Though we've grown accustomed to them being an 'alternative' to their ball-sport cousins, adventure sports are swiftly becoming the new norm across the globe.
Take America, for example, where baseball and softball have lost almost a third of their collective playing population since 1987. As of spring 2016, there were just 13.46 million people in America playing either sport. Mountain biking, on the other hand, currently has over 40 million annual participants in the same country, with roughly 10 million regular mountain bikers taking to the trails on a regular basis.
Thankfully, here in Ireland, we've been bestowed with countless settings for the sporting population to partake in various adventure sports in our own back yards, where - rather than heading down to the local pitch - we can satisfy our sporting needs while taking in some of the continent's most breathtaking scenery.
A great way to avail of it all is by checking out the Quest Adventure Series. Quest is a one day multi-sport adventure race, where participants run, kayak and cycle around the Wilds of Wicklow!
Their next race day, the Quest Glendalough, takes place on the 8th April, and registration for the event finishes next Monday, 27th March.
There's just a few spaces still available for this race, and you can register for here: http://www.questadventureseries.com/race/quest-glendalough/
So, if you are interested in taking up adventure sport as the spring kicks into gear and the summer beckons, here are seven adventure sports which you can take up immediately:
Most people who buy kayaks maintain it's the best decision they ever made. They start out at about €450, but don't lose too much value once they're maintained and brought inside when not used.
Though deceptively energy-sapping in the sea, particularly against the current, kayaking offers relative safety - life jacket pending - and a wholly rewarding experience, in that you can see the sights and once you finish, you feel like you've been benching your body weight.
Where: Anywhere along the coast where it's deemed safe to whip out a kayak and go nuts; check with local officials to be sure.
You know the drill with hiking, but chances are you can do it within an hour's drive of your home, regardless of where you're living in the country.
One for a family day out, an escape from exams with mates, or a romantic stroll up the hills, hiking's end-game is simple: Take an Instagram photo which will make your friends feel like garbage for A) missing the view, and B) not being as active as you are on a Sunday afternoon.
Where: See above video for some perfect destinations
In Northern Ireland in particular, the mountain biking community is utterly thriving. It's an extraordinarily liberating sport when you consider its supposed simplicity, but know this: You will fall, and it will probably hurt. And when you get back up, you'll want to do it again. And again. And again.
Where: Rostrevor, Co. Down; Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow and more.
Hardly requires much description; just climb up, down or across a rock formation - artificial or real - with the goal being to reach a particular destination (usually the summit). Due to the length and extended endurance that would be required, and because accidents are more likely to happen on descent than ascent, rock climbers do not usually climb back down the route.
Where: Gravity Climbing Centre, Dublin 8; Unique Ascent, Co. Donegal and more.
A sub-discipline of rock climbing, whereby the climber doesn't use a harness or ropes.
Unlike free solo climbing, however, which is also performed without the aforementioned equipment, bouldering 'problems' (the path that a climber attempts to climb), are usually less than 6 meters - or 20 feet - tall.
Where:Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley, Co. Kerry; Doolin, Co. Clare and more.
Again, cliff jumping is no mystery; jumping off a cliff into the sea is one of the easiest adrenaline rushes you can possibly attain. All you need is bottle, and suddenly you're mid-air, plummeting towards the sea, your insides doing their darndest to escape through your mouth. And it's bloody fantastic.
Where:Howth Head, Co. Dublin; Old Head, Co. Mayo and more.
Traditionally known as spelunking in the United States and Canada and potholing in Ireland, caving generally involves the exploration of non-commercial caves. Often, as is the case in the video above, its participants might find new gems hidden away in the country's wilderness, rarely if ever explored by people. It adds to the mystery and the intrigue of what many consider to be an 'extreme sport'. Caving enthusiasts, however, will tell you that 'extreme' implies that it lacks regard for safety. What it is instead is a pure adventure sport, and one which we can partake in at countless locations in Ireland.
Where: The Burren, Co. Clare; Dunmore, Co. Waterford and more.
Don't forget the best way to get yourself involved in this immediately is by checking out www.questadventureseries.com
Quest is a one day multi sport adventure race, where participants run, kayak and cycle around the Wilds of Wicklow!
There's just a few spaces still available for the next of their series in Glendalough on 8th April, which you can register in until Monday at http://www.questadventureseries.com/race/quest-glendalough/
And if you can't make this one, there's lots more events to sign up for soon with the Quest Adventure Series.