Kids and Extreme Sports: Perfect Pair or Perfectly Dangerous? (Videos)Meghan Gesswein
As a family, I would consider us fairly sports-minded. Which is to say that we enjoy both playing and watching sports. When it comes down to it though, our favorite sports are pretty mellow. Baseball and golf are probably our top two, with soccer being the only other official activity in which our kids have been enrolled. I’m not going to even include swim lessons in the mix, because at this age it can hardly be considered a sport. (I’m 99% sure that “doggie paddle” will never be an Olympic event.)
However, there are kids out there who have not only tried their hand at so-called extreme sports, but have managed to become pretty accomplished athletes in their field. I am both in awe of their amazing abilities … and completely terrified for their safety. I can not imagine being the parent of a young athlete who has taken on an extreme sport.
Take a look at the videos below and then tell me, would you encourage your kids to try their hand at an extreme sport? Would you be a proud parent cheering on the sidelines at a kid-centered “X Games” or would you be in a back room suffering a mild panic attack? I think I would be somewhere in the middle. Either way, though, these kids have some amazing talent and should be proud of their abilities.
Skiing 1 of 10As someone who grew up on the slopes at our little local ski area, I feel safe saying that I was a fairly decent child skier. However, these kids put me to shame: the girl featured here is just six years old and taking on the slopes like a pro! I've never been so impressed. Or so happy to see kids wearing helmets while skiing.
Snowboarding 2 of 10Like skiing, only with less stability (and who even knew that was possible?!). Snowboarding seems pretty tame to begin with, because it's so hard to get, and keep, your balance that you assume there won't be much time spent upright — but extreme snowboarding kids have such mad skills, they make it look easy. And a little scary.
BMX 3 of 10I'm a great bike rider ... on a smooth surface, with no hills. Today's young BMX riders are racing at high speeds, flying around turns and taking jumps like nobody's business. One of the riders in the video started riding at age six! His ultimate goal? To head to the Olympics or X Games.
Motocross 4 of 10It's like BMX riding, but taken one step further ... the kids are on a motorcycle! If BMX left me biting my nails, I'm pretty sure watching Motocross would result in my being hospitalized. (Although we have to give props to the girls featured here — one of them admitted that she "feels bad, but not really" when she beats the boys.)
Rock Climbing 5 of 10I'm not a huge fan of heights, so rock climbing has been off of my list of preferred activities for a while. And even though they're strapped in safely while climbing, I can pretty comfortably say that watching my kid precariously climb the face of a mountain would be heart attack-inducing.
Skateboarding 6 of 10Skateboarding seems pretty sublime. Until you watch little kids do tricks that take them 10 feet off the ground ... above a concrete surface. I have a son named Ollie, but I don't know that I necessarily want him performing an ollie. (Or any of the other, more dangerous, skater moves, for that matter.)
Skateboarding Take Two 7 of 10Not to be outshone, this six-year-old girl shows that skating isn't just a boy's activity —and she really rocks that pink helmet.
White Water Kayaking 8 of 10Now a teen, Lauren Burress was only 9 years old when she became the youngest person to (purposefully!) go over a 22 foot waterfall in a kayak. Since then, she's gone over bigger falls. White water kayaking isn't for the faint of heart, be it kid or adult.
Photo via Jackson Kayak
Surfing 9 of 10As a family that lives by the beach, we spend a fair amount of time in or around the water. But, my kids have yet to set foot on a surfboard. After watching this video, I'm okay with that. The speed, the force of the waves ... it's amazing that these kids can remain in control of the board. The boy in this video says he likes surfing because when you fall, it doesn't hurt like cement. For some reason, I'm not totally convinced.
Kite Surfing 10 of 10I have no idea whose idea it was to take surfing and add a kite, but the mother in me wants to smack them upside the head. I can see how this sport would be fun to an adrenaline junkie, but I can also picture someone, especially a little kid, getting picked up and carried of to sea. I mean, this nine-year-old can't weigh that much ... what if there was a strong gust of wind?
Read more from Meghan on MeghanGWine and From Demo to Dream.
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