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  • islands the waves got much bigger I tried to relax but it did not come easily We paddled from Vatersay to Sandray where we got out of our boats and had some food Up until then the biggest waves had been no bigger than 6ft Deano and Patrick heading out from Vatersay After lunch we headed to the southern tip of Sandray and turned into the wind Instantly the waves started to become bigger I tried to stay as relaxed as I could which wasn t very easy Patrick had told me that the most likely outcome of me tensing up on every wave we hit would be that I d capsize the boat I certainly didn t want that Within a few second of turning the corner Patrick spotted a Basking Shark ahead of us It was about 100ft away and coming in our direction Bennie and Jane had also spotted it but I couldn t see that far A few seconds later and it was only a few feet away from our boat I could make out 2 fins sticking out of the water Then as it was parallel with us it turned at right angles and came directly at us It was like something from Jaws The fin was cutting through the water leaving a wake behind it I had 2 voices in my head One was saying it s a shark and it s coming straight at us The other voice was saying it s only a Basking Shark and it is harmless As I was wrestling these voices the fin came within 2ft of the boat then dived under us Patrick watched it beneath us and reckoned it was over 30ft long What a whopper Deano and Patrick off Vatersay A few minutes later we hit even bigger waves These monsters were over 30ft and were breakers All of the other waves had been clean topped but breakers are waves with broken white tops These are much harder to paddle in At this point I d never experienced a breaker before and at 30ft this wasn t the best place to start As these were so big we had to turn around so that they were behind us This was and probably still is the scariest thing I ve ever had to do in a sea kayak Using the turning technique we d been practicing we were round in a few seconds However all this meant was that the breakers were now coming from behind We still had to keep the boat in the right direction Any one of these monsters could grab us and flip us over These waves were so big that on several occasions we lost sight of the other boat and on one wave Patrick was convinced the other boat had been flipped A few seconds later they re appeared Safe and sound After a few more of these breakers it was agreed that we should get back around into the

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Sea_Kayaking_2/xsid/65 (2016-02-10)
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  • Sledging Windsurfing Wing Walking Zip Slide Zorb Skatewing Blairgowrie Scotland Earlier this year I bought myself a Skatewing Some of you may ask what is a Skatewing The easiest way to describe it is to tell you that it is like a windsurf sail but for land Some people use it in conjunction with their inline skates but I prefer to use it with my mountainboard Rhona and I had our first go this summer but had to call it a day after the wind took hold of the Skatewing and bounced it off Rhona s head Ouch We hadn t bothered to take any protective gear and Rhona ended up with a huge lump on her forehead From then on helmets have been the order of the day In late August Jo and Nick our friends from Surf Wax came up for a few days As they are the Kite Masters we were very lucky to get a windy afternoon We took some of their kites out to play and thought that this was too good an opportunity to miss to get the Skatewing out The area that we used is a playing field near our house which is regularly mowed for the footballers and has a slight decline with a small incline at the bottom Ideal for our needs Once the wing was assembled I was chosen to be the test pilot and test the power of the wind With helmet on feet strapped into the mountainboard I was ready for action Unfortunately the wind wasn t It was a bit gusty so most of the time was spent waiting to catch the right blast It reminded me of the days spent waiting for the right wave to surf The first couple of runs were relatively slow Rhona

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Skatewing/xsid/46 (2016-02-10)
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  • Windsurfing Wing Walking Zip Slide Zorb Skimboarding Devon England Skimboarding is a simple and inexpensive sport All you need is a skimboard and a flat sandy beach You don t have to be mega fit or have years of experience just about anyone can do this Simply put you throw your skimboard in front of you and then jump onboard and ride it Some people have compared it to beach surfing on a tea tray Skimboards can come in different shapes and sizes but the ones that we have had the most fun with have been circular Our skimboards are about 70cm across 4cm thick and made of wood They are treated with some sort of waterproofing to stop them falling apart once wet I am more into the fun side than the manufacturing so can t tell you exactly what it is We got our skimboard from Surf Wax Once you have got your skimboard you need to find a fairly flat sandy beach The reason for a flat beach is because you only need a couple of centimetres of water and a flat beach means that you will have a larger area to play on than a steep sloping one The larger the area the greater the distance you can travel We normally skim after a days surfing when the tide is going back out As mentioned earlier the idea is to throw the board in front of you and jump onto it while it is still moving It is as simple as that Skimboards are designed to aquaplane across shallow water You throw the board the same way that you would throw a frisby But make sure that you don t throw it too far because you have to catch up with it and jump onboard Once

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Skimboarding/xsid/47 (2016-02-10)
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  • is a great way to enjoy parachuting and free fall without having to go through all the stress and hard work of parachute training I had a go at this in the Summer of 1998 The jump was with the Devon Somerset Parachute School now Skydive UK Ltd located at Dunkeswell Airfield near Honiton On arrival I was introduced to my buddy Dave Mclaughlin Dave was the guy who I would be attached to and had the parachute so I decided the best policy was to be friendly and not upset him I was then kitted out in a one piece jumpsuit helmet and goggles After this Dave took me through the kit that would keep us hooked onto each other It didn t seem like much but he assured me that it would do the trick I thought to myself if it doesn t I shall just have to fly like a penguin We then went through the jump procedures Exiting the aircraft would take place at over 3 000 metres free falling to around 1 700 metres At this point the parachute or the technical term chute would be opened and we would float slowly down to earth And that was that Sounds simple All we needed now was a break in the clouds to jump through When the time came we piled into the plane and headed for the sky The journey to 3 000 metres took around 10 15 minutes and was not the most comfortable flight I have ever taken Because you are attached to your buddy as soon as you enter the plane you have to sit between their legs Not a lot of room Just before we reached the designated height Dave mentioned the somersault What somersault Oh yes he said I forgot

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Skydiving_tandem/xsid/48 (2016-02-10)
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  • Reef We have all heard about the Great Barrier Reef on the Eastern coast of Australia but there are 2 main differences between Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Firstly Ningaloo is a hard coral reef and the Great Barrier is a soft reef This means that Ningaloo is not as brightly coloured as the Barrier but is probably just as impressive Secondly and for us more importantly Ningaloo is located just off shore I have spoken to many people who have been to the Great Barrier Reef and they all tell me that they had to take a boat trip of an hour or more to get to the reef Ningaloo Reef is a short swim from the shore In some places it is only 50 metres from the beach however the best parts are around 400 metres out Ningaloo Kayak Adventures are a small company from Coral Bay who offer guided kayak Cabo Ocean double sit on kayaks trips out to the best parts of the reef to snorkel with turtles reef sharks rays snappers etc We booked our trip for the morning of the 24 th and met up with Graham and Kurt from Ningaloo Kayak Adventures and Mandy and Fiona the mother and cousin of the bride Amy As the wind was fairly strong it was agreed that Graham would team up with Mandy Kurt would team up with Fiona and Rhona and I would work as a team in our kayak As we have done a fair bit of kayaking in the past this trip should be a doddle 15 minutes into the paddle and Rhona and I were knackered It is one thing paddling down a river or across a loch but paddling into a strong head wind with waves crashing over the front of the boat and the tide against us now that is completely different Graham had been trying to help guide us but decided it would probably be quicker if he threw us a line and helped tow us to the spot 5 minutes later we were there We tied the 3 kayaks up to a buoy and entered the water The water was so clear and warm After getting our fins masks and snorkels on we headed off behind Kurt to the first spot As we swam along Kurt would point out things of interest including brightly coloured Tetras shoals of Snappers Trevally Clownfish Parrot Fish Wrasse Puffer Fish white and black tipped reef sharks and the odd Blue Spotted Lagoon Rays going along the sand below us The water was around 8 metres deep but you could see everything Well so I was told afterwards When Kurt would see something he would stop swimming and point to it This was my cue to dive down in the direction he was pointing I would take a breath dive down and then spend the next few seconds thinking What am I looking at There was the odd occasion that I did work

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Snorkeling_Western_Australia/xsid/49 (2016-02-10)
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  • and I spoke to a guy at one of the local ski rental shops about this and he recommended that we should try Cardrona He also suggested that I should speak to the Ski Patrol when I get there and see what they think The great thing about New Zealand is that the people there are really into their sports so getting to and from sports locations is a doddle They had busses that ran from Queenstown straight through to Cardrona On arrival I went straight to the Ski Patrol and explained my situation They suggested that I should wear a vest that they supplied with the words BLIND SKIER on the front and back on top of my jacket They told me that this was more for the benefit of the other skiers around me I must admit I wasn t very keen to do this but thought I would give it a try Once onto the slopes I put my vest on and began to practise my limited skills Because I have done some other board sports ie skateboarding surfing etc it wasn t to hard to learn the basics Once I was comfortable with this I headed off for the ski lift and the big slopes As I stood in the queue I could hear people talking about that poor blind guy This niggled me a bit but I decided to try to ignore it At the top of the lift I stepped off and strapped my feet onto the board Rhona had come with me for my first downhill just to take me through the route As we headed off I could hear more people talking about the vest I was starting to get paranoid Then as I gathered speed and Rhona would shout directions I realised that the people who saw the vest were getting out of my way Fantastic This was better than a white stick in a crowd We picked up speed turning left then right hitting a few bumps but mainly going really well I even managed to control the snowboard Well sort of control it Before I knew it we had zipped down a long straight and had come to the end of the run The adrenaline was buzzing and I was high as a kite What a feeling I got back on the ski lift and headed back up This time I was going to do the run solo These 2 photos were taken near Blairgowrie Perthshire Scotland Rhona is in the red and I am in the blue We are using an old sandboard as we didn t have our own snowboard at that time I had memorised the slope from my first run and felt very confident As I came off the lift I rushed to get started Again I could hear people talking about me but now it didn t matter The vest was a definate becefit for this novice snowboarder I took the first stage at

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Snowboarding/xsid/50 (2016-02-10)
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  • with me in a duck stance this again could cause problems as the skis would want to go in different directions To help me work on sorting this Ueli thought it would be good if we headed out for some basic ski tuition We did this at a beginner s slope at the wonderful town of Grindewald where we were just across the road from the mighty Eiger We started with me on a single set of skis with Ueli instructing me and finished with us two up on the skis we intended to fly with Through this lesson I learnt to understand how to feel what the skis were doing and how to do basic corrections It also built up a good connection between Ueli and I when we went on the skis together I could feel how we were moving the skis and I could hopefully respond in the right way By the end of the day we were coming down the slope at what I felt was great speed Ueli then told me that when we did the flying we would need to take off at 3 times that speed Two up at a beginner s slope in Grindewald The next day the 12th of January the weather looked perfect so we headed on up to the ski resort of Lauchernalp to see if we could fly After 2 or 3 chairlifts and 2 cable car trips we were at our launch point around 3 000 metres high Ueli started by making a small snow platform where we could get into our skis without them sliding off This was at the top of a steep 30m slope that fed into the main ski run He then opened the wing and laid it out in the snow behind the skis I then climbed into the snowboard bindings whilst Ueli started to attach all the relevant bits to my harness Whilst he was doing this I occasionally felt the skis move and I had visions of taking off down the slope with the wing attached to me and Ueli not With this in mind I started to take things very seriously and even made some contingency plans for if this happened Ueli and Deano getting ready to go over the edge Once Ueli had everything connected it was his turn to climb into his bindings behind me As he did this the skis moved again but fortunately not far enough for any of my contingency plans to be brought into action A minute or so later Ueli was all set and we were about to see if this thing was going to work With a couple of small movements of the skis we tipped over the edge of the slope and started downhill As we started to move Ueli reminded me strong legs I leaned forward slightly as I had been told to and kept my feet parallel A second or two after we started moving I felt the wing fully inflate above us and pull us upright A few seconds later we were airborne and I could sit back and enjoy the ride We have lift off I was very surprised how smooth and quick the take off had been I had thought I d have trouble with the speed and lift but not at all It was amazing As we started to climb Ueli asked me if I was OK and if I was ready for some speed riding As soon as I said yes we turned sharply and dropped The ground below was all covered in snow so I had difficulty in telling what we were doing But then black bits rocks and cliffs would appear and we d be flying straight at them At the last minute Ueli would pull us away from the ground and we d head off in another direction Ueli asked me what I could see and I tried to explain about the black bits He told me what they were and then gave me a countdown as we came towards the next cliffs 50 metres 20 metres 10 5 1 We were within 1 metre of the cliff and again Ueli whipped us up and away Ueli and Deano in flight I don t know how long the flight had been but Ueli told me we would be coming in to land soon My mind swapped from the awesome fun I was having to back to business mode Out of all of the preparations we had done the landing was the thing that worried me most We hadn t truly mastered this when hanging in Ueli s garage and I knew that if I got it wrong I could kill us both Ueli told me that we were about to do our final turn and would be dropping in to land in the next few seconds Before the turn he reminded me to bring my knees up straighten up my feet bring the skis closer together point my toes upwards and get ready with the strong legs for the landing With that we did a sharp left turn and seemed to plummet towards the ground I found out later that at that turn we were probably doing in excess of 80kmph With knees still bent feet parallel and toes pointing upwards I felt the tail of the skis touch down A split second later the rest of the ski was flat and I stood up in the strong legs position We slowed down and came to a stop We d done it The skis and snowboard bindings had held together we had done all of our manoeuvres right and we had just become the first people ever to tandem speed ride on one set of skis not to mention that one of the riders was a non skier and blind Coming in to land The flight had gone so well that we packed up our kit and headed straight back

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Speed_Riding_tandem/xsid/97 (2016-02-10)
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  • has come to Scotland Nae Limits Scotland s premier outdoor and extreme sports centre have bought themselves a Sphere and will be offering it to the public from Easter onwards What is a Sphere From the outside it looks like a 4 metre high inflatable ball It is very simillar to a Zorb When I did my Zorbing in New Zealand there was only room inside for one person to be strapped in at a time The Sphere is designed to take 2 This means that not only can you have great fun rolling and bouncing your way down a hill but you can watch the reactions of a friend doing exactly the same The harnesses are set up so that you are facing each other the whole time The Sphere may not be everybody s idea of an extreme sport but it certainly gets my adrenaline pumping I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the test runs at the end of March Nae Limits had got the Sphere but just needed to find the perfect site Dave H and I were lucky enough to be the crash test dummies on site number 4 Site number 4 was located just outside Blairgowrie in Perthshire It was a large field on the side of a hill The Sphere was taken to the top of the hill on a trailer behind Nae Limits new quad bike and Dave and I went up in the back of the Land Rover After all we were the crash test dummies not hill walkers Once at the top of the hill we climbed into this huge PVC bubble Richard the Nae Limits Sphere manager then strapped us in and we were ready to rumble As we started off rolling down the hill I

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Sphere-ing/xsid/51 (2016-02-10)
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