We’ve all noticed the emergence of extreme sports over the last couple of decades, but they’re not just making an impact in our weekend activities or the sporting events we watch on television, extreme sports are also making their way into out literature. Whether they’re fiction or non-fiction, books about extreme sports have gained great popularity in recent years, and they can be found in a bookstore near you. If this is a topic you’d be interested in reading about, here are five books you should check out.
Some of these extreme sports books are about the journey that the author took to get to where they are, and some are specifically about the sport or extreme activity that the author takes part in. Unfortunately none of them are about my preferred extreme sport (paintball) but some do talk about the challenges I face during paintball games in a similar way. Even though they arent about my sport, I still find these books totally inspiring and have really enjoyed reading them. My friend Mark From the Paintball Enthusiast also helped with the list, so thanks mark!
A great place to start is with Richard Hoad’s The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges. This book profiles the 50 most extreme events imaginable. There are bike rides, mountain climbs, marathons, open-water swims, and a variety of other challenges that you could never even imagine before reading this book. There are first-hand accounts from athletes who have experienced these challenges, as well as colorful photographs that will make these extreme sports challenges come alive.
A wonderful and true story that revolves around extreme sports is A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington. The book tells the story of how Wellington overcame multiple hardships on her way to winning the Ironman World Championships in 2007. Aside from delving into the drama of her real life, Wellington’s tale shares her diet, training, and motivational techniques that led her to such an amazing accomplishment.
Up next is Deep by James Nestor, which covers the extreme sport of free diving, among many other deep-sea activities. Nestor explores the lives of free divers, as well as a slew of other professions that involve people spending time deep below the ocean’s surface. In addition to being thorough, parts of this book are utterly jaw dropping, as you’ll be amazed at what some people choose to do for fun and for a living.
The ultimate extreme sports book may be Beyond the Horizon by Richard Parks. After his professional rugby career came to an end earlier than expected, Parks took on a barrage of challenges and reached some amazing feats. The books tells how Parks became the first to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents in a span of seven months, in addition to visiting both the North and South poles. After accomplishing all that, Parks sets his sights on even more adventures, all of which you’ll have to read to believe.
Finally, there is the sad account of Solo, by Vicki McAuley, who tells the story of her husband, Andrew, on his final adventure. Andrew was attempting to be the first person to traverse the 1,600 kilometers from Tasmania to New Zealand in a kayak, but his kayak was found empty 80 kilometers from his destination, while his body was never found. From that tragedy, his wife tells his story, based in part on journal entries from his final voyage, providing a look into the life and mind of one of the great adventurers that the world lost too soon.