The following list contains the main traits of an extreme sport:
- A high level of inherent danger
- Speed, height, a high level of physical exertion, and highly specialized gear
- Participant is subjected to natural or unusual physical and mental challenges such as speed, height, depth or natural forces and where fast and accurate cognitive perceptual processing may be required for a successful outcome
- Tend to be more solitary than traditional sports
- Beginning extreme athletes tend to work on their craft without the guidance of a coach
- Differ from traditional sports due to the higher number of inherently uncontrollable variables
- Environmental variables are frequently weather and terrain related, including wind, snow, water and mountains
- Often evaluated on more subjective and aesthetic criteria.
- Reject unified judging methods, with different sports employing their own ideals
- Evolve their assessment standards with new trends or developments in the sports
- Considerable skill and/or physical ability
- Poor execution of the activity has to result in considerable risk of serious physical harm to the participant
- Put the participants outside their comfort zone
- Often done in conjunction with adventure travel
- Often derivative of traditional sports but emerged as a result of innovation
The challenge, self-reliance, environmental variables, more subjective / aesthetic judgement are the most interesting aspects. They reflect type of high consciousness learning experience or educational process.
Extreme sports may be seen as being particularly male-dominated or inaccessible to people with disabilities, age or economic background. However, this is not the case as there are many examples where a wide range of demographics are represented.
There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.