These 3 Absurd Sports Will Push You to Your Limit

Would you try these bizarre—but historic!—athletics?

wife carrying race mobile
Isabel Infantes Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the batter’s box or bombing a hill on a longboard—the possibility of injury is always around the corner. 

But some sports are far more treacherous (and ridiculous) than others, and I’m not talking about hungover Sunday pickup basketball games. Here are three extreme sports that are fantastically weird.  

Extreme Ironing

Like popping a pimple or scratching an itch, ironing out a disorderly mountain of wrinkly clothing into a neat, tidy stack is strangely calming.

But some blokes out there have adopted a very unusual and incredibly precarious method for smoothing out their collars and sleeves.

These athletes are called extreme ironers, daredevils that the Extreme Ironing Bureau—yes, that is a real thing—say “combine the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

If you are in need of an easy laugh, definitely Google search “extreme ironing.” Each photo that pops up looks like a still from a Monty Python movie. Whether they’re skiing down the French Alps, pulling off the splits between two nauseatingly tall cliff formations or group skydiving, these athletes will take their trusty ironing boards pretty much anywhere, no matter how absurd the context.

There is no clear consensus on the sport’s exact origin, but some claim that extreme ironing was created by an English lad named Tony Hiam in the 1980s. It started off as a joke: After his brother-in-law, John Slater, brought an iron and board on a family camping trip, Hiam was inspired to parody him by raising the stakes, lugging his ironing board to mountainsides and public phone booths for the better part of the decade.

But the sport didn’t take off until rock-climbing enthusiast Phil Shaw, nicknamed “Steam,” attempted to bring the sport into the mainstream in the late ’90s. To popularize the sport, Shaw went on an international tour to promote extreme ironing, helping to establish the 1st Extreme Ironing World Championships in 2001.

Since then, participation numbers have grown dramatically, and it seems that every year an impressive record is broken. Press on, ironers!


Sometimes, we must bear the weight of our partner’s problems, helping them overcome painful burdens. 

But what about real physical weight? Could you depend on your partner to literally put you on their back and carry you through slippery mud pits, up steep slopes and over intimidating hurdles?  

If you’re that brave and trusting of a soul, wife carrying, an old Finnish tradition from the 19th century, is the perfect physical litmus test for your relationship. (Check out the official site for the entire backstory and rules.)

Shin Kicking

A good kick to the shin can topple even the sturdiest of giants.

Outside the schoolyard, shin kicking is a defensive staple of fighting styles like Muay Thai and Dutch kickboxing—a simple yet extremely painful move that whittles down an opponent’s will to stand.

However, it is a risky move that often hurts the attacker more than the receiver. Just check out Silva’s leg. Ouch!

As if UFC fighters weren’t crazy enough, there is a real shin-kicking competition that attracts thousands of people each year, and it looks as bonkers as it sounds.

Like wife carrying, shin kicking has been around well before any of us were born. Invented in England around the 17th century by Robert Dover, it has been deemed an English martial art and was repopularized by the 1951 revival of the old-world Cotswold Olimpick Games.

Watching the players prep for their oddball fights is pretty damn entertaining too. In one video, competitors frantically stuff handfuls of straw down their pant legs, sometimes wrapping their slipshod attempts at proper protection with duct tape and string.

According to the competition’s organizer, Robert Wilson, the original shin kickers used to whack hammers against their shins and practice with steel-toed boots to increase their pain tolerance. I think that’s a hard pass for us here at ONE37pm.

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