Adrenaline junkies taking excitement to the extreme

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We all have things that get our heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing. Some of us avoid these things from fear and a hatred of that feeling, while others chase it. For adrenaline junkies that singular high can never be enough.

Here we chat to three self-confessed adventure seekers, including country music star Adam Brand, who have a love for living on the edge.

Alana Betram started skydiving in 2006. It was love at first jump. 

"I did my first ever skydive in South Australia when I was 19. I'd wanted to skydive since I was little and used to draw pictures of it.  The reality of doing it lived up to the dream. I was addicted immediately.

When I did my first dive, I'd never even been in a plane before, so the adrenaline was pumping before the door had even opened. I remember the feeling of freefalling and it was like nothing I'd experienced before. I did a second dive that day.

After that I did nine dives in quick succession over the following weekends and I've now done around 1200 in total. My love for it has taken me all round the world.

At the moment I'm training with a team for the world parachuting championships which is being held at the Gold Coast in October. Last week we trained for six days and jumped between 7-12 times a day. We've been training this week at the wind tunnel in Sydney.

The discipline I'm jumping in is freestyle which is dancing and gymnastics in the sky and will be filmed by a cameraman.

Skydiving will always be part of my life. Every time I jump I fall more in love with the sport. My goal is to finish in the top 8 in the competition, but we'll see. I never imagined I would even be in the competition. So, to have come this far is an achievement and thrill enough."

Rune Sovndahl has been shark diving for 14 years.

Rune Sovndahl, shark diver.

"The first time I did a shark dive was in Playa del Carmen in 2014.

I initially thought we were going to see some sharks in the distance. But when I went down and suddenly had seven large bull sharks circling around me, reality hit.

It dawned on me how incredibly strong and fast these creatures were. But seeing them and experiencing them was an incredible feeling of adventure.

The rush is what made me do it again and now I shark dive annually. The danger and the excitement drives me. It's like taking an ice bath after a sauna. It makes you feel 100% alive.

I've had a couple of close encounters with sharks since I've been diving. On one occasion I was on the sea bed with my knees on the sand to prevent stirring it up, and a huge pregnant bull shark swam straight towards me.

When I bent over as it swam over me, a second shark came from behind and passed above me at the same time.

This was the closest I'd ever been to a shark and it was a huge adrenaline kick as the sharks are about twice your size."

Adam Brand's need for speed has seen him racing around the country.

Adam Brand, Australian Country Music Star

"I've always been surrounded by cars. My mum used to take me to Claremont speedway in Perth when I was in nappies. My dad was involved in car dealerships and my uncles did car spray painting.

It was at the dirt track speedway where I developed my true love of racing. My heroes were Garry Rush and Ron Krisher, Max Dempsey and George Schrapnell.

I started racing little Quarter Midget Cars when I was 25 and then, as my singing career progressed, I had the opportunity to drive a range of cars. I've driven saloon cars, sedans and speed cars.  I've driven utes, speedway legend cars and monster trucks. 

The monster truck driving was great fun. I loved jumping over and squashing cars. It's such a buzz, just like when I'm on the track. I still remember one of the first times I was out racing the V8 ute.

It was the practice sessions before the race and I was going (what I thought) was the speed of sound. I looked down the back straight and saw legendary Bathurst winner Alan Grice coming up behind me.

He flew past and almost blew off my side mirrors. I remember just grinning to myself and thinking, 'Wow, I'm on the track with one of my heroes."

I don't race as much as I used to. But, when I can, I'm out there and the buzz is even better than ever. Racing will always be a part of my life. It's in my blood."  

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