Extreme Sports Books
April 13, 2010 9:49 PM   Subscribe

Any good books about extreme sports?

I would like to read some accurate fiction or narrative non-fiction about an extreme sport pioneer or group of people that are doing something totally crazy right now.

Skiing and surfing would be okay, but even newer and stranger sports would be preferred.

Biographies would be cool, Tour de Force even better.

No real reason behind this request, just trying to get excited for summer!
posted by alextprice to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River

It's about a 2002 kayaking expedition down a seriously bad-ass piece of river that runs off of the Himalayas. Before the 2002 expedition, no one had ever run that piece of river before.
posted by colfax at 10:14 PM on April 13, 2010

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer comes to mind.

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston is awesome--the book many people I know took down the Grand Canyon as their evening reading. She writes about rafting, hunting, all sorts of stuff.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:20 PM on April 13, 2010

Fall of The Phantom Lord - a biography of a very 'out there' climber, even by other climber's standards. I don't know that 'sports' get much more 'extreme' than what he was up to before his death.
posted by tim_in_oz at 11:17 PM on April 13, 2010

Dean Karnazes is a rather poor writer but I still found his books about ultra-distance running (running longer distances than marathons) compelling. In one of his books he describes running 200+ miles straight. Ultramarathon Man and 50/50. Not a book, but if you want to read about a phenomenal ultrarunner, check out Anton Krupicka's blog at Riding the Wind.

I like Daniel Duane's writing. His work of fiction, Lighting Out, is great. If I remember right it talks about some surfing and climbing. Also, Caught Inside (surfing) and El Cap (climbing).

I think Pat Ament is good. I suspect his book about Royal Robbins (pioneer Big Wall climber) would be great. Royal Robbins

I'll try to think of some more.
posted by fieldtrip at 12:14 AM on April 14, 2010

Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void"
Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run"
- both of these are great books in their own right.
posted by rongorongo at 1:48 AM on April 14, 2010

I was just about to post Hell or High Water, but will certainly second or third it. About as extreme as I get is walking my dog, but damnation that is a really good book. You just alternate between "this is cool" to "these guys are fuckin nuts". I highly recommend it. It's a trip you will never forget, and Im guessing you'll get alll Googley trying to see if these guys are still alive, or what kind of mischief theyre into now.
posted by timsteil at 3:42 AM on April 14, 2010

For whitewater kayaking, check out Doug Ammons. He writes in the short story / essay format, so may not be what you're looking for, but he's a very accomplished kayaker who actually thinks about his sport. One of my favorites is Why I paddle Class 5, which examines the role of danger in kayaking.

I would love to piggy-back on this question and beg for more suggestions for great whitewater kayaking books - it seems to me that most of the expeditions are chronicled in videos, which are called "kayak porn" for a reason, and don't go much deeper than "look at the cool shit we do"
posted by Metasyntactic at 9:32 AM on April 14, 2010

Response by poster: thanks for all the great responses guys! I think I am going to try and read as many of these as I can eventually, but the one I chose for now is Hell or High Water. It just looked way too bad ass to pass up.
posted by alextprice at 9:41 PM on April 15, 2010

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