a motorbike, but on water. I think that’s at least one extreme sport that I could stomach.

Snorkelling. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

And for those who have a fear of “dark water” (that’s another movie, a horror flick), or diving into the deep end of the ocean with your scuba gear, there’s always snorkelling, where you can stay close to the surface of the water, and still savour the beautiful marine life.

And guys, even if you’re not into watersports, there’s always Jessica Alba in a bikini. (Sorry, an annoying guyfriend made me say that!)

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