Photo: JJM Photography/Shutterstock

20 Athletes Pushing the Most Insane Limits on Water, Land, or Air

by David Miller Jun 3, 2009
Dudes flying 100 miles an hour just inches away from a cliff, dropping 186 feet down a waterfall, and ollieing over the Great Wall of China. . . all part of the progression.
Wingsuit Flying: Loic Jean-Albert, Andreas Barkhall, Espen Fadnes

Have you seen people flying yet? These guys are full on achieving mankind’s oldest dream. As they continue to push skills and develop new wingsuit technologies, it’s only a matter of time before somebody pulls off a controlled landing without a parachute.

Kayaking: Tyler Bradt, Rush Sturges, Ben Stookesberry, Jesse Coombs, Tao Berman, Pat Keller, Chris Gratmas

10 years ago, running any waterfall much over 30-40 feet was more of a stunt than anything else. Today, the latest boat and gear designs along with continually-evolving paddling technique have enabled paddlers to run enormous waterfalls totally under control. Up until this Spring, the 30-40 meter height seemed to be a plateau, but then Tyler Bradt made a completely game-changing run here in Washington, styling out the 186 foot Palouse Falls.

Check out the athlete reel of Rush Sturges below to get some idea of where paddling is at these days:

Snowboarding: Terje Haakonsen, Jeremy Jones, Bjorn Leines

There are posses of big mountain riders out there, but these guys have been pushing the biggest mountain lines for years.

Skiing: JT Holmes

Along with Shane McConkey (who died in a ski-base jumping accident earlier this year) JT Holmes has, for the last several years, pioneered big mountain lines that previously only existed in people’s imagination by incorporating base-jumping skills into skiing.

Skateboarding: Danny Way, Bob Burnquist

Although modern skateboarding still probably owes more to Rodney Mullen than anyone else, Danny Way and Bob Burnquist have (and still are) pushing limits as far as how big a feature can be skated.

Surfing: Laird Hamilton, Mike Parsons, Ken Bradshaw, Ross Clarke-Jones

These guys are among the most famous representatives of an entire crew of tow-in surfing pioneers.

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