Extreme sports can be downright dangerous, but the sheer exhilaration keeps the adrenaline junkies coming back for more. Not only are these sports fun, but provide totally unique encounters with nature and the world.

The below list kicks off with the most life threatening and finishes with the safest, but there is an element of fear with all of them. That’s the point of extreme activities, after all; the rush of literally living on the edge.

Many of this top 10 list can be done by novices who are looking for adventure whilst on holiday. The rest, like base jumping and free climbing, are best to left to the pros.

1. BASE jumping

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As stated in its acronym, base jumping entails leaping from fixed objects with only a parachute attached to their back; Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs). It is a rare and esteemed activity that earns an award after one jump from any of those objects. As of October 2010, over 1,400 BASE numbers have been awarded.

2. Sky diving

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Popular in the New Zealand’s Queenstown, or over the Swiss Alps for the spectacular views, is sky diving. The thrill of jumping from a plane from 12,000 feet and free-falling for 30 seconds is nothing short of exhilarating and terrifying. Sky diving for non-professionals is always done in tandem with an experienced sky diver, who ensures a safe jump and landing.

3. Free climbing

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Free climbing is a type of rock climbing that only employs rope for the sake of safety. Agile free climbers ascend treacherous and daunting cliffs using only their limbs. Top climbing locations are found all over South Africa and New Zealand.

4. White Water rafting/kayaking

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Ranging from tame to wild depending on the river, white water rafting in a group is great fun. Kayaking in white water can be dangerous and isn’t advisable for untrained kayakers. National Geographic highlight North America and South America as the best destinations for the white water chasers.

5. Back country skiing/snowboarding

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Take your skis or snowboard off piste to discover the true meaning of adventure. Off the beaten track is where the fresh snow and steep mountain edge await. North America boasts elite back country skiing in Jackson Hole, Snowbird and Whistler.

6. Big wave surfing

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Surfing isn’t easy to master but you can have fun trying! Good surfing spots can be found all over the world, but Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii holds the title as the most extreme with its waves that reach over 6 metres. Other big break beaches in South Africa, Indonesia and Australia follow closely behind.

7. Extreme downhill mountain biking

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Downhill mountain biking isn’t for amateurs due to the dangerous falls that are inevitable in this extreme sport. The French Alps in Summer provide great, not to mention local, terrain that is ideal for downhill biking.

8. Kite surfing

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Kite boarding encompasses wake boarding, wind surfing, surfing and paragliding into one big extreme sport. There are varying types of kite surfing, but essentially it entails being attached to a board which is being propelled across the water by a parachute in the sky. Many beaches in Cypress have kite surfing training centres, for those looking to learn.

9. Bungee jumping

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If you aren’t in to free falling but do want the excitement of jumping off something, then you might be more into bungee jumping! The idea is that you fall while attached to a cord, and it can be done from a bridge, building or cliff edge.

10. Cage diving with sharks

 Top 10 Extreme Sports and Destinations

Hover just below the surface in a completely secure cage to feed sharks. Don’t worry, you feed them fish, not yourself! All the excitement and thrill without the danger.

So, which one would you do?

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