Shaun White: King of The Boards

Shaun White is a 30-year-old American professional skateboarder and snowboarder. Skating from the age of six, Shaun’s roots belong with boarding. And this is clear to see when he’s shredding up the ramps. Countless spins, flips and twirls all come as a second nature to White whether he’s on a skateboard or a snowboard.

White began snowboarding at six years old and by seven, he’d already received his first sponsorship! Then from the age of just nine, he caught the attention of professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. The pair became close friends and by 17, Hawk had even helped White turn pro!

White then went on to win many skateboarding titles including being crowned the Action Sports Tour Champion. So it looks like Tony didn’t do a bad job mentoring him then. During his snowboarding career White has been involved in three Winter Olympics, winning gold in two of them. He has also taken part in the Winter X Games, where he has won a medal each year since 2002! So you could say he’s one of the best, if not THE best.

Check out White doing what he does best! You won’t be let down.

So…who’s haard enough for that?

Driver on the Block

When we hear the words ‘reckless driving’ I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is hitting 35mph in a 30 zone or something along those lines, correct?

Well, for 48 year-old professional rally driver, Ken Block, hitting 35mph in a 30 zone is really no biggie. Driving itself is hard enough to get your head around, never mind every other external factor surrounding it. So when you’ve got the ability to nail handbrake turns and drifts at speeds of 100mph, then you know you’ve got some talent. Now for Ken Block, he doesn’t only have some talent, he has plenty of it.

With his custom 2012 Ford Fiesta HFHV that can hit 60mph in 1.8 seconds, Block can hit insanely fast speeds and perform handbrake turns to perfection missing obstacles by less than an inch—leaving everyone watching on the edge of their seats.

Ken’s ‘Gymkhana’ episodes consist of him visiting different places around the world such as Los Angeles and Dubai, showcasing his nail-biting driving ability. Which has become a real hit on YouTube, reaching millions of views.

So guys, what do you think? Would you be haard enough?

P.S. Please don’t try any of this at home unless you don’t mind stacking a fair amount of points on your license.

Drone Surfing Comes in Waves

Since their release, drones have taken the world by storm with almost everyone wanting one—which is not surprising, they do look awesome. They’ve become so popular, people are even hosting drone surfing and racing events!

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, a drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is remotely controlled by a person on the ground. Drones—also known as quadcopters—come in different shapes and sizes and are built with high quality cameras for people who want to record videos from above.

Drones are made from lightweight materials in order to increase movement while flying as well as keeping a low weight. They have four highly powered blades which provide the device with all its power as well as detection systems to avoid any collisions. It’s safe to say they’re pretty high tech and that’s why they cost as much as they do.

Some extreme sports enthusiasts came up with the idea of using the power of their quadcopter to guide them across the water while riding a surfboard—and so, drone surfing was born. It’s basically a badass form of wakeboarding and it looks amazing! It’s definitely something we at Haardvark want to try.

7 of the Most Dangerous Extreme Sports

Before we start, don’t let this list discourage you from taking part in any of these extreme sports. We are just highlighting that these sports can be dangerous, especially if safety precautions are not taken seriously. So, as always, we at Haardvark want you guys to understand the true importance of wearing safety equipment and how it can save your life.

Now into the Haard stuff!

Skiing/Snowboarding

Icy snow isn’t the most comfortable thing to land on, especially when you’re falling at 60mph. That’s why many riders get concussion while out on the slopes, and snowboarders have an even higher risk compared to skiers. Due to the amount of legwork needed in skiing and snowboarding, knee injuries occur very often, usually anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The 100ft drops off the side of a mountain and the avalanches also add to the danger of it but I suppose if you’re a thrill seeker, it’s all part of the fun.

Snowmobiling

A 205kg machine landing on your body obviously isn’t going to end well, no matter how big or strong you are. This is what makes riding a snowmobile so dangerous, along with the highest risk of a fractured skull out of all winter sports—a helmet is essential in this one!

Motocross

Motocross riders have the highest rate of broken necks—it is believed 27.6% of all reported neck breaks have come from motocross. So you best not forget your neck brace and helmet! Motocross is also dangerous during races when riders fall off their bikes and then get run over by bikes closely following. Ouch!

Skateboarding

Skateboarders are the most likely to suffer a skull fracture out of any extreme sport, as well as having a high risk of head and neck injuries. This is due to the haard bails on the solid concrete ramps so remember to take your helmet to the park!

Surfing

You’d expect with the ‘soft’ water landing, that bailing in the ocean wouldn’t be too painful. However surfers are 38 times more likely to fracture their neck compared to skateboarders! They must also keep an eye out for the hungry great white sharks swimming around them.

Mountain Biking

A common injury within mountain biking is neck fracture—the statistic is closely behind that of surfing. Travelling at speeds of up to 50mph while moving down a hard, rugged hill is always recipe for disaster if you are not safely equipped. That’s why no matter how good you think you are, a helmet is always essential!

Wingsuit Flying

This is the king of extreme! With 72% of base jumpers reported witnessing a death or serious injury, this is one where you’ll need a lot of safety equipment and a whole lot of skill! It’s not hard to see that wingsuit flying is one of the deadliest extreme sports, with participants being metres away from the rock face with very little control! Only the haardest could even think of doing this.

Brothers in Arms

When Jonny and Alistair Brownlee set off in this year’s World Triathlon Series in Mexico, I’m sure no one expected a dramatic ending that would be quick to hit global news.

While dominating the race, Jonny—heading for gold—felt the force of fatigue in the last 1.5km of the gruelling 51.5km race. He said: “I remember my legs going a little bit wobbly and thinking: ‘I’m not going to make it to the finish line.’” The effects were clearly taking a toll on Jonny; he lost all sense of direction and it was easy for everyone to see he was moments away from falling to the ground. The 33° Mexican heat didn’t really give him a helping hand either.

Alistair was only a few metres behind and he could see what was happening. As Jonny staggered over to the steward on the side, he came to a halt and was then overtaken by the winner of the race, Henri Schoeman (South Africa). After only stopping for two seconds, his older brother came behind him and began to run arm in arm with him, completely throwing away his own chances of winning the race.

The pair slowly made their way to the finish line and Alistair threw his brother over the line before himself, with Jonny coming in second and Alistair in third. Rightfully the act has been recognised globally and Alistair is getting all the praise he deserves; Gordon Ramsey called it “a truly inspirational act of sportsmanship.”

Would you sacrifice your chance of winning gold to help someone in your family finish a race?

When asked why he did it, Alistair said: “I didn’t really think too much about what I did. I’ve been in that position before, in London maybe six years ago. I remember being in second trying to win the race and then waking up and being told I’d come 10th. I was like: ‘Why didn’t all those people who came past me help me out?’” Jonny added: “I will be thankful for the rest of my life.”

Sometimes you don’t need a gold medal to be a winner.

Four Paralympians Beat Olympic Gold Time

It’s been an exciting week so far for the 2016 Rio Paralympics, with seemingly more coverage and public excitement for the event than ever before!

At the time of writing, ParalympicsGB is in second place overall at the event, just behind China with 19 bronzes, 16 silvers and 28 golds, the most recent of which have been earned by swimmers Sascha Kindred, Ellie Simmonds and Susie Rodgers.

However, one of the most exciting moments of the entire event so far came at the climax of the T13 1,500m. American Olympian Matthew Centrowitz Jr. had previously won gold at the Rio Olympics with a time of 3:50.00. However, four competitors in the T13 1,500m race (T13 indicating the competitors level of functional vision) managed to best Centrowitz’s time.

Algerian Abdellatif Baka won the gold with a time of 3:48.29, while Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse and Kenya’s Henry Kirwa took silver (3:48.49) and bronze (3:49.59) respectively.

Even more surprising still is that Fouad Baka (brother of fellow Algerian Abdellatif) clocked in an impressive 3:49.84, coming in fourth overall and ahead of the Olympic Games gold time.

We’re just a week into the event, and there’s sure to be more exciting developments to come. Keep your eye on the Haardvark blog for more news and information.

Go Bigger Coalition & Safety in Extreme Sports

The biggest misconception about extreme sports is that it’s all about death defying stunts, but one group in America is trying to change that.

Although action sports tend to be all about big jumps and cool tricks, that doesn’t mean we should forget safety says Robb Gaffney, one of the Go Bigger Coaltion’s founders along with like-minded athletes, coaches and parents.

The aim of the group is to teach parents about extreme sports, and teach them how to talk with their children about taking potential risks, societal pressures and enjoying themselves.

Gaffney said: “We don’t want our kids to die doing the sports we do, and we also want them to enjoy it rather than fear whether they’re going to make it back to their car at the end of the day.”

This is a mindset Haardvark can absolutely get behind. We want to educate young people with extreme sports so that they can walk away at the end of a session and still have fun.

To find about more about the Go Bigger Coalition, please visit their website.

The Incredible Feats of Sean Conway

Sean Conway is what you might call an extreme sports fanatic. Not content with taking part in a variety of endurance events, Sean always adds something interesting into the mix.

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sean wasn’t the most athletic when he was growing up but he loved to get stuck in, taking part in everything from swimming competitions and canoe marathons. Perhaps this early affinity with the water explains why he would go on to break a swimming world record later in his life.

Conway first appeared in the public eye when he bought a bike off eBay and cycled the 1300 mile journey from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, meeting locals and seeing sights along the way. He wrote a book on his adventure, which he says put him on the path that he’s still travelling on today.

Continuing on with his slightly mad cycling challenges, Sean went on to not only climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales, but get to each one by cycling the 430 miles between them!

He even attempted to break the world record for cycling around the world, completing an average of almost 180 miles a day. Things were going smoothly until a driver in the US ran over him at 50 miles an hour, sending him straight to the hospital. This setback meant that he couldn’t best the record, but he still managed to cover 16,000 miles and six continents in 116 days, a feat which he should definitely be proud of.

However, the thing that has most famously put Sean Conway on the map is when he became the first person to swim the entire length of Britain, again from Land’s End to John o’ Groats up the west coast. He successfully swam 900 miles in 135 days, a spectacular accomplishment. This achievement led to him writing another book, as well as being the origin for his now famous beard as a way to prevent jellyfish stings.

Sean has proved that pushing yourself to your furthest limits can produce incredible results. He’s worked haard to get to where he is, and that fact should be an absolute inspiration to us all.

Haardvark’s Top 5 Action Cameras

The great thing about extreme sports is that we don’t have to do them alone. Whether it’s a team sport, mountain biking with your friends or posting close-to-the-action footage online, there’s a great joy in sharing your experiences. But a high-octane activity needs an equally haardcore camera to record your trails and tribulations, and here are five of the best.

GoPro Hero4

GoPro is now synonymous with action cams, and for good reason. The company’s latest range, HERO4, improves on everything that’s gone before with 4K recording capabilities at 30fps and a 12 megapixel camera for stills. Combine that with the hundreds of available accessories so you can attach it to anything and you’ve got yourself an all-round camera that’s second to none.

iON Air Pro 3

If water sports are more your style, you won’t get much better than the iON Air Pro 3. Boasting 1080p video at 60 frames per second, even underwater, this tiny little camera will even capture clear underwater audio! Plus, you can sync the Air Pro 3 with your smartphone and share the footage online instantly

Sony HDR-AS100V

If you’re looking to get your first action camera, or simply don’t want to spend too much, the Sony HDR-AS100V is a great choice. With similar video quality, better audio and a longer battery life, it’s a fantastic starter camera before you take the plunge and spend a little more on something more robust.

Rollei Actioncam 400

Another 1080p video quality camera, the Actioncam 400’s most unique features is its easy-to-use remote that attaches to your wrist for easy control. No more fiddling with the handlebars while you’re going down a mountain at 30 miles an hour.

Liquid Image Apex HD

These snow goggles have a camera built in, right between the eyes, so you can get perfect POV video without worrying about dropping your device! Although they’re designed for boarding, they can also be used for anything from biking to skydiving. Complete with wind guard technology for high quality sound and WiFi for live streaming, these are the goggles of choice for extreme sportspeople everywhere!

Is WingBoarding the Next Big Thing?

Here at Haarvark, we’re all for pushing the boundaries of extreme sports, but even this might take the biscuit a little!

WingBoarding is a new extreme sport that’s being developed by Wyp Aviation. They’re taking their inspiration from TaleSpin’s Kit Cloudkicker and even Marvel’s Silver Surfer by making riding the clouds more than just a fantasy.

The Wyp WingBoard enables riders to surf through the air behind a light aircraft, shifting their weight in order to control the board.

Founder and Lead Engineer Aaron Wypyszynkski said that he was inspired by Disney’s TaleSpin character who would regularly jump on the back of a plane and surf the clouds.

The Alabama resident is now developing the first full-scale prototype, but needs to raise $275,000 in order to complete the project.

He says that the difference between using a WingBoard rather than a regular snowboard is that you can actually control your movements in the air—you’re not just falling with style!

It’s an exciting new prospect for sure, and we’ll definitely keep our eye on this one in the future.