Category Archives: Sports and Activities Abroad

Top 5 Surfing Destinations

Not sure where to head this summer to catch some decent surf? Fear not! British Surfing Champion Jonny Wallbridge has a massive wealth of knowledge when it comes to enjoying the waves of the world.

Born on the island of Guernsey, which measures a mere 30 square miles, Johnny Wallbridge has always been surrounded by water. It’s, therefore, perhaps unsurprising that he took up surfing at the age of 14 and didn’t look back. Since then he’s become a British Surfing Champion, has travelled the world in search of bigger, better waves, and has even opened his own surf clothing and accessories shop, Yakwax.

Here are his top five places to go…

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

1. Indonesia

July and August are prime months to chase waves off the coast of Indonesia. From Bali to the Mentawaii Islands, the conditions are perfect almost every day. Indonesia — or “Indo”, as it’s commonly known within the surf community — is well-regarded for having some of the best waves on the planet thanks to the consistent swells, light winds, hot air, and fantastic water temperatures.

Some of the most popular surf spots in Bali can be found on the Bukit Peninsula and include the likes of Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin, Impossibles, and Balangan. Alternatively, if you have some money to spare, charter a private yacht from a reliable company like Pulau Luxury Charter and sail through the Mentawaii Island chain in search of perfect, uncrowded waves that you spend dark winters dreaming about.

2. Mexico

During the summer months, Mexico gets pummelled by consistent southwest swells that march across the Pacific. Thanks to the steep continental shelf that sits off Mexico, the power of the waves is magnified, making the country home to some of the most intense beach breaks in the world. If you’re willing to take some risks to catch the best barrel of your life, spots like Puerto Escondido and Pascuales should definitely be on your list.

If you don’t have much experience of surfing abroad, an organised camp or tour might be for you. Surf Las Palmeras is a camp in Salina Cruz, southern Mexico, and offers packages that include everything you could possibly need. It’s a brilliant option if you’ve never been to Mexico, as you’ll be guided towards all the best spots.

Boards WWI

Image by Patsacha.

3. South Africa

Back in 2015, three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning made headlines after being attacked by a great white shark while surfing in South Africa. These waters aren’t for the faint-hearted, but that just adds to the rush of surfing in them.

Seasoned surfers put the dangers to the back of their mind to take advantage of the world class waves that J-Bay, which is considered to be the best right hand point break on the planet, provides. Although, according to National Geographic’s list of the World’s Best 20 Surf Towns, Muizenberg, South Africa, is an ideal place for beginners to start out, so the area can truly suit anyone.

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image by Helloolly.

4. Guernsey

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the place where it all began: Guernsey. While the island itself is relatively small, it boasts some stunning coastal scenery and a very tight-knit surfing community. It might not attract the crowds that more exotic locations do, but it has a lot of heart and, no matter where in Guernsey you go, you’re never too far away from a fun surfing spot.

If you’re unfamiliar to the area, Vazon Bay is the best place to start. It’s the most popular surfing spot and is also home to Guernsey Surf School, the only of its kind on the island. There’s even a handy beach café nearby where you can refuel after a session.

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image by Dongpung.

5. Oahu, Hawaii

North Shore, Oahu in Hawaii is one of the most celebrated surfing locations on the planet. In the winter months its world-class waves play host to a range of professional competitions and attract serious, international surfers who fancy a challenge.

During the summer the water becomes a lot calmer, making this the ideal time for more casual surfers, beginners, or those who are just looking for a relaxing holiday, to descend upon the coast. Oahu’s official travel website is a great place to learn about what happens on the island throughout the year if you’re considering a visit.

Surfing in itself is an exhilarating sport, but your overall experience depends on choosing the perfect location. From someone who’s travelled the world with his surfboard in tow, these five are fantastic places to start.

WorldwideInsure.com automatically cover loads of sports and activities on their travel insurance policies, including surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, canoeing and water skiing. For more info, get in touch on 01892 833338 or visit WorldwideInsure.com for a fast online quote.

Make Your Next Holiday Hike Via Ferrata

honsiter via ferrata  image 1Image courtesy of honister.com

If you usually seek sensational scenic views on a mountain hike while on holiday you should try taking the Iron Road instead. Via ferratas are climbing routes that can require relatively little experience, and use the most basic equipment, yet offer views usually reserved for only the most experienced of mountain climbers.

Via Ferrata Explained

The Italian term translates literally as Iron Road, with routes that have iron rungs, ladders, pegs and cables as climbing aids to help climbers traverse steep and rocky terrain. Some routes are “Easy” consisting of a reasonably straightforward path offering a challenging walk rather than a climbing experience, whereas others are “Extremely Difficult” where overhangs and high exposed routes are the norm. This makes via ferrata suitable for all ages (including children) and abilities.

via ferrat at honister lake district imageImage courtesy of honister.com

Equipment

You’ll need a helmet to protect your head from any falling rocks as well as in the unlikely event of a fall, and a via ferrata set. This is quite simply an energy absorber with a special double carabiner, and in some cases a harness.

via ferrata honister slate mine imageImage courtesy of honister.com

Why do these “Iron Roads” exist?

Via ferrata in some locations is linked to WW1 activity, as a route to help soldiers pass through otherwise inaccessible terrain simply and in relative safety. They do however exist all over the world, acting as a safe passage for locals, and attractions for tourists!

Popular Destinations for Via Ferrata Fun

Via Ferrata Travel GuideDolomites, Italy by Meganne Christian CC BY-SA 2.0

  • Italy
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • China
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • USA

Via ferrata is also available in the UK. Honsiter Slate Mine in the Lake District has two types of via ferrata activity – normal and Xtreme, following the miners’ track up the face of Fleetwith Pike.

honsiter via ferrata image

Image courtesy of honister.com

Make sure you have via ferrata insurance for your holiday! Just add Rate 2 to your single or annual travel policy!

Top 10 Adrenaline Fuelled Activities For Your Bucketlist

Looking for a way to put the excitement back into your out of office adventures? You won’t go far wrong with these extreme sports and activities on your bucketlist – as long as you have a head for heights and frights! 

1: White Water Rafting 

White Water Rafting in California. Image by Kaydin Carlsen CC by 2.0

2: Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata Image courtesy of honister.com

3: Sandboarding

Sandboarding in Namibia. Image by Luke Price CC by 2.0

4: Canyoning

Canyoning in Utah. Image by Cyril Bele CC by 2.0

5: Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping in Switzerland. Image by Alan Light CC by 2.0

6: Ice Hiking

 

Ice Hiking “Wolverine”, Helmcken Falls Spray Cave in British Columbia, Canada. Will Gadd and Brit Tim Emmett discover a new universe of ice climbing where a 500 foot waterfall sprays the underside of a gargantuan cave with fantastical ice formations.

7: Skydiving

Skydiving. Image by Philip Leara CC0 1.0

8: Zero Gravity Flight

Zero Gravity Flight in the USA. Image by Steve Jurvetson CC by 2.0 

9: Bull Riding

Bull Riding in California. Image by Peasap CC by 2.0

10: Shark Diving

Shark Cage Diving in Hermanus. Image by Hermanus Backpackers CC by 2.0

GET SPORTS TRAVEL INSURANCE! We cover loads of activities including Shark Diving, Via Ferrata, Dude Ranching, Canyoning, Sandboarding, White Water Rafting, and Bungee Jumping in the UK and overseas. Call 01892 833338 if you’d like to know more, or get an online quote.

 

Heli Skiing – Exposing The Thrill For First-Timers

Southern Lakes Heliski

Courtesy of powderhounds.com

If you like living life on the wilder side, chances are heli skiing is on your list of Awesome Travel Adventures, and if it’s not – it should be! We caught up with a couple of heli ski operators to find out more about the tantalising temptation of pure powder.

What the Heli ski?

Heli skiing is pretty self-explanatory, it involves a helicopter and skiing. Contrary to many people’s ideas, you do not take to the slopes by jumping out of a helicopter (a la 007), the helicopter takes you to some of the best untouched powder snow out there, and lands safely to let you out. Heli skiing isn’t an extreme sport, just for daredevils or stunt skiers – it’s suitable for strong intermediate to expert powder riders, and there are even some heli skiing operations that are well suited to first timers.

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing www.powderhounds.com

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing Courtesy of powderhounds.com

How good do you need to be to heli ski?

If you’ve never tried skiing, you’ll definitely need to get a bit of experience under your belt to take on heli skiing. At a minimum riders should be able to ride a red run in any condition at a ski resort, although some operators say that experience on an ungroomed black run at a ski resort and feeling comfortable on tree runs is the best place to be before trying it out. If you aren’t sure, you could always take a soft approach by booking a day heli skiing as part of your wider ski holiday. Day heli skiing is a convenient and a relatively low cost introduction. Be warned – this teaser is likely to leave you wanting more!

“Heli skiing is for those who love skiing or boarding powder but are tired of the tracked out slopes at the ski resorts.” Lyndell Keating, Powderhounds

Get fit to get the most out of it!

A pre-season fitness regime focusing on legs and lungs will add to your heli skiing enjoyment, because guess what – if you are a powder virgin, you are going to find taking on the deep stuff pretty tiring! When you get there, and the conditions are perfect, nothing will be more frustrating than your body preventing you from making the most of an adventure you have spent years dreaming about.

Southern Lakes Heliski

Southern Lakes Heliski Courtesy of powderhounds.com

When and where to go

The heli ski season varies significantly depending on where you want to go. For Canada and the lower 48 of the US, the peak heli ski season is February, with operations generally running from December to early April. The main Alaskan heli skiing season is March to April, when there are adequate daylight hours. The New Zealand and South American heli skiing season is from July to September, with the peak season being in August. In Europe, January & February is usually colder, with more fresh powder about, but inclement weather can stop play. March and April on the other hand tends to have more ‘bluebird’ days and the alpine terrain is generally more accessible.

An adventure worthy of a bucketlist?

We believe so!  Heli skiing should be on every serious skiers bucket list – it is a realistic aspiration that is easy to fulfil. This is what operators Powderhounds and Scott Dunn had to say on the subject…

“Heli skiing or heli boarding should absolutely be on the bucket list of every avid powder hound or adventurous skier or snowboarder. The helicopter rides are amazing in themselves. The spectacular vistas up high in the remote mountains are intoxicating and then the trip down in the virgin powder is often sublime. Heli skiing is the ultimate skiing or boarding experience.” Lyndell Keating, Powderhounds

“There comes a time in every skier’s life when you feel the need to try something new and experience something quite unlike anything you have ever experienced before. The adrenaline starts pumping with the sound of the first thud of the rotor blades and you are whisked off on an exhilarating ride to places where vast fields of beautiful virgin powder lie in wait. Gliding through blankets of pristine powder away from the crowds in the heart of the mountains is something that every skier should experience, at least once.” Kirsty Edwards, Scott Dunn

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing Courtesy of powderhounds.com

What are you waiting for? Book it!

Canada, Alaska, US, New Zealand, South America and Japan heli skiing packages from PowderHounds.com

Heli for First Timers (Canada) from PurePowder.com

European heli skiing trips from ScottDunn.com

Scott Dunn offers a 7 night stay at Chalet Chinchilla in Val d’Isere, France from 1,985 per person based on six sharing and including return British Airways flights, luxury coach transfers, private chef and chalet host. 1 day heliski packages departing from Scott Dunn’s chalets in Val d’Isere start from £360 (€429) per person (based on a private group of four). 

 

DON’T FORGET YOUR HELI SKI INSURANCE! Extend your worldwideinsure.com wintersports insurance to include heli skiing, and you can go play in the powder knowing that we’ve got you covered should your holiday not go to plan. Call 01892 833338 if you’d like to know more, or visit our homepage to get an online quote.

The Dakar Rally – A Tour For The Uninitiated

With the 2016 Dakar Rally drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a virtual trip round the circuit (to avoid getting sand in our shoes) to bring you the most heavenly of highlights that Argentina and Bolivia have to offer. On your marks, get set, and…

Rally Dakar 2009 7

By Dakar organization [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsGo to Buenos Aires!

Go to Buenos Aires! – A megacity and epic epicentre of everything in Argentina. Not only is it one of the busiest cities in South America, it also boasts sun, sea, and spectacular countryside. In Buenos Aires traditional lifestyles stand side by side with ultra-modern and elegant existences. Glitzy nightlife is matched by tranquil retreats. It is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, with something for everyone who comes to visit.

Uyuni – Welcome to the home of the highest and largest salt flats in the whole world! Uyuni has been dubbed the Capital of the Dakar, but it is the salt flats that draw most tourists to the area. It is a seemingly endless desert, and by all accounts achingly beautiful, earning it a place in a Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World list. One of the best times to experience the beauty is actually during the Dakar Rally, as during the rainy season, which runs from December to February, the flats reflect the skies above producing almost miraculous illusions. The rally organisers describe it beautifully… “giving the impression that the sky melts into the earth and grants an inexplicable feeling impossible to describe unless you have witnessed it.” Now who wouldn’t want to experience that!

Salta– Welcome to the wild! Salta mixes it up with mountains, ravines, thermal pools, volcanoes, snow, jungle and rivers – just the sort of terrain you might be looking for when racing! The extreme terrain also attracts people seeking extreme sports, so if you aren’t on the circuit enjoying the high-octane activities of rally driving, you can give your adrenaline a boost with bungee jumping, zip lining and mountaineering.

La Rioja – The most popular road in Argentina, Route 40, passes through this spectacular location, which is alive with colour, and home to delicious homemade wines and produce from walnut and olive groves. No wonder they say you should take a couple of days to drive through – no chance of a tipple unless you plan to stop for the night! La Rioja is also home to Talampaya National Park, a world heritage site abundant with natural wonders that are volcanic, mountainous, and on occasion hot and wet.

San Juan – Silence is golden in the countryside surrounding San Juan, and the clear starry nights are spectacular too. The vast and open space has remained untouched by the hands of humans, which allows visitors to really soak up the Jurassic (or more accurately, Triassic) atmosphere, as this is where the oldest known fossils in Argentina can be found. San Juan the City on the other hand is an oasis, quite literally – the streets of this modern city are lined with avenues of trees irrigated by water from the surrounding mountains.

The Dakar Rally Route
Day 1: Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz
Day 2: Villa Carlos Paz – Termas de Río Hondo
Day 3: Termas de Río Hondo – Jujuy
Day 4: Jujuy – Jujuy
Day 5: Jujuy – Uyuni
Day 6: Uyuni – Uyuni
Day 7: Uyuni – Salta
Day 8: Rest day in Salta
Day 9: Salta – Belén
Day 10: Belén – Belén
Day 11: Belén – La Rioja
Day 12: La Rioja – San Juan
Day 13: San Juan – Villa Carlos Paz
Day 14: Villa Carlos Paz – Rosario

If living life on the extreme side is your idea of having fun on holiday, get in touch with us here at WorldwideInsure.com – we provide cover for a wide range of adrenaline-fuelled activities whether you are doing them for fun or as part of a competition!

 

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