Gift Guide: Six Gifts For The Thrill Seeker
We all have a friend who loves nothing better than chasing their next adrenaline hit and endorphin rush by doing something a little crazy. While we might mutter, “Well, I don’t envy you,” as they get ready to scale another cliff or, “Rather you than me” as they don their wingsuit, deep down, we admire them. They’re the ones who are truly able to step out of the humdrum of not just everyday life but everyday emotions as well. In short, they get to feel the buzz.
But when it comes to getting those people a present, a pair of gloves, a bottle of perfume, or tickets to the theater are unlikely to set their pulses racing. So, if you’re stuck for ideas, here are six gifts that are sure to put a smile on the face of all thrill seekers, risk takers, adrenaline junkies, and daredevils.
Ulysse Nardin Freak X
When it comes to watches, the Ulysse Nardin Freak is the original crazy risk-taker. When the first model was released 20 years ago, it tore back the boundaries of conventional watchmaking with its “no dial, no hands” design and pioneering use of silicon components.
Those same ground-breaking ingredients remain in the present-day Freak X, whose streamline 43mm case is the most wearable in the current Freak line-up. And the 18K rose gold, black DLC titanium edition we’re sporting here is definitely one of the most eye-catching.
The “baguette” UN-230 movement is still a flying carrousel, turning once on itself every hour using a planetary gear system. While the central bridge performs the role of the minute hand, one of the gears indicates hours. Another drive train feeds the escapement featuring an ultra-light, extra-wide 3Hz silicon balance wheel with nickel flyweights and stabilizing micro-blades.
Finally, automatic winding and a 72-hour power reserve ensure that this exhilarating time-telling spectacle will just keep on going.
Shark Snorkeling in South Africa
Many associate the Ulysse Nardin Freak X collection with the brand’s #FreakMeOut ad campaign that sees a shark juxtaposed with famous urban environments such as Manhattan. No doubt, the possibility of swimming with sharks along Fifth Avenue would be the perfect gift to get the seasoned thrill seeker, but, alas, that sort of experience is tricky to organize.
What is easier to set up for that friend who dares to be scared is a session of shark cage diving at Aliwal Shoal off the South African coast with Shark Cage Diving KZN. The Durban-based company will give you a wetsuit and a dive mask and put you in a floating stainless-steel cage so you can get up close and personal with around 20 of this reef’s shark population.
But why stop at the safety of steel bars? Shark Cage Diving KZN also offers cage-free shark snorkeling experiences in the company of an experienced safety diver, so you can really be at one – and remain in one piece – with these deadly ocean predators.
A Hike Up the Haiku Stairs in Hawaii
For a double shot of adrenaline, you could get your friend a plane ticket to Hawaii, where you can not only snorkel with sharks but also dare to climb the Ha’ikū Stairs. Built seven decades ago to provide access to a now-defunct US Navy communication facility, the 3,922-step structure snakes through a mountain trail on the eastern side of Oahu.
Because of decay and damage, this so-called “Stairway to Heaven” is dangerous to climb in parts. But, more than that, it is illegal to mount, with trespassing hikers risking pursuit by helicopter, arrest, hefty fines, and court appearances.
Sound like the perfect, high-intensity activity to get that adrenaline pumping? Well, of course, we here at Watchonista are responsible. We’re law-abiding. Thus, we would recommend taking the legal trail to the top of the stairs. Still not for the faint-hearted, the approved trail is said to offer views of the Moanalua valley even more spectacular than the illicit trail.
Fly Across Water on a Fliteboard eFoil
Hawaii is synonymous with surfing, but water sports have evolved. Nowadays, eFoiling is all the rage, and there are plenty of places to practice the increasingly popular sport on the islands.
There is no waiting around for a windy day or to catch a wave, and that feeling of speed and silence, of managing to stand up and fly across the water, carving it up like you’re on a snowboard, is quite intoxicating.
There’s no need to wait for a tropical vacation to get on one, though. You can get your own – or get your friend their own – personal eFoil. While there are many makes and models to choose from, one of the best is Fliteboard due to its superior tech and high-performance motor.
Hövding: The Bike Helmet that Isn’t a Helmet
Back home on dry land, a daily commute via bicycle through rush-hour traffic is perhaps the only regular activity that can raise fear levels sufficiently to get that much-needed adrenaline kick. And if that is your friend’s thing, then why not help them spice up their journey by getting them a Hövding.
Hövding lets you ride your bike without wearing a helmet. Now, hear us out! We know that may sound rather foolish, but this street-style collar contains an airbag that is deployed around your neck and head when its advanced sensors and algorithm detect movement that signals if you’re falling off your bike.
And according to the company, Hövding’s airbag technology protects up to eight times better than a traditional bicycle helmet.
Lifeproof Phone Case
When it comes to embracing high-octane, high-risk, limit-pushing challenges, thrill seekers may have scant regard for their own wellbeing, but they will definitely be worried about the safety of their smart phone. So, how about giving them a waterproof, dirtproof, snow-proof, and drop-proof phone case – such as those made by Lifeproof. That ought to be the perfect stocking stuffer for them.
Lifeproof makes cases for a range of Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models. What’s more, they tick the right environmental boxes, with 35 per cent of each case produced from ocean-based plastic and 25 per cent made from recycled plastic.
(Ulysse Nardin images by Pierre Vogel)