Water isn’t always calm, cool and inviting and sometimes we forget its primeval powers. These images capture water at its ferocious, elemental best.
Epic on-shore surges
Every now and again, the stars align for extreme athletes seeking their next picture-perfect adrenalin hit. Sunset frames the scene. The tide rages. And they just happen to have a high-altitude slackline set up to put themselves in the core of the action, at the mercy of the powerful sea. Don’t try this at home…
Tiptoeing to the edge of a geyser to see what’s cooking is a really, really bad idea. When the world’s largest erupts, Steamboat Geyser, it sends 90m jets of hot water into the air. You’ll find them everywhere from the surreal sculptures of the Nevada desert to the remotest corners of Iceland. Blink and you might miss it – take those selfies from a distance.
Take a flyboard flight
Flyboarding is the latest extreme sport to hit cool coastal resorts. The force of the water jets will take you (and your adrenalin level) to heights of over 10m if you’re lucky. To add some science-fiction to your swim, jump on the board from your boat (ah yes, you’ll also need one of those), ramp up the power and leave the sea’s surface behind.
Big wall surfing
If bodyboarding in knee-deep water hits the upper limits of your extreme-o-metre, skip the next picture. Thrill-seeking surfers flock to the coasts of Portugal, Hawaii and Australia to take on the might of the highest and most awesomely powerful waves on the planet. Getting close enough to take a great picture is extreme enough for most.
Sailors don’t generally hop onto multi-million pound vessels and seek out epic storms on purpose. But if angry winds and waves become your enemy in the middle of a nail biting, high-stakes race? Tie yourself on, hope for the best and finish that Facebook status update later. It’s just another day in the nautical office for these world-class sailors.
Remote, windswept lighthouses alert sailors to the dangerous rocks and shallow waters nearby. But sometimes, the lighthouse itself is under threat, from crushingly powerful tides and massive, multistorey waves. Luckily, most aren’t manned any more. Those thousand-ton waves would be really distracting during the Game of Thrones finale.
Some people had their fear gene removed at birth. For the fearless, plunging down immense, roaring waterfalls and careering through water-carved canyons barely raises an eyebrow. If water can create canyons through sheer rock, imagine what it can do to a paddler in a tiny plastic boat. Us mere mortals can simply enjoy their efforts via Instagram.
Bungle in the jungle
The beauty of white water is that its unfathomable strength keeps the man-eating animals away. Wise crocodiles and hippos prefer to chill in the calm waters after the rapids than get caught in this maelstrom. When undertaking the rafting trip of a lifetime, remember: don’t fall out of the raft (else you might find yourself on the local menu). Good luck, guys…