Whatever you had planned this summer, cancel it immediately.
You’ll thank us later. By the time you’ve clicked through these ten extreme summer hobbies, that surf trip you had on the calendar will look like a total snooze.
But hiking the Appalachian Trail is extreme, you say. But fly-fishing in the Alps is difficult, you say. Do you see us yawning at you? Extreme hobbyists won’t settle for any pastime that doesn’t deliver a juicy, dripping dose of adrenaline.
These ten outrageous hobbies are sure to get your blood pumping this season, from dune-bashing in Dubai and tornado-chasing in the Midwest to locking eyes with Great White sharks in South Africa.
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Sure, you took a snorkeling class on your last vacation, but we bet you haven't strapped into a wetsuit and air-mask to explore secret caves submerged under the ocean floor. This extreme hobby requires certification, but you'll get the satisfaction that comes with exploring truly uncharted terrain (not to mention just surviving).
Lessons from $350 at North Florida Cave & Technical Divers.
For a truly "gritty" experience, make like Dubai's most ballin' bad boys (and bad-gals) and try "Dune Bashing"—the beloved Iranian past-time of slamming an SUV (tricked out with roll-proof technology and safety harnesses) through giant desert dunes.
Lessons at Dubai Dune Bashing.
Your gym probably offers kickboxing classes, but it's decidedly tougher to take up fencing—a favorite hobby of Tom Cruise. Happily, you can get your "Game of Thrones" on at the Fencers Club in Manhattan, which offers 20-minute private lessons as well as longer group sessions.
Lessons from $70 at Fencers Club.
Fencers Club/Fencers Club
Haven't we all wondered what it would be like to fly at one time or another? Hang-gliding may be as close as humankind can get (until we all have jet-packs). Our top pick? Ocean front lessons on Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles.
Lessons from $229 at Wind Sports.
Cars are so over. With fans including Harrison Ford (he owns his own 'copter), Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie, flying a helicopter is practically "de rigeur" among A-listers, which is why getting your chopper credentials is easier than ever. New York's Pegasus Flight School offers private lessons over the Hudson river.
Lessons from $525 an hour at Pegasus Flight.
Anyone who has ever been to a NASCAR race knows the thrill of cars speeding past at upwards of 190 miles per hour. So we can just imagine the adrenaline rush one would get behind the wheel—which is exactly what visitors at the NASCAR Racing Experience school are promised (that, and a 20 page photo book commemorating their ride).
Packages from $360 at NASCAR Racing Experience.
It may be the most cliche of extreme hobbies, but sky diving has earned its reputation for a reason. With jumps exceeding 13,500 feet, sky divers get to experience the sensation of "flying" (really, plummeting towards earth) while taking in some truly knockout scenery.
Lessons from $219 at Sky Dive the Ranch.
Want to live like a real-life Batman? Spelunking is a long-time favorite of thrill-seeking hobbyists who don't mind squeezing through cramped, claustrophobic rock formations to find the bizarre, alien-like caves they conceal. Suited to the more experienced spelunker, South Africa's Cango Caves—situated along a limestone ridge at the base of the Swartberg Mountains—is one of the world's premiere "caving" experiences.
Lessons from $95 at Cango Caves.
If we saw a twister touching down, you can bet we'd be running the opposite direction. But for a select few thrill-seekers, tornado chasing offers the adrenaline rush, and new companies in the Midwest (along "Tornado Alley") offer week-long tour packages with "guaranteed' storm sightings.
Information at stormchasing.com.
DIVING WITH SHARKS
Maybe you've always wondered what it was like to stare death in the face, or maybe you just like really big fish. Whatever the reason, people continue to submerge themselves underwater in giant, locked cages to be attacked by great white sharks. Sounds pretty unappealing to us, but hey, YOLO.
From $156 at SharkCaveDiving.net.