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Most Common Adventure Sport Fears and How to Overcome Them

Embarking on an adventure sport can feel like being the lead character in an action film, minus the dire need to save the world, of course. But just like in those films, sometimes our fears can be our own worst villains. The good news is, we can overcome these fears with the right knowledge, training, and a sprinkle of humour, allowing us to truly enjoy the thrills of adventure sports, from scuba diving to mountain biking. Have the fun is about getting some adrenaline pumping, but there are ways to do it to minimise the extreme fear which becomes unpleasant.

1. How Many People are Scared of the Deep: Scuba Diving?

About 12.5% of the population have claustrophobia, one of the most common reasons people avoid learning to scuba dive. While not being technically a confined space, the thought of being underwater can triggure the fear in many.

A whole new realm literally opens up to you when you get into scuba diving. So how do you overcome these fears? As always, knowledge is power. Invest in a solid training course (PADI or SSI) ensures you’re well-prepared. Both these courses start in a swimming pool so you can just shoot to the surface if you don’t like it.

Did you know that the fear of underwater creatures is called: Megalohydrothalassophobia? Try saying that underwater. This fear can be overcome by gradually building up your exposure to different types of animals underwater. It helps to scuba in super clear water to get you comfortable to your surroundings. Check out our full guide here.

Is scuba diving safe or scary?

2. How many people are scared of heights: Paragliding and Skydiving?

About 3% to 6% of people have acrophobia. When you’re soaring like a bird while paragliding or freefalling in a skydiving jump, fear of heights can really kill your buzz. Combat acrophobia by gradual exposure.

Start with low heights and progressively scale up. Fun fact, your brain can’t perceive height above 1,000 feet, meaning whether it’s 15,000 feet or 1,500 feet, it’s all the same to your noggin!

Being scared of heights is natural, built-in and instinctive. It is key to trust your equipment, instructor and the saftey standards of the country you are in. Make sure that these are all up to scratch to help you rationalise the fear.

Is skydiving safe or scary?

3. Fear of Speed: Mountain Biking

Did you know that tachophobia is the irrational fear of speed? Mountain biking is often percieved to be about speed, but there are some amazing routes where speed is not the emphasis. It is much more about the technical challenge. If speed isn’t your thing then don’t be put off. Find your sweet spot of technical biking, beatuiful scenery and exploration rather than focusing on the downhill runs.

You can also get a good coach to help you mastering your bike’s brakes and gear shifting to give you confidence and control. And remember, no one’s chasing you (unless you’ve angered a local squirrel).

Is mountain biking safe or scary?

4. Fear of Tipping Over: Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Being ‘turtled’ in a kayak or wobbling off a paddleboard might not be your idea of fun. Good news! Kayaks are more stable than you think, and stand up paddleboards are wider than your alarmist friend might have you believe. Familiarity and practice can quickly convert your fears into mere splashes in the water. And, in the unlikely event of a capsize, modern safety equipment and buoyancy aids are incredibly effective. Plus, you get a free impromptu swim!

Beginner paddleboards are wide and stable to help you find your sea legs. You can also start by kneeling, getting used to the paddling before standing. If you do fall off then grab the handle of the board with one hand and the rail that is the farthest from you with the other, more tips here.  

If you want to gain in confidence then check out our full guides to kayaking and paddleboarding.

Is kayaking safe or scary?

5. Fear of Injury: All Sports

It’s normal to worry about potential injuries, but stats say you’re more likely to get hurt slipping in the shower or tripping on a Lego piece. The technical term is traumatophobia, from the greek for wound or hurt.

This fear is the most common reason people avoid more adventurous sports. But remember not all adventure sports are born equal. Base jumping is one of the most dangerous activities you can undertake, where as beginner kayaking or paddleboarding are very low risk, especially under the watchful eye of a guide.

Professional instruction, quality equipment, and a reasonable approach can significantly minimise risks. Knowledge is key, understanding how things work and how nature acts means you can be in control. And remember, a dose of adrenaline is beneficial for your health!

Are adventure sports safe?

Adventure sports can seem daunting, but with the right mindset, training, and a hearty chuckle at our fears, we can all be heroes of our own action-packed adventures. Remember, people like you are learning these sports everyday and absolutely loving it.

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Co-founder and Chief Adventurer

I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.

For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.

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