A poly extreme athlete is an extreme athlete who excels in more than one extreme sports. In Point Break, a poly extreme athlete is someone who’s got the chops to attempt the Ozaki 8. Going by that definition, a poly extreme athlete would have BASE jumping, kayaking, skydiving, wing-suits, surfing, snowboarding and rock climbing on his resume.
In addition, a poly extreme athlete would know how to handle himself on a motorbike, seadoo and fight his way through a gang of thugs for initiation purposes – though that’s probably Hollywood over-extending itself and trying to appeal to guys under 30.
Poly extreme athlete is a new term. While there are plenty of extreme athletes who excel in one or (occasionally) two extreme sports, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a surfer who excels at BASE jumping. You won’t find many pro-kayakers shredding the ski slopes at the X Games either, for a simple reason: it takes about 10 years to master an extreme sport.
The Probability of a Poly Extreme Athlete
In short, it’s low. You’ve heard the famous mantra that it takes about 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. While some debate that, it’s a good measure of what kind of time you could expect to become proficient in an extreme sport
10,000 hours is 416.6 days. Or put another way, it’s about 14 months of training, 24/7, with no time for food, sleeping – ANYTHING – to say nothing of a four letter word called ‘work’.
If you trained 20 hours a week – the equivalent of a part-time job – you’d need about 10 years to master that skill. So if you started snowboarding at 15, you’d be at least 25 before you could call yourself a professional. Tack on at least 10 years for your next extreme sport, like rock climbing, and you’d be closer to 40.
Step back and you’ll see the big picture. The Ozaki 8 looks nifty on screen, but it’s simply not possible. Johnny Utah said an extreme athlete could train his entire life just to try one of these fascinating ordeals. He’d be about 100 before having the skills to complete the eight – and that’s assuming he didn’t cap off in the process.
Extreme Sports Cross-Training
Now that we’ve brought you down to Earth a little, let’s clarify that it is possible to train in more than one extreme sports. You’re not going to be a poly extreme athlete of Bodhi or Johnny Utah proportions, but that’s fine.
Some extreme sports actually lend themselves quite well to others. Most board-related extreme sports will help you learn balance and the basic movements to stay upright and move about. They’ll also help you work the core muscles you’ll need for each of these extreme sports. And they’re all a humdinger of a cardio workout.
Combine SURFING with SNOWBOARDING
Think poly extreme athlete and these both come to mind. The good news is surfing and snowboarding complement each other very well. You’ll use many of the same skills needed to catch waves to navigate a ski slope, and of course, you can do one in summer and the other in winter.
You can mix and match board-related extreme sports too – try surfing or snowboarding with wakeboarding, long boarding, or even skateboarding.
If you’re on a board, you can learn to cross train.
Combine Kayaking with Stand Up Paddleboarding
You didn’t see much kayaking in Point Break, but this extreme sports is actually the first ordeal from the Ozaki 8. Yes, Emerging Force is a kayaking challenge (done in the film at Inga Rapids on the Congo River) – something that only four guys have done successfully.
Stand Up Paddling can teach you the basics of paddling. You’ll use the same muscle groups and build your aerobic endurance by combining stand up paddle boarding with kayaking. You’ll also get used to water sports with these two basic extreme sports, and can work your way from stand up paddling to the greater demands of kayaking and other board sports.
Note that swimming is one of the best cross-training exercises you can do for any water sport, be it surfing or kayaking. You’ll work your core, upper body and legs – all of which will be used in the extreme sports we’ve talked about here.
You won’t get very far as a poly extreme athlete without a lot of cardio and some time in the gym to develop balance and upper and lower body strength either. But give it time and stay with it – you’re not going to master The Ozaki 8, but with time and consistency – and a little luck – you may develop the skills of a poly extreme athlete, who can do several board or water sports, and perhaps even have a little fun in the process.