Why Chase Risk When We Know It Hurts?

For your Sunday relaxation, we bring a little anthology of perspectives on that old and at times annoying question, “why”?

The internet is rife with opinions on “Extreme Sports” and there is no shortage of responses to this question.  While likely more nuanced, ask the question among your friends and you’re bound to find just as many opinions among your peers.  Why do we do what we do?  “Because I want to live”, “Because it’s there”… The same old one-liners feel tired and overused, not to mention overly lofty responses to what could be argued as highly selfish endeavors.

Some of us may be happy to repeat cliche phrases and never think about it for ourselves.  That’s well and fine.  However, some are perhaps more interested in asking the timeless question, yet with fresh eyes examining our unique experiences and motivations.

Is it peer recognition, avoiding inner demons, pure physical enjoyment, healing, addiction to risk… The list is endless and hopelessly interconnected.  Perhaps you really do engage with your chosen sport purely because “It’s there” or perhaps you’re actively looking closer within.  Whatever the result, below are a few different perspectives on why and how we do what we do.

article continues below


Andy Irons

About his motivation and surfing career.



Thoughts on “Thrill Seeking”


Alex Honnold

How he free soloed El Cap


Isaac Levinson

Why he paddled a 90 footer


William Shatner

And then there’s this little gem