BASE jumpers take the plunge in Norway. A mountain biker catches serious air in Baja. Kiteboarders cruise the French Polynesian coast. Get inspired to take your surfing, hiking, paddling, biking, or climbing to the next level with these photos of summer’s most extreme sports.
Kiteboarding in French Polynesia
Photograph by Jody MacDonald
A kiteboarder cruises across a vast lagoon in Apataki, an island in the stunning Tuamotus chain in French Polynesia. The photographer captured this shot from the top of her sailboat’s mast at midday, when the sun penetrated the clear water to reveal the amazing colors of the South Pacific.
Rock Climbing in Trout Creek, Oregon
Photograph by Jonathan Kingston, Aurora Open
Most people think of Smith Rocks when they think of climbing in Oregon, but Trout Creek is an up-and-coming destination for rock hounds—and it’s located just outside the town of Madras. Here a climber ascends a crack in a mind-bending rock wall.
Surfing at Outside Avalanche, Oahu
Photograph by Sean Davey, Aurora Photos
Surfer Garrett McNamara gets towed into a towering 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water at Outside Avalanche reef on the legendary North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The daredevil was a pioneer of using helicopters to access monster waves.
Plunging Over Shepherds Falls, Oregon
Photograph by Ty Milford, Aurora Photos
Kayaker Heather Herbeck runs Class V Shepherds Falls, a spectacular series of waterfalls on the Lower Wind River near Carson, Washington. Mere mortals can opt to raft the river, considered one of the premier whitewater trips in the Pacific Northwest.
Diving Devil’s Hole, Cuba
Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic
Passing coral cliff walls, freediving champion Deborah Andollo swims up from the depths of Devil's Hole, Cuba, illuminated by an underwater spotlight. Admired by Jacques-Yves Cousteau for its diverse marine life, Cuba’s world-class diving is centered on the country’s four primary reef systems, each of which is about equal to or longer than the Florida Keys.
BASE Jumping in Norway
Photograph by Johan Wildhagen, Red Bull Photofiles
Action sports superstar Karina Hollekim BASE jumps off 3,609-foot (1,110-meter) Kjerag in Norway, her home country. Besides being a popular destination for leaping off cliffs with just a parachute, the mountainous region is a favorite of hikers and climbers.
Photograph by Ezra Shaw, Getty Images
Competitors crowd the sky during the 10th FAI Paragliding World Championships in 2007. The event took place in Manilla, Australia’s top destination for the sport.
Surfing Waimea Shorebreak, Oahu
Photograph by Sean Davey, Aurora Photos
Mexican surfer Marco Polo catches a riotous wave at Waimea Shorebreak on Oahu’s North Shore. With swells rising up to 16 feet (5 meters), Waimea Shorebreak is the ultimate big-wave beach break with pounding lefts that only the pros should attempt.
Freeriding in Baja, Mexico
Photograph by John Gibson, Red Bull Photofiles
Boundary-pushing mountain biker Aaron Chase hovers between two tiny rock islands in the Sea of Cortez for a documentary shoot in Baja California, Mexico. While filming, the athletes and production team made their base camp on a whale-watching boat, a perfect vantage point to view the whales and dolphins.
Competing in the Primal Quest Adventure Race
Photograph by Corey Rich, Aurora Photos
A member of Sweden’s Halti team crosses a Tyrolean traverse during a ropes leg of the 2006 Primal Quest adventure race in Moab, Utah. This marked the largest expedition adventure race ever held, with 95 co-ed teams of four covering 400 miles (644 kilometers) in hopes of winning the $250,000 purse. In 2009, the race tackled South Dakota’s Badlands. The 2010 date and destination are yet to be announced.
Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Potomac River, Virginia
Photograph by Trevor Clark, Getty Images
Luke Hopkins stand up paddleboards in the middle of a big set of rapids at Great Falls on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. The emerging sport of Hawaiian heritage gives surfers the ability to see, access, and catch more waves.