Extreme measures

Posted by By at 22 October, at 15 : 31 PM Print

TGRWEB_400x312StatusSportsThere used to be a line often mumbled about how the Indian cricket teams of the 1970s and ’80s were not necessarily the best 11 cricketers in the country, but rather that they were the best 11 who could afford to play cricket. Nowadays, the Indian cricket system spreads far and wide and first class players are emerging from all areas of society.

Of course, there are still a number of sports where money is very much a factor. The likes of polo, yachting and many snow-related sports have a certain cost involved that excludes a number of participants.

If disposable income isn’t a concern, you may enjoy weekends down the coast with garden parties and polo tournaments … or you may look for something a little more exciting. We take a look at thrill seeking without the budget restraints.


Volcano boarding

The equipment here is fairly rudimentary so it won’t set you back too much, but with a distinct lack of volcanoes in Australia, there is a certain cost associated in getting to the venue – let alone if you want to practice to become any good.

The thrill is simple: racing down a volcano some 725m above sea level at a speed approaching 80km/h with little more than a board for protection. It’s pretty nuts. But still thousands

of travellers head to the foothills of Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro Mountain every year to take part. Surfers, dressed in protective jump suits, knee-pads and helmets are taken to the top of the volcano, and literally just slide down at up to 80km/h on their specially-constructed plywood boards.

Despite its unstable reputation, the operators insist that all safety precautions are taken and considered when boarding down the active volcano.

“Many years of experience has taken this activity to a level where it is safe but still fun and for some people a little scary.

We are always working on ways to continue improving it for the future,” a spokesman said.


Motor sport

Everyone knows that it takes a certain amount of money to play with cars – particularly fast cars. There is no doubting that once you reach a high level all drivers have skill – but to assume that they made it there purely on talent is a little misguided. After all, Eddie Jordan quite openly suggested that Ralph Schumacher got the nod to join his Jordan Formula One Team when he presented almost three times as much personal sponsorship than the other drivers on offer at the time.

However, not everyone needs to make it to Formula One to enjoy motor sport, nor do you even need to have proven track times to take part.

Adventure rallies, such as the famous Gumball 3000 or the recreated Peking to Paris Rally are open to anyone, irrespective of your driving ability.

Of course, when we say ‘anyone’, we mean anyone who can front up the entry fee (sometimes in the hundreds of thousands), plus put together an appropriate car capable of handling the conditions, which needs to be freighted to the start point and back home, with the expenses incurred along the way. It adds up pretty quickly – but half a million dollars later you’ve had a great time.

At the 2010 running of the Peking to Paris Rally, a Russian businessman was so frustrated with his rear axle continually breaking (due in no small part to the ridiculously powerful motor he had put in), that he hired a private freight plane to pick up his car and have it sent on numerous stages where it could be worked on in time to re-join the group. That exercise alone was rumoured to cost roughly a quarter of a million dollars.



The sheer vision of wingsuiting is exciting – after all, it’s the closest to genuine flying that humans can experience. A wingsuit is exactly what the name suggests – a suit with wings. While there is a parachute to get you safely to earth, the real difference is that it has fabric sewn between the legs and under the arms to provide lift and enable the user to ‘fly’ at incredible speeds – before eventually deploying the chute.

Much like the volcano boarding, a wingsuit itself is not that expensive – a few thousand dollars can get you into a very decent suit. But a suit itself isn’t a whole lot of use … well … it might be handy on display in the office to impress others, but you’re not getting much of a thrill from it.

Realistically, the cost in wingsuiting comes from the skydiving lessons you’ll need first. And the premium skydiving gear to do those lessons. And the plane rides. And the travel costs in getting to the areas where you can fly. Rinse and repeat – and you have an expensive hobby.


Hot air balloon racing

Those who have been in a hot air balloon will testify that it is actually very quiet and peaceful. But if you want to ramp up the excitement, you can race them. Think Around the World in 80 Days but with a heavily organised structure.

Of course, you can’t hire a balloon for an event like that – you need your own. And you’ll need to get that balloon to the start point – and home. And practice a lot so you’re good. Then there are operational costs. And let’s not even talk about entry fees…


Excerpted from an article originally published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. If you are a subscriber to Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine, you will receive this article in your Nov/Dec 2013 issue of TGR. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.

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