Women in Extreme Sports

10 May
Mountaineers. Photo courtesy of ashokboghani

Mountaineers. Photo courtesy of ashokboghani

Extreme sports have been largely dominated by men in the past. But as more and more women creep up the rankings, with some even competing against the guys,  are the ladies finally being taken seriously in the world of motors, heights and dare devilish antics?

As an avid fan of all things snow sports, I have attempted to encourage other girls to join me on the slopes, to feel the adrenaline rush I feel when I race to the bottom of the Alps on my board. So what it takes for a woman to take up an extreme sport?  It’s true, men are much stronger physically, and maybe have a higher pain-threshold. But women are particularly headstrong with many already proving this in the water, on the slopes or even in the air. So can we persuade more women to get involved with extreme sports?

An extreme sport is one seen to have a high level of danger, injury or even death. They usually involve specialised equipment and require high levels of physical activity. The term ‘extreme sport’ became more popular in the 1990s after marketing companies used the term during the X Games in 1995.

Some extreme sports can be found below:


Surfing in Spain. Photo Courtesy of Chausinho

Surfing in Spain. Photo Courtesy of Chausinho




Scuba Diving





Cave Diving

Stand up Paddle Surfing

Motorsports/ Biking

Race of Champions. Photo Courtesy of Cmonville

Race of Champions. Photo Courtesy of Cmonville




Kart racing

Rally driving

Snowmobile racing

Powerboat racing

Freestyle Scootering

Mountain sports

Mountain boarding. Photo coutesy of SmithGreg

Mountain boarding. Photo coutesy of SmithGreg

Mountain biking

Mountain boarding



Rock Climbing

Ice Climbing



Extreme Ironing






Airborne sports

Skydivers. Photo Courtesy of Bykergrl

Skydivers. Photo Courtesy of Bykergrl

BASE Jumping

Sky Diving


Hang Gliding


Wingsuit Flying

Seeking new adventures is fundamental human nature – we thrive off new experiences and many of us crave the adrenaline rush. Research shows the brain releases a substance called dopamine, giving the sensation all extremists want. In terms of benefits, extreme sports carry quite a few. They can improve confidence, focus and concentration as well as helping you become more driven, smart and precise. Decision-making is also a key aspect of ANY sport, but when it comes to an extreme sport, where the chance of injury, or even death, is a possibility the decision-making process doesn’t come lightly.

So where can you do extreme sports close by, and for a reasonable price?

Leeds has some of the most exciting venues to do extreme sports in the country. Xscape is only 20 minutes outside of Leeds city centre and provides you with an indoor real snow slope, BMXing, skateboarding, high ropes, surfing and rock climbing. The Works also offers cheap sessions for skateboarding and BMXing at an indoor centre for those rainy British days if the park is a ‘no go’.

Furthermore, only 10 minutes out of the city centre is The Leeds Wall, an indoor rock climbing centre with coaches to assist you. At only £2.50 for students on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, there aren’t many excuses to not have a go. But for the women more interested in motorsports, Chequered Flag Karting is only a short drive out of town. With all these sports available within a short drive of the city centre, there aren’t many reasons why the women can’t get training and join the men at the top.

Which ladies have already given it a go and are now competing?

17-year-old Katie Summerhayes, from Sheffield, is a professional freestyle skier and having already competed in the World Championships, the X Games, the Youth Olympics and the Junior World Championships, she is now heading to Sochi in February 2014 for the Winter Olympics.

She is currently ranked number one in England and eighth in the world and after becoming the first ever female to land a switch 1260 earlier this year, Katie’s hopes are set high for next year’s Olympic Games.

The teenager scooped fourth place in the X Games and World Championships this year after time off for a serious knee injury during 2012.

Katie says she always knew she wanted to be a professional skier. She said: “I first started skiing at Sheffield Ski Village when I was 6 years old and it just carried on as a hobby during school. I started skiing and training even more and  I started competing in freestyle when I was 9.”

Katie added she would encourage more women to take part in extreme sports. She said: “Everyday you are facing a new fear and when you get over something it feels really good.”

“I think freestyle skiing is so male dominated because girls are scared to try it. When they first go into a park and just see mainly guys hitting the jumps then they can feel quite intimated.

“Girl’s bodies aren’t build the same as men’s aswell. But more and more girls are now getting involved which is so good to see.

Katie also took part in a women-only event in March called Nine Queens. She said: “There were two new tricks thrown down that have never been landed in competition before. There were also girls landing tricks for the first time and just to get a chance to be at an event like that was the best part of the season for me.

Below is Katie’s entry video for this year’s Nine Queens:

The world of extreme sports may seem very male-dominated at first glance. But with women, like Katie, getting involved and so many venues close by to try out new activities, I would like to see more women putting men to the test in this area of sport.


Moto GP: Round 3 – Jerez

8 May

On Sunday, the Moto GP took place in Jerez, Spain, Pedrosa took the crown for the first time this season but the real drama unfolded between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez on the final corner of the final lap: Lorenzo’s Corner

Marc Marquez took a risky move in Jerez. Photo courtesy of DaveWilsonPhotography

Marc Marquez took a risky move in Jerez. Photo courtesy of DaveWilsonPhotography


Marquez and Lorenzo battled it out for second position throughout the last two laps but Marquez managed to squeeze past the current champion by taking him on the inside of the last corner. The video below shows the takeover.


As you can see, the daredevil rookie crashed with Lorenzo, but both managed to maintain their balance and cross the line. But who is to blame?

As Marquez tried to talk to Lorenzo after the race, he simply shook his head and wagged his finger, clearly angered by the aggressive passing…. but did Lorenzo take the corner too wide? Earlier this week, that exact corner was named after Lorenzo. Marquez, who was sanctioned in Moto 2 for his aggressive riding, apologised for the move.

Valentino Rossi took fourth position after a previous battle against Marquez and British rider, Cal Crutchlow took fifth. The rookie, Marquez, now leads the championship.

Top 7 fish and chips in Leeds

23 Apr
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of FreefotoUK

Fish and chips: the nations favourite, the hearty meal with plenty of flavour, calories and most of all, batter. Being from Grimsby, I am a fish and chip fanatic, so coming to Leeds and sourcing out the top dishes would be difficult. I expected the worst: greasy chips, oily fish and soggy batter. But to my surprise, I found nothing of the sort, maybe even a couple of rivals for the best in Grimsby. Below you can find my version of the top seven fish and chip restaurants/takeaways in the city …


Click to ENLARGE



Named by many as the best fish and chips in Leeds, Graveleys offers delicous, plentiful portions. The smell of crispy batter and fresh-from-the-fryer chips lingers outside, teasing the queuing customers. With fish and chips for £4.65 and three flavours of curry sauce on offer, the choice is a difficult one. One suggested improvement would be a seating area: fish and chips are always best straight from the fryer. The couple running Graveley’s have done so for over 50 years and travel over 240 miles from Northampton every week to serve their customers on a Saturday morning. Their dedication and love for the restaurant is reflected in the quality of their food. True fellow fish and chip lovers.

George Street
0113 243 5126


Nash’s Fish n Chips has a warm and welcoming atmosphere as you enter the restaurant. The mix of historical and modern decor is appealing and dining in is a pleasant experience. It’s history adds to the authenticity of the restaurant and its low prices (£4.30 for a good sized portion) make it ever-so-more inviting. Grandma Nash opened her first restaurant in the 1920s and it has been a family run business ever since.With celebrity signatures on the walls, tudor-style decor and not forgetting the tasty fish and chips on offer, it’s not one to miss out. Nash’s has my Grimsby approval.
Nash’s Fish n Chips
Merrion Street
0113 285 5960
A food van? A beach hut? A fish and chip takeaway? Yes, yes and yes. This quirky, transportable fish and chip takeaway is located on the pedestrianised Commericial Street. Right outside the new Trinity shopping centre and plonked right in the heart of Leeds, this van sells one of the best fish and chips in the city in my opinion. Although it isn’t accompanied by a glamorous restaurant or a warm seating area, the food is delicious.The short, but attractive menu offers you haddock and chips, griddled mackerel baps, calamari, fishcakes and more. The choice of batter is also appealing with the option of lemon, lime and chilli batter. I wasn’t quite surrounded by blue waters and warm beaches whilst tucking into fish and chips, instead I was perched on a concrete bench, surrounded by WH Smiths and Barratts Shoes. But munching on my Fish& food seemed just as special.

Commercial Street
07799 063841


4Now I don’t mean to cheat and take you too far out of the city centre but this gem couldn’t be left out. Only 2 miles from the centre of Leeds, this combined reastaurant/takeaway offers delicious fish for a great price. My friends and I took a trip there at the end of last year for a christmas meal and the service and quality of the food was fantastic, although a little a pricey. The converted cottage has a warming feel to it, with a beautifully well-kept front garden, you could be mistaken for going to Granny’s for tea.
Brett’s Fish Restaurant
12-14 North Lane


5Crown Fisheries is perfect for that late evening, cheap and easy dinner. The takeaway, which opens until 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights, offers everything from your small, basic fish and chips for a mere £3.05, to battered Mars Bars – the perfect pudding. They also offer a variety of Meal Deals which accompany your meal with bread and butter, a can of pop or a cup of tea/coffee for prices from £3.45. The family-owned business, which has been running for three generations, offers top of the range fish and chips in a true Yorkshire style – fresh, crispy and calorific.  Crown Fisheries
Call Lane
0113 245 4851
6 Cheap and cheerful this one. At a mere £3.90 for such quality fish and chips, complaining would be a sin. Ooh La Laa is located in the heart of the city and the modern decor and old stone archway give the restaurant a warm atmosphere upon arrival. The staff were very welcoming and always at your service with smiles across their faces. The menu is of a wide variety inlcuding burgers, kebabs, sandwiches and breakfasts – suitable for everyone all day.
Ooh La Laa
Bishopgate Street

ooh la laa

7Royal Park Fisheries is located just down the road from the Royal Park pub, tucked back next to a grocery store. Although its scallops and fish are good, their chicken dishes go down a treat. They also sell a variety of burgers and pies. Being a takeaway, the waiting area was surprisingly pleasant. Although nowhere to sit, there is a TV and various magazines to flick through – all adding to the overall experience. The fish and chips are of a reasonably good quality and the prices reflect this. The menu is very cheap. There is a free delivery service for those craving the British dish but can’t really be bothered to wrap up in this chilly weather. A good service and a cheap alternative. Royal Park Fisheries
 Royal Park Road
LS6 1AFroyal fisheries

Marquez makes history.

22 Apr
Marquez becomes youngest rider to win GP. Photo courtesy of JaredEarle

Marquez becomes youngest rider to win GP. Photo courtesy of JaredEarle

Spanish rookie, Marc Marquez, made history last night in Austin at the Grand Prix of the Americas after he became the youngest EVER Moto GP rider to win a race.

Aged only 20 years and 56 days old (not even legally allowed to have a celebratory drink in Texas), Marquez took the world record. It was previously held by American -born Freddie Spencer, who was 20 years and 196 days old when he won in the Belgian GP in 1982.

The Spaniard took to the top step of the podium with a gleaming smile having defeated his team mate, Dani Pedrosa. He overtook Pedrosa with nine laps to go after Marquez started on pole, but dropped back to second.

This has put Marquez at the top of the championship table after just two races.

Last year’s champion, Lorenzo had a disappointing finish in third.

The Bali plane crash: FAQs

16 Apr

On Saturday a plane crashed off the shore of Bali. Below are the answers to those commonly-asked questions. 

What happened in Bali?
On Saturday 13 April 2013 a Lion Air passenger aircraft crashed into what was described by the pilot as a ‘wall of water’ before slowing sinking into the sea just 150ft from its destination, Denpasar Airport runway.  Officials have confirmed the Boeing 737-800 overshot the runway when arriving in Denpasar from Bandung and plunged into the sea. Water then started coming into the aircraft. It eventually snapped in two, landed in shallow water and submerged the fuselage. They have recovered the data recorder but are now looking for the voice recorder in the cockpit. There were 108 people on board including one baby, and five children: nobody was killed, however 45 were injured and four were admitted to hospital with a broken leg and some head injuries. Lifejackets were dispensed but a local surfer, Ben Panangian, on the nearby beach swam out to the plane wreckage to help non-swimmers get to shore safely. The National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) are now investigating the wreckage and both the pilot and co-pilot have passed the inital drugs testing. They are now trying to recover the aircraft safely without causing damage to the coral reef in currently balances on.

What caused the plane to crash?

Government Officials believe a freak rainstorm may have caused the crash.  Weather bulletins were released on Saturday reporting storm clouds 1700ft. Torrential rain hit the windscreen and engulfed the plane, causing the co-pilot to lose vision. The pilot then tried to navigate the plane but missed the runway, and believed the wind dragged the plan down. The automatic response in this situation is to circle the runway again until it is safe to land the plane.

What is Lion Air?

Lion Air is a budget airline in Indonesia – the country’s first private airline. It was founded in 1999 by multi-millionnaire brothers Kusnan and Rusdi Kirana. They began operating in 2000  with a single aircraft but this rapidly expanded to 36 locations and they now fly over 450 planes. They now fly to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Two years ago they signed a deal with Boeing for 230 planes and more recently, they signed a $24 billion deal with Airbus for 234 passenger jets.

Has this happened to the airline before?

Yes. Lion Air have had seven incidents since they began back in 2000. In 2004, Lion Air Flight 538, a passenger flight from Jakarta to Surabaya missed the runway on the stop off in Indonesia. The wet weather conditions were blamed as the cause of the accident which resulted in 25 fatalities including the Captain, a flight attendant and 23 passengers. Furthermore, in 2010 a Lion Air Flight 712 overran the runway in Pontianak and landed on its belly, with damage to the nose. All passengers and crew were evacuated by emergency slides and some injuries were reported.

How common are plane incidents?

Statistics show that the likelihood of being killed on a single airline flight is 1 in 29.4 million: you are more likely to be struck by lightening. The number of fatalities per million flying hours in 12.25. So the chances are low. However, your survival rate on the fatal plane crash is 24%. Furthermore, more people have died in the US in the last six months in a car crash than people have on planes in 100 years. If any of those statistics have worried future flyers, the US Bureau Of Transportation Statistics show that fatalities per million miles travelled in a car are 9.3, trains are 5 and commerical flights are 1.22, making flights 8 times safer than driving and twice as safe as the train.

Moto GP- The first race of 2013

8 Apr

Moto GP 2013 season kick started last night in Qatar with the first race of the season.

Jorge Lorenzo showed us all he is still on top form. The defending champion won the opening race on the floodlit track last night: his 24th victory. He led from pole position and secured a solid gap between first and second. Lorenzo also mentioned the victory would be a big plus for the Factory Yamaha Team after his team mate, Valentino Rossi, took second.

The battle for second became the most exhilarating part of the race as Rossi battled from fifth, pushing past Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow before alternating through the final four laps with one of his biggest fans, and now rival: Marc Marquez. The rookie brought out the best in Rossi, pushing the Italian superstar and putting him back on the real race scene with the big boys.

Rossi’s past two years have seen less impressive results on a Ducati, but now he’s back on the Yamaha and is finally battling his way to the top of the podium, instead of settling for an average finish. An early mistake in the race dropped Rossi back to seventh, but he slowly regained his fifth position. With 10 laps to go, the Italian made his way up to the podium, finishing a tyre length ahead of Marquez. A second place result last night has upped his team and his fans’ morale for the entire season and Rossi has proven he isn’t ready to change careers any time soon.

Marquez, one of the most exciting riders to ever come up to Moto GP, finished third and his wide smile during interviews showed just how much it meant to him. The Spaniard has previously explained how much he is in awe Rossi, with posters of the rider plastering Marquez’s walls – now he is battling against his hero in the biggest event of his racing career.

British star and Tech 3 Yamaha rider, Bradley Smith had a disappointing Moto GP debut, crashing on lap five of the 22-lap race.

Below are interviews with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo prior to the race in Qatar:

Moto GP – Rossi is back on top.

25 Mar

Valentino Rossi led the way in testing in Jerez yesterday, with timings around 1:35:525. The Doctor seemed to be back on track for a good start to the season having returned to his team in the Yamaha garage.

Will the Doctor be back on form now he is back with Yamaha? Photo Courtesy of Willtron

Will the Doctor be back on form now he is back with Yamaha? Photo Courtesy of Willtron

The Italian rider was ecstatic with his testing times, followed closely by Spanish rival, Jorge Lorenzo. However the British superstar rider, Cal Crutchlow wasn’t far behind the top guys with times around 1:35:574 – and today the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider topped the tables in the final day of testing – a positive pre-season ride.

The weather in Spain remains the top talking point this week though after more rainfall. Because today marks the end of this season’s testing ahead of the season, the teams and riders have been disheartened by the bad weather conditions.

The action starts Thursday 4 April in Qatar. Watch this space for details.

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