Feature – The World’s Most Bizarre and Unknown Sports


Football, rugby, tennis, cricket… don’t these sports just feel a little mundane after a while? It’s all we ever see on TV or read about and I feel like it’s about time we put the focus on some of the more obscure sporting activities out there. Here is the most wonderfully random list of sports; I hope you enjoy and maybe even find a little inspiration for a new hobby!

Extreme Ironing

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as dangling off a cliff-side whilst pressing out the creases in a shirt, am I right? No? Well that’s what the members of Extreme Ironing think, or EI if you’re ‘in the know’. The premise is simple –  go outside, bring your iron, a shirt and an ironing board, get yourself into a daring and thrilling situation and well, start ironing. The situations people find themselves in during this sport vary dramatically, from hanging off a cliff-side to chilling in the rush of Times Square or even underwater – which I don’t quite understand the logistics of but fair play.

Pumpkin Kayaking

The annual Windsor Pumpkin Regatta is a sport like no other. Contestants climb inside giant brightly decorated pumpkins and race half a mile across Lake Pesaquid, in Canada. The event began in 1999 and has increasingly gained popularity over the years, helped by celebrity entries into the race such as Martha Stewart. A story to inspire you a bit closer to home, however, is artist Dmitri Galitzine‘s 2013 expedition across the Solent in a giant pumpkin boat. Maybe we could create a Southampton Pumpkin Kayaking Society?

Chess Boxing

The title spells it out really, the members of this sport combined the two very different activities of ‘chess’ and ‘boxing’ to produce a hybrid activity. I know it sounds like they really shouldn’t mix, and yet they do, and as a result the sport is quite intense. There are 11 alternating rounds in total. All the chess rounds must be played within 9 minutes for each player, which sounds incredibly difficult. To win, you must either knockout your opponent, checkmate them in the game or hope the clock runs out on them and the judge rules in your favour.

Cheese Rolling

Only in Gloucester would rolling cheese down a giant hill and chasing it be considered a traditional sport. Every year on the last Monday in May, residents, visitors and spectators gather in their masses at Coopers Hill, near Birdlip, to keep up this pre-Roman tradition of chasing cheese. To win, all you must do is catch up with the cheese rolling down the hill at 70mph – easy enough right? Whether you aim to win or not, entering this sport should be something for the bucket list even if it’s just to say you’ve taken part in it one year.


The sport of shin-kicking just sounds like an average day in my house growing up with four older brothers. If only I had known then the potential I had to take this to a professional level. Two contenders must face each other on the battleground and kick each other as hard and as frequently as they can in the shins. The winners is decided based on how many points are scored or if someone surrenders.

Cardboard Tube Fighting

There’s even a whole league for this sport; Cardboard Tube Fighters do not mess around! The group is a global organisation which hosts events all across America and Australia and they even have a brilliant motto – ‘Training elite militias of cardboard tube wielding ninjas’ – which you have to admit is pretty epic. During the match two contestants go head to head and have to break each other’s tubes without breaking their own, which is where the real difficulty comes in.

Wok Racing

Who says woks have to stay in the kitchen? This sport was developed by a German TV Host and basically involves sitting inside a giant wok and sledging down Olympic bobsled tracks. You don’t just have to go it alone either, as there are competitions for four person teams to participate. The first official Wok World Championships came to life in 2003 and was an immediate success, resulting in bigger and better competitions every year. The woks aren’t really anything particularly special either, they are usually just standard ones ordered in from China with the bottoms reinforced with epoxy filling. What makes this sport even better is that the athletes also wear ladles under their feet!

Toe Wrestling

Yeah this is as ridiculous and bizarre as it sounds. Think of a thumb war…but with your toes. I know it’s odd but hey, maybe it’s worth still giving it a go, something to bond over with your housemates and who knows, you might even unveil a hidden talent.


Former English Student | Travel Editor 2016-17 |Current MSc. International Politics | Editor at Wessex Scene for 2017-18.

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