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Six Sports You Didn’t Know Existed

03 October 2022


This summer, perhaps you should try one or two of these wacky real-life sports. But be careful – especially with number four. You wouldn’t want to lose an eye to a freshly-thrown tuna… That would be embarrassing.


1. Extreme Ironing. Believe it or not, Extreme Ironing can be dangerous. According to the ‘Extreme Ironing Bureau’ (yes, there’s a bureau) it’s “a sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”. Participants position their ironing boards in precarious locations: they iron garments while underwater, on the sides of mountains, while snowboarding, and while base jumping. In 2012, the founder of the sport ran a half-marathon while wearing an ironing board and pressing garments along the way.


2. Chess-Boxing. This hybrid sport alternates between rounds of – you guessed it – boxing and chess: physical strength meets mental agility. There are professional rules and regulations: 6 rounds of chess, 5 rounds of boxing; players get trained in the art of ‘speed chess’ because each round has a strict time limit; you can be crowned the overall champion by either a knockout or a checkmate – whichever comes first.



3. Summer Redneck Games, Georgia, USA. Like a mini Olympics, this annual event was created as a tongue-in-cheek way to raise money for charity. Games included the ‘Mud Pit Belly Flop’ (biggest “splat” wins), ‘Toilet Seat Throwing’, ‘Hubcap Hurling’ and ‘Armpit Serenade’ (yep – making music with your ‘pits). People got seriously competitive and trophies were distributed.


4. Tunarama, South Australia. Giant tuna are tossed, thrown, catapulted, swung and flung through the air at this South Australian festival. It began back in the 70’s: young Port Lincoln residents would line up for their chance to prove that they had the strength to unload freshly-caught tuna from fishing boats by tossing them onto trucks. The best throwers received the most employment, and ‘tuna-tossing’ became a bragging right. Today, the festival is diverse: not in the mood for tuna? Swing a kingfish instead, or pitch a prawn.


5. Quidditch. Yes, it was originally fictitious, imagined within the Harry Potter books. Now, it’s a real-life sport played by real-life people. During a game of ‘Muggle Quidditch’, players remain firmly earthbound while running rampant on a hockey rink-sized pitch, holding broomsticks between their legs. The rules are (fairly) similar to the fictional version – the ‘quaffle’ (a slightly deflated volleyball) must be thrown through hoops which are at either end of the pitch before the ‘snitch’ is caught. The ‘snitch’ is a sock-bound tennis ball hanging from (ahem) an impartial official’s shorts…


6. Giant Pumpkin Kayaking. Held in the US, this event starts with a pumpkin weigh-off to see who has grown the most spectacular vegetable; participants then carve cockpits into them, slide inside and sail down a river. The pumpkins are surprisingly buoyant; some people choose the traditional method of manually manoeuvring their vessels with wooden paddles, while others attach high-powered mini-motors to theirs.


Go on, unleash your devilishly sporty side! Grab a tuna by the tail and fling it into the farthest corners of summer, or see how fast you can grow a dinghy-shaped squash.


By Hannah Begg