So you like action sports and you love Instagram. Now you wanna know which extreme athletes are the best in the world as of 2019 and who you should follow.
You don’t have to look hard to find them. Extreme athletes love Instagram because it thrives on guys, babes, wicked shots and stunning locations – kinda like you get in some vague concept called ‘extreme sports’. So whether you’re new to this whole arena or just want to know who sits in what pecking order, this are the extreme athletes you want to follow on Instagram.
Jeb Corliss – Poly Extreme Athlete
Arguably the world’s most accomplished poly athlete, Sir Jeb Corliss is one cool customer. You know him best for that crazy wing suit flight through a Chinese mountain in 2013. But he’s also a BASE jumper, rock climber and even a shark diver. It’s pretty telling that the Point Break producers made Corliss their technical advisor for those wicked stunts.
And yes, if you really wanna know, if I were a betting man, I’d say he’d be the one person to go furthest along the Ozaki 8. But we’ve already had that conversation…
Jokke Sommer – Really F**king Extreme Athlete
If Corliss has competition, it’s from this guy. Jokke Sommer is a Norwegian extreme athlete/BASE Jumper/Sky Diver/ WingSuit Flier/Surfer and all-around epic dude.
While cross-over skills between aerial extreme sports are to be expected, it’s pretty unusual for someone to be this good at everything.
Corliss has a pretty resume (and he’s a little crazy), but Sommer has some wicked skills. Wanna see the world’s best extreme athletes? Jokke Sommer is near the top.
Stale Sandbech – Extreme Snowboarder
What is it with Norwegians and extreme sports? Dunno, but extreme athlete Stale Sandbech would eat you for breakfast in a snowboarding slug-fest. The three-time Olympian and X Games winner takes awesome shots of his escapades on the shred slope – likely because his brother is a professional film maker.
Don’t know if he can surf, but Stale Sandbech can shred with the best of’em. Plus, he’s got my favourite name of anyone on this list. Sorry Jeb.
Ocean Ramsey – Shark Diver
Famed shark diver Ocean Ramsey won’t beat Jeb Corliss in a wing-suit video, but she’s got a big ole’ set of cojones. Well, not literally, for obvious reasons, but she’s got plenty of guts to pet a great white shark with no protection. I personally feel that stunt was a little over-the-top, but her heart is definitely in the right place.
She’s trying to change our perception of sharks – great whites among them. Plus, diving with a great white shark is pretty bad-ass, any way you look at it.
Dane Jackson – Extreme Kayaker
Dane Jackson comes from kayaking royalty. His father, Olympic paddler Eric Jackson, founded Jackson Kayak and passed the torch to his son, who ran with it in a big way. Among other things, he’s won the Whitewater Grand Prix three times (2011, 2012, 2014).
He’s also a proud member of what I call the ‘Waterfall Club’ – a group of kayakers like Tyler Bradt and Evan Garcia who, well, drop down waterfalls in their kayaks, like this one at Veracruz, Mexico back in 2015.
Kai Lenny – SUP Paddler/Big Wave Surfer
Kai Lenny is the new face of surfing. Even those that don’t follow extreme sports have likely seen his exploits on YouTube, having won the SUP paddling World Title times by age 26, and this unique ‘hydrofoil surfing’ video in his native Maui.
Still, it’s surfing where Kai really shines. His videos at Pe’Ahi (Jaws) are legendary. He’s got the unique ability to ‘power up’ waves – like he’s skating up its crest – that is truly fun to watch.
Kelly Slater – Instagram Star and Surfing Legend
We can’t talk about extreme athletes without Kelly Slater. The surfing legend really has pretty much done everything in the surfing world, not the least of which owning a record 11 world surfing championships. He was the youngest surfer to win that title, at 20, and the oldest too, age 39.
With 2.4 million Instagram followers and counting, the now 47 year-old legend spends a little less time on his board and more time focussing on environmental causes and his business interests. Granted, he ruffled a few feathers in 2017 when he called for a shark cull at the Reunion Islands – something I don’t agree with because sharks are in the ocean for a reason, and rank much higher in the grand scheme of things than catching a few waves.
Still, Kelly Slater is an all-around good dude, and does more than his share of work for causes including suicide prevention and with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. And getting back to those sharks – he got photo-bombed once by a great white in a rather wicked video which you can watch below. Enjoy!