Hybrid Sports for Your International Adventure Travel
Hybrid sports to make your vacation an adventure. First up: volcano boarding!
Volcano hiking + snowboarding = Volcano boarding
In 2005, Australian Darryn Webb scaled Nicaragua’s active Cerro Negro volcano and then had the brilliant idea to slide down. After testing out mattresses, refrigerator doors, and tabletops, he came up with a formica-reinforced plywood toboggan. Riders either sit or stand, reaching speeds as fast as 60 mph as they descend a 40-degree slope. Black sand and gravel fly in your face, but the views of the water and other nearby volcanoes help you ignore the whooshing detritus.
Try it out: Green Pathways offers custom excursions to the volcano, such as a six-day trip (from $700) that includes surf camp and a helicopter ride to Cerro Negro. A private volcano-boarding tour, also from Green Pathways ($45), comes with a bilingual guide and a cooler of drinks and snacks. greenpathways.com
Sleep it off: In nearby León, a 17th century convent-turned-hotel, El Convento, retains its colonial vibe and stunning décor. elconventonicaragua.com; from $92 per night, including breakfast
Chess + boxing = Chessboxing
In 1978, South London teenagers James and Stewart Robinson opened the first chessboxing club, but the sport all but disappeared until the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan recorded Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ in 1993. The song helped revive the hobby, which remains fringe because, well, it’s boxing … plus chess. Competitors play six rounds of the board game for four minutes each, boxing for three minutes between each set.
Try it out: London Chessboxing hosts 90-minute classes ($8) every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Beginners train with punching bags and pads to prepare for fight nights that occur a few times a year. londonchessboxing.com
Sleep it off: The Mondrian London at Sea Containers features nautical-inspired suites, some with balconies on the Thames. morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-london; from $269 per night
Hoverboarding + water skiing = Flyboarding
French jet ski champion Franky Zapata unleashed the flyboard—a water-propelled jetpack—onto the Iron Man-loving population in the summer of 2011. The device, bolted onto the motor of a jet ski, routes a pressurized stream through a long hose that connects to a pair of boots and handheld stabilizers. The gear sends you flying 30 feet in the air or flings you headfirst through the waves, dolphin-style. Avoid injury by staying in water that’s at least 13 feet deep.
Try it out: Better yet, watch. The fourth annual Flyboard World Cup will be held on Dec. 2-4 in Dubai. flyboardmagazine.com/2014-flyboard-world-cup
Sleep it off: The Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, a striking wavelike structure, fronts the Arabian Gulf. You can arrange for an $82 flyboarding lesson through the hotel’s concierge. jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/jumeirah-beach-hotel/; from $300 per night
Ice skating + ski cross = Ice cross downhill
Two Austrians on ice skates accidentally hurtled down a frozen, downhill rollerblading course in 2000 and actually (a) lived and (b) had fun. A year later, the energy-drink-heads at Red Bull held the chaotic sport’s first tournament. In the nonamateur version, competitors speed-skate downhill on a walled track with sharp turns and high vertical drops to a finish line 1,050 feet away.
Try it out: Finland’s Serena Waterpark & Ski Resort hosts ice cross downhill competitions on a permanent outdoor track. The first section is for advanced skaters; the end is reserved for novices. serena.fi; $24 per hour for slope access
Sleep it off: A sauna-equipped cabin at the resort is ideal for relaxing your tired muscles. serena.fi/en/ski/plan-your-visit/accommodation/serena-villas/; from $375 per night for an eight-person cabin
Volleyball + soccer = Footvolley
Although not exactly new, this strange, politically motivated game gained attention during World Cup fever last fall. It was created in 1965 on Rio’s Copacabana Beach as a way for soccer players to practice without violating a formal soccer ban in the country. The rules are similar to those of beach volleyball, except the two teams of two use their feet—not their hands—to spike a soccer ball.
Try it out: Free! Simply join (or ogle) the scores of friendly players on Brazilian beaches.
Sleep it off: The iconic Belmond Copacabana Palace, built 91 years ago, faces a prime portion of the beach. Its top-notch spa treatments incorporate Brazilian fruits and Amazonian clay. belmond.com/copacabana-palace-rio-de-janeiro/; from $465 per night, including breakfast
Water skiing + snorkeling = Subwing
Earlier this decade, Norwegian teen Simon Sivertsen tied a piece of driftwood to a water-skiing rope and discovered he was able to spin, turn, and dive while being towed underwater. After his idea went viral, he invented a 4-foot carbon-fiber fin with two “wings” that help you twist and turn. Attach it to a speedboat, take a deep breath, and slice through the surf like a stingray. It’s easy to surface whenever you need air.
Try it out: The first official subwing center opened this summer at Peligoni Club on the Greek island of Zakynthos. The sport’s surprisingly simple; you won’t need lessons. peligoni.com/partners/subwing-2; $240 for a week pass, including gear, food, and a rental car
Sleep it off: Book a villa at the beachfront Porto del Mar resort. Its affordable restaurant includes produce grown on the property and freshly caught fish. portadelmar.com; from $647 per week