Adventure sports vs traditional sports: Which are better?

Oct 27, 2020 BY Luke Rees

There is no doubt that traditional sports such as football, tennis and golf are participated in, and watched by far more people than get involved in adventure sports. So we thought it would be fun to compare the two. In this adventure sports vs traditional sports article we ask which are better?

Adventure sports vs traditional sports

Now you might think that this being an action sport and adventure travel site we would be quite biased. However, as well as being a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer and try anything adventurous kind of guy I used to play a lot of football (soccer for North American readers), squash and was heavily involved in the Shoreham Rowing Club.

I guess the point is I like both traditional and adventure sports. I still go running a couple of times a week, do some cycling and yoga. Plus I will watch pretty much any sport going on TV – watching live sport is so much better than soap operas or reality TV!

Adventure sports vs traditional sports

In order to decide whether adventure sports trump the traditional kind I have decided to consider each in a number of categories. We can then tot up the number of categories each wins to crown an adventure sports vs traditional sports champion.

Accessibility to new participants

While anyone can try any sport at pretty much any age it is more difficult to get into playing traditional sports as an adult. While rugby clubs, tennis tuition and football training are available everywhere, the competitive nature of these type of sports means that if as an adult you want to get into it, it is actually very hard.

Best European snowboarding holidays Top 35 resorts to snowboard in Europe pxfuel royalty free image

Conversely action sports are not competitive for most participants. Whether you are surfing Jaws in Hawaii or a beginner wave at your local beach you will be having fun. And that fun does not depend on being able to fit into a team or give someone else a competitive match.

Winner adventure


Adventure sports are awesome to watch. Seeing pro snowboarders dropping cliffs, or perform incredible tricks can be breathtaking. The same can be said of everything from kitesurfers to climbers! But as a snowboarder myself I know that watching live is less accessible. And much as I love them, even I get spin fatigue watching snowboard videos.

However, nothing can compare with watching traditional sports live in a stadium or on TV. Every minute of a football match can be a roller coaster of emotions as you cheer on your team. Take a look at tennis odds on 888sports, it is one of the least competitive traditional sports with a handful of clear favourites for any tournament. But that does not stop millions of people watching.

Winner traditional

Ease of access

To play football all you need is a ball and a couple of mates, you can use jumpers for goal posts or just pass the ball around. In fact most traditional sports are easy to do at a basic level. There are sport centres, playing fields, tennis courts and golf courses in every town that most people can access.

tennis royalty free image from Pixabay

But to ski you need snow, a mountain, chair lifts and lots of expensive clothing and equipment. Apart from skateboarding, most adventure sports need either the right weather, suitable conditions or are geographically limited. Surf may well be up, but unless you live near a surf beach it is no use to you.

Winner traditional

Thrill when doing

While I always got a great buzz from scoring a goal, winning a rowing regatta or taking a game off a friend at squash it does not compare to the thrill of adventure sports. The spectre of serious injury when doing sports such as snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing make them exciting all the time rather than just some of the time.

This is probably why less people do adventure sports vs traditional sport. Yes there is always a risk of injury in any sport, for example, Virgil Van Dyke injured his ACL last week playing football. But the level of risk is perceived to be much higher for action sports. With that risk comes a steady dose of adrenalin which ramps up the thrill!

Winner adventure

Good for your health

Any sport is physically good for you. You get fitter and heathier by regular participation. However, traditional sports with their more structured nature and competitive elements pip adventure sports in terms of being physically good for you.

Adventure sports vs traditional sports Pixabay royalty free image of mountain biking in Utah

However, studies show that adventure sports make you happy, so are good for mental wellbeing. While traditional sports can be good for your wellbeing due to the competitive element it can also be detrimental. For example, if you are left out of the team, are getting frustrated over your performance or constantly lose this does not help you stay positive.

It’s a draw!

So are adventure or traditional sports best?

Based on the above – highly scientific – study they both score two wins, two loses and a draw. So they are as good as each other. At the end of the day, different sports appeal to different people for different reasons.

For many people being part of a team – either participating or watching – is what makes traditional sports so appealing. Whilst those who are into adventure sports enjoy the thrill of danger but also the creativity to enjoy the activity how you wish without a competitive element.

Adventure sports vs traditional sports, which is better? Well, only you can decide.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you want to try something new check out our action sport courses or adventure experiences.


Kitesurfing, Multi Activity, Tennis


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