If scientists can go rafting through the rainforest canopy, why can't tourists go surfing through it? Okay, that sounds kind of silly, but canopy surfing really exists and if you take a trip to the tropics you'll probably get a chance to do some surfing of your own. Canopy surfing is another form of ecotourism, with the funds paid by tourists often going to support ecological causes (though if you're really interested in helping the environment and not just in experiencing a thrill ride in the tree tops, you might want to ask the people who sell the canopy surfing experience just where the funds are going).
Canopy surfing is sort of a cross between bungee jumping and a roller coaster. It usually involves cables, sometimes called zip lines, strung between canopy platforms, with guides helping strap tourists into harnesses attached to these lines by pulleys and then accompanying them on a high-speed slide between platforms while they dangle dozens of feet above the rainforest floor. Often there are multiple rope lines leading from one platform to the next, giving the tourist a dizzying view of a large portion of the canopy -- and a breathtaking experience on top of it.
Those who have taken advantage of canopy surfing opportunities say that the experience is spectacular -- and a little scary. But environmentalists worry that turning the canopy into an amusement park ride may damage some of the fragile life forms that inhabit it. Still, if some of the money goes to rainforest research, the minimal damage may be worth it.