extreme sport base jumper

Is Skydiving The Most Extreme Sport?

Monday, May 13, 2024

If you’ve told your friends and family that you’re thinking about going skydiving, we’re sure you’ve heard (or maybe even thought to yourself): You are crazy to jump out of a perfectly good airplane! First of all, you (and anyone who wants to skydive) are NOT crazy! Secondly, when you compare skydiving to other extreme sports, you might be surprised to find out that it might not necessarily be the craziest thing you could do.

Is Skydiving an Extreme Sport?

Extreme sports – action sports or adventure sports – are defined by any activity that is perceived as featuring a high degree of risk and often involving high speeds, heights, a high level of physical exertion, and highly specialized gear. 

So, is skydiving considered an extreme sport? Yes! Not only does skydiving involve extreme heights with exit altitudes ranging from 8,000 feet to 14,000 feet or more, but it also incorporates high speeds of 120 mph during freefall and very intricate, specialized parachuting equipment. But is skydiving the epitome of extreme sport? Maybe; maybe not!

Is Skydiving the Most Extreme Sport?

While you are in fact jumping out of an airplane at unbelievable heights and speeds, it is the high-tech equipment and training of certified skydiving professionals that sets skydiving apart from typical extreme sports. Within the parachute system, there is a main parachute, a backup reserve parachute, an Automated Activation Device (AAD), and a Reserve Static Line (RSL) within the container that helps deploy the reserve in the case of an emergency. 

If you’re someone who likes statistics (like us), you’ll be pleased to know that the life-saving equipment of skydiving is very effective. Out of the 3.65 million skydives made in 2023, 10 resulted in a fatality – making the chance of dying while skydiving 1:370,000 jumps, or 0.27 per 100,000 jumps.

Extreme sports are known for being risky and, while there are certainly high risks associated with skydiving, we can find proven ways to mitigate those risks through modern gear design, proper training, and continued education through the United States Parachute Association (USPA).

So, what is the most extreme sport in the world? We’ve got a few in mind …

Most Extreme Sports

1. Highlining

The first on our list of most extreme sports is highlining. You may have seen a less extreme version of highlining called slacklining – this is where someone balances across a length of webbing hanging loosely (slack) between two trees about six to twelve inches above the ground. 

Highlining is where the length of webbing gets attached between tall buildings or cliff sides and someone walks, bounces, and sways along the line to get to the other side. While most highliners use a kind of harness to tether themselves to the rope, there is a risk of the harness not catching or slipping if the person is too close to the starting point. Yikes! 

If that’s not extreme enough, some will even choose to highline WITHOUT any sort of harness system. What is more intense than skydiving? This. This is.

Is Skydiving The Most Extreme Sport | Skydive Orange

2. Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers face the potential for serious injury while navigating rugged terrain filled with steep drops, jagged rocks, narrow paths, and challenging obstacles. High-speed collisions with trees, rocks, or other riders are constant threats, requiring split-second reflexes and precise bike control to avoid disaster. Factors like weather conditions, trail conditions, and rider fatigue further compound the risks, emphasizing the importance of proper preparation, protective gear, and adherence to safety protocols. With no backup system in place, mountain biking can quickly become a recipe for disaster.

3. Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumpers leap from towering structures with nothing but a bungee cord snapping them back into the air. The extreme nature of bungee jumping lies in the intense psychological challenge of leaping into the void, surrendering control, and trusting in the equipment and operators. Yeesh.

4. Hang Gliding

Hang gliding demands a mastery of aerodynamics as pilots navigate thermals and air currents. If even minor errors in judgment or technique occur, it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Pilots must contend with the risk of mid-air collisions, turbulent weather conditions, and equipment malfunction – all while suspended thousands of feet above the ground.

5. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing pushes climbers to their physical and mental limits as they scale vertical cliffs and daunting rock faces. The sport requires exceptional strength, agility, and mental focus as climbers navigate challenging routes filled with precarious holds and problems. The dangers are the risk of falls, equipment failure, and environmental hazards. Even with proper safety measures in place, climbers face the constant threat of injury or worse. Not to mention, some climbers opt to free solo – or climb intimidating cliffs alone without safety equipment. Talk about extreme!

6. BASE. Jumping

BASE jumping, derived from skydiving, involves launching from fixed objects like Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), or Earth (natural formations). It carries significantly higher risk, with a five to eight-fold increase in injury or death compared to skydiving, as presented in the Journal of Trauma. Jumpers face challenges like lower altitudes hindering aerodynamic control and the absence of a reserve parachute due to the quick descent. Off-heading openings pose serious collision risks, emphasizing the need for precise execution in this death-defying sport. 

We won’t argue that skydiving isn’t an extreme sport, but when compared to the others on our list, it’s not the most dangerous extreme sport of them all and a fairly less extreme option for those wanting to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Ready to dip your toes into the world of extreme sports? Book a skydive with Skydive Orange, Virginia’s premier dropzone. Blue skies!

Chris Posillico Skydive Orange AFF Student

Chris Posillico

I always felt secure in my actions because I knew that I was well prepared by my instructors and coaches.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

We Know! We hate popups too!

But this is totally worth it, join our mailing list to receive the latest news and receive some irregular e-mails offering you some sweet skydiving deals!

Building Community with Skydiving Events | Skydive Orange

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This