What is it about participating in unique action sports festivals that have you combining the power of nature with the strength of your own body to do? When muscle replaces motor, and you’re forced to rely on the elements to move forward.
Maybe we love it because these sports demand an acute sense of awareness, requiring you to notice if the landscape or weather changes, so that you can adapt quickly. Human powered action sports connect us to nature, humble us, release a healthy dose of adrenaline, and drive us to progress.
Whether you’re a kitesurfer who sails over the water using the power of the wind, a surfer who captures the momentum of the sea, a skier who traverses mountains using gravity as the driving force, or any other type of athlete who relies on manpower as an essential aspect of your sport, there’s an event where you’ll fit right in.
Here are the best nature and human-powered sports to try, and featured events around the globe for you to attend.
August 26-28, 2016, Kovalam Village, Chennai, India
Experience three days of surf competitions, yoga, beach games, art workshops, and live music all set in beautiful Chennai, India. Covelong Point claims to be the first surfing village in India, where over a hundred surfers from all over India come to compete at the point. Right now, the festival still holds a grassroots, unique vibe that risks being muted once it picks up more media attention in the next few years.
August 10-14, 2016, Cornwall, UK
Come for a day, or camp for the entire festival. The five-day Boardmasters long event features surfing, skateboarding, and BMX competitions along with live music, surf lessons, and a yoga tent. There are a variety of camping choices from BYO tent sites to more upscale, glamping options.
December 10-17, 2016, Le Deux Alps, France
For snowboarders and skiers with a penchant for the wilderness and music, Rise Festival is a week-long event that offers off-piste activities like snowshoeing, outdoor cook-outs, yoga, and friendly competitions. For light-hearted fun, there’s also a vintage snow gear rental booth and a disco ice skating rink. Expect all of this with over 220km of pistes on Europe’s largest skiable glacier.
November 25-27, 2016, Snowy Mountains, NSW, Australia
For mountain bike athletes, it doesn’t get any better than competing for a $10,000 purse prize in the Snowy Mountains. Riders can compete at five different courses, testing everything from endurance to agility to speed over the course of three days. One stage even includes a chair-lift ride to the starting line, to prepare you for a quick 6kms descent.
September 22-25, 2016 Castle Rocks State Park, Idaho, USA
For four days, climbers will enjoy camping in the Castle Rocks State Park climbing granite domes and exploring Idaho wilderness. Tickets are all-inclusive, and come with food, drink, live music, camping fees, and access to training workshops. This festival is about celebration and comradery, where you’re sure to meet likeminded climbers obsessed with the outdoors.
March 11-13, 2017, Derby, Tasmania, Australia
No matter your running distance preference, you’re sure to love spending three days at Tassie Trail Fest, a festival based around running through the fern forests of Tasmania. It’s a mix-and-match event where you can run a single race, or enter them all if your legs desire.
August 25-28, 2016, Putnitz an der See, Germany
In a place where BMX, skateboarding, stand-up paddling, longboarding, skimboarding, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and more sports are on the event agenda, you’re sure to meet fellow athletes who are addicted to adrenaline. This event is completely devoted to play, which means that activities like bouncy castles, ball pits, live music, giant soap bubbles, and some strange thing called blubbing will also be on the menu of things to do.
The downside? Four days is probably not long enough to participate in everything that’s offered, but it never hurts to try.
Rad's top 10 action sports, adventure events and music festivals in 2019