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California’s Extreme Sports

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California’s Extreme Sports

Cindy Tse, Staff Writer

California covers a wide range of areas and people, making it a great spot for thrill seekers looking to get their fix. Whether it’s water sports or mountain sports, there is sure to be a way to do it. Any one of these activities can give you an adrenaline rush, leaving you alert and refreshed.

Scuba Diving

California’s coastline has one very distinct feature that makes it an interesting spot for scuba diving: kelp forests. However, scuba diving requires certification beforehand to take part. Once you do, however, the California coastline is your oyster. Up and down the coast there are a number of potential dive spots. Up north is Monterey Bay, a great location to take a road trip to visit Coral Street Beach or Breakwater Cove. Southern California’s less rocky coastline offers some more options. San Diego’s La Jolla is a popular location, and for those looking for adventure, there’s the Yukon, a real sunken ship that is part of the larger Wreck Alley project. Diving is also a popular activity at the beautiful Catalina Islands. Interestingly, according to The Art of Scuba Diving, “There is also an initiative to turn old oil rig platforms into permanent dive sites and artificial reefs around California, which is a great project for the environment, and us divers alike.” Diving is a great way to scratch the exploration itch.

Paragliding

Paragliding puts you at the mercy of nature with minimal control, allowing you to soar above the terrain. While there is no license required to paraglide, it is not something a novice can do without an instructor’s accompaniment. Beginners can start off with tandem flights which will allow you to enjoy the experience with the guidance of a professional. Paragliding is available in many locations up and down California, such as Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Malibu. Since paragliding is fueled by the same thermals used by hawks and eagles, many paragliders often find themselves sharing the sky with them. It has been more of a popular sport outside of the U.S. but is gaining popularity. And if the weather is good, you could stay in the air for as long as you want. While it is a bit complex to learn, there is less equipment needed and less setup time. The views offered from paragliding are unparalleled, and it’s amazing to be up in the air, soaring like a bird.

Rock Climbing

All over California are a plethora of rock climbing spots. From Yosemite to Joshua Tree, conquering the earth is a difficult and dangerous activity, but a thrilling experience. As Shoestring Adventures puts it, “Go with someone that knows what they’re doing, or contact an outdoor climbing guiding service. Technical climbing is inherently dangerous (this is written on climbing gear itself!).” After some experience with indoor climbing, you can move on to the ever-popular Malibu Creek or, if you’re willing to make a bit of a drive, Holcomb Valley near Big Bear which is home to towering forests and free camping. Yosemite offers towering granite cliffs, and as you move more inland, you find bouldering in Buttermilks or Owens River Gorge.

As intimidating as many of these activities can be to someone inexperienced, they are a chance to experience the world from a completely different perspective and truly discover all corners of the world. And California is the perfect place to get started with all its natural beauty!

Photo courtesy of PARAGLIDING-LESSONS.COM

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California’s Extreme Sports