5 Action Sports You Should Try On Your Gap Year

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There are a lot of reasons for heading out on a gap year, but a couple of things rings true for most people that give it a shot.

Most travellers will generally be in denial that the real world – the one with work and bills and laundry – actually exists, for example, and they’re normally always keen to make as much of their time on the road as they possible can.

That’s where the action sports come in. Whether it’s a mark on the bucket list, a bid to impress a member of the opposite sex or just giving something a shot that you can’t do in Britain, a gap year is the perfect time to take on a new challenge.

Of course, just because you give it a go doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it, but here are a few sports you should definitely try while you’re travelling the world:

1. Surfing

When most people think of a gap year they think sun-soaked beaches, bikinis, board shorts and beautiful waves.

If you’re picturing that image right now, you can probably see some surfers in the background as well. It’s the go-to sport when it comes to sexy weather and exotic sand.

Plenty of Brits give surfing a try when they’re out on their holidays, but the only thing is, it’s a hell of a lot harder than it actually looks.

When you finally catch a wave, make sure you brace yourself… You’re probably about to face plant

You might have visions of catching the perfect wave before walking back to the beach in beautiful slow-motion, but the reality is that you’ll probably spend most of your time trying not to drown. Surfing is just not built into the British blood.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a go of course. In fact, you pretty much have to – it’s a right of passage when you land on sunny shores. Just be prepared to look like a bit of a tool!

REMEMBER: When you finally catch a wave, and you feel like you’re on top of the world, make sure you brace yourself. You’re probably about to face plant.

2. Skydiving

There are certain things that end up on most people’s bucket-lists and skydiving is definitely one of them. Luckily, there’s no better time to cross this one off than when you’re living it up on a gap year.

When you go for your very first skydive though, you’ll probably be so terrified of your imminent death that you’ll forget how cold it’s going to be up there.

You lose a bit of heat for every few hundred ft you climb, so when you’re off for a tandem skydive from 10,000ft – with the extra wind factored in as well – it’s something you’re going to notice.

It’s for this reason that skydiving in Britain feels a lot like being slapped with a bag of ice, and it’s for that reason that skydiving on your gap year is a great idea.

Get over your fear, let the instructor take control, enjoy the views and embrace the experience. It’s definitely one hell of a ride.

REMEMBER: Before you boast to your mates that you weren’t scared before you jumped, make sure you edit the camera footage so you can’t hear your screaming.

3. Freediving

Photo courtesy of Go Freediving UK

So, what exactly is freediving? Well, it’s just like every other form of diving, except you don’t get any snorkels or oxygen tanks to help you breathe.

“But that sounds absolutely awful,” I hear you say. “Why would I possibly not want to be able to breathe.” Well, for obvious reasons, really. It’ll make you look cool.

That’s right, freediving is much more awesome than most other forms of diving. When people hear ‘freediving’ they think danger, strength and spontaneity.

If nothing else, you’ll get a good story from that time a life guard had to resuscitate you…

Even if you fail dramatically, give up ten minutes in and get yourself a snorkel, when that dreamy girl/guy at the bar asks what you were doing earlier in the day, you can tell them you went freediving and earn immediate respect.

Plus, if nothing else, you’ll get a good story from that time a life guard had to resuscitate you and you woke up with a starfish on your face.

REMEMBER: No matter how encapsulating the fish are, you do still have to come up for air. The fish will still be there in a couple of minutes, you’re oxygen supply will not.

4. Cliff Diving

So we’ve just chalked off jumping from heights and getting risky with the water. Now it’s time to combine the two!

What could possibly go wrong here then? Well, in a nutshell, a lot of things could go very, very wrong. Make sure there are no giant rocks below for a start, make sure you’re not going to hit the cliff face, and try not to bellyflop. That shit hurts.

All in all though, this is great fun, and it’s prime time for a good holiday snap as well. Get a mate on hand nearby and you’ll not only have a new Facebook profile picture, you’re Instagram will be fuelled for a month.

REMEMBER: If in doubt, cannonball. It’s always a crowd pleaser.

5. Kayaking

Kayaking is a good time for anyone who enjoys their life, and most people on a gap year like to make the most of things, so this is just simple maths really.

You don’t have to have much prior experience to paddle a kayak around for a bit, but make sure you don’t get caught against the tide or you’ll end up spending a night in that small little seat while the coast guard hunt your scent.

If you don’t want to be capsized by your mates, go on the offensive. Send them under water first…

If you go kayaking with a few mates, it’ll probably just end up in a battle to see who can capsize who first, so learn how to get out your kayak when it’s upside down and your inside it, and get ready to repeat the process a fair few times.

REMEMBER: If you don’t want to be capsized by your friends, go on the offensive early on. Send them under water first.

The Inbetweeners 2 Is Out on DVD on December 1st

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