My name is Amanda Smith. I live in Wilmington, Delaware with my boyfriend and our two cats. Born in 1980 and 1981, we are both nearing our 40s. Why am I sharing our ages? That is weird! Our age is relevant because we both love to practice extreme sports, and we have both learned extreme sports later in life; we didn’t start this stuff in our teens!
My boyfriend and I are pretty regular people at first glance. I am a teacher. I have been a high school and middle school English and ESL teacher for 12 years now. My boyfriend runs an online insurance business. What sets us apart from most others our age though, is our passion for extreme sports. We both started climbing in our late 20s, and we both learned to snowboard in our mid-thirties. He also learned to kiteboard in his mid-30s, and I learned to surf and barefoot run in my late-thirties. Next summer we will learn to scuba dive. So, here we are now, almost 40 and we are out climbing, snowboarding, kite surfing, surfing all the time, and everyday we are lifting weights or running to stay in shape for these sports. Don’t tell my students this, but I love getting out and climbing, snowboarding, surfing, or run more than I love waking up at 5:40 everyday to go read Shakespeare with them! Lol! Alas, fate and $40k in student loan debt has made me a teacher, not a professional surfer, or whatever! (Don’t worry, I swear I am a really good teacher, and I actually love teaching Romeo and Juliet!)
My Fairly Extreme blog combines two things that I love, writing (I do teach English for a living) and extreme sports. When it comes to extreme sports, I am a dedicated amateur. I am not going to train for a half marathon in my barefoot running shoes. I will probably never climb 5.12, but I am almost 40, and I can climb 11b outside. I will never surf 15 foot waves or dangerous reef breaks, but this summer, almost 39 years old, I am tackling 4 foot waves in 55 degree water. I will never do snowboard jumps or double black diamond glades, but I will be able to finish any black diamond I throw myself at. I am a professional learner and improver when it comes to extreme sports, and I didn’t really start until I was 35. I have so much knowledge that I can share with beginners or advanced beginner level individuals who want to venture into the world of an extreme sport, and that is what this blog is about. I can help answer questions like, what are the best climbing shoes for beginners? Should I spend money on a private snowboarding lesson? What should I look for in my first surfboard? How do I start running if I am out of shape? I have asked all of these questions for myself in my extreme sport adventures
Lastly, this blog is also for women. Specifically, women in or near their forties, like me. I want women like me to not care about how old they are or feel too weak or too scared to try an extreme sport. I care about women of my generation defying their age and breaking gender norms by practicing scary sports out in nature. The extreme sports I practice bring me so much happiness and satisfaction. They make me feel strong and brave and I just love being out. But when my boyfriend and I go out climbing, I see 90% dudes. When we snowboard, 90% dudes. Surfing, 95% dudes. Dudes young and old everywhere. Where are the women? I just don’t see them. Professionally, female athletes are growing in leaps and bounds in extreme sports. It is time for this to trickle down to the weekend warriors. I am living proof that women, no matter where you are in life, can learn and practice an extreme sport. I am just a high school English teacher! If I can do it, so can you.