Adrenaline-Packed Activities for Aspiring Secret Agents
Next to the gadgets, the biggest thrill of a James Bond film is watching the secret agent untangle himself from the thorniest of predicaments. Whether it’s surviving a fall from a plane without a parachute (Moonraker), making a fast getaway from the bad guys via jetpack (Thunderball), or maneuvering a car through winding European streets at breakneck speeds (just about every Bond film ever made), 007 always makes a clean getaway.
Now you can live out your Bond fantasies with these high-octane activities. And while M may not recruit you after your first lesson, you’ll at least be better prepared should that zombie apocalypse ever come to pass.
The future is here. While you may not be able to soar over buildings as Bond did in Thunderball, the consequences for a mis-landing are far less severe when you’re jetting over water — as long as Jaws isn’t on your tail or waiting below. The pack works by sucking up water that is then shot out at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute, thrusting the jetpacker into the air up to 30 feet. After a few lessons, would-be Bonds can learn to dive under the water and emerge à la Aquaman or turn corkscrews 20 feet in the air.
Jetlev, Newport Beach, www.jetlevsouthwest.com, 888-553-6471
Grand Prix Racing
Outmaneuvering the enemy is key in any high-speed chase sequence. Hone your driving skills and learn to take that inside corner in an authentic stock car while you travel at speeds far above the legal road limit. Irwindale’s short track, about 45 minutes from Santa Monica, gives you the full pro experience, complete with one-way headsets that allow the crew to offer coaching assistance as you lap the competition. Your friends can cheer you on from the stands as you make that opening chase scene from Quantum of Solace look like Friday night at the go-cart track.
LA Racing, Irwindale, www.laracingx.com, 888-LA-RACING (527-2246)
Should you ever find yourself at 30,000 feet with an unconscious pilot and need to abandon ship, the skills learned during just one lesson of indoor skydiving could mean the difference between a sequel and the end of a franchise. After suiting up, flyers leap into the updraft of a vertical wind tunnel that propels you skywards and keeps you floating on a cushion of air. Learn how to vary your terminal velocity and perform mid-air somersaults while stunned onlookers marvel at your aerial acrobats. It’s all the thrills of soaring through the wild blue yonder without having to jump out of a perfectly good plane.
iFly Hollywood, Universal City, www.iflyhollywood.com, 818-985-IFLY (4359)
For those who don’t yet own the MI6-issue belt equipped with pitons and rappelling wire, ziplining offers much of the same rush. Out in the wilds of the San Gabriel Mountains, Navitat’s canopy courses may make you feel more like Indiana Jones than 007 as you soar from tree to tree at heights of up to 300 feet, with views of the San Bernardinos and Mojave Desert in the distance. Sky bridges allow for more serene views, and the all-important spy skill of rappelling is also covered, in case you ever need to flee a high-rise without using the elevators or stairs.
Navitat Canopy Adventures, Wrightwood, www.navitat.com, 855-NAVITAT (628-4828)
Cirque du Soleil
Sometimes it takes grace and poise to complete your mission – or to make your escape. Shimmying up ropes and clambering up curtains are skills every secret agent should acquire, and the very practice helps develop other abilities, such as dexterity and coordination. Adding the talents of Cirque du Soleil acrobats to your undercover cadre will give you an edge against your enemies, as you learn to twirl in mid-air from the aerial silks and master the art of flexibility – even upside-down.
Cirque Style Fitness, Santa Monica, www.cirquestylefitness.org, 212-518-8612