There’s nothing quite like extreme sports. They offer endless amounts of drama which is great, but sometimes we want to see something a little more unusual. And it’s safe to say that it doesn’t get any more unusual than these five listed below.
5) Chess Boxing
Chess Boxing is certainly unusual but you can’t deny the logic behind its origins. It was created by the Dutch Artist Lepe Rubingh who wanted to create the ultimate test of brains and brawn. Each match is made up of 11 rounds that alternate between the two sports. As you’d expect the rules are a little confusing, and there are a number of ways for a competitor to win. The most clear-cut is by a knockout in the ring or a checkmate on the board.
4) Catfish Grabbling
Catfish Grabbling, often referred to as Noodling, is similar to competitive fishing but with one main difference, the fisherman must use their hands. And if you’ve ever seen the size of a catfish you’ll appreciate how difficult this must be. The sport of Noodling can be very dangerous. It’s not uncommon for competitors to lose their fingers and a few have even drowned after injuries sustained way below the surface of the water prevented them from swimming to safety.
3) Extreme Ironing
The sport of extreme ironing owes a lot to the internet. Adrenaline junkies around the world love to outdo each other by posting crazy photos of their stunts online, and that’s what extreme ironing is all about. Basically the winner is the person who manages to iron in the craziest place. And extreme ironers certainly go to some crazy places, including mountains, cliff faces and the bottom of the ocean. The latest craze is to iron on the move, but we’re not talking about whilst walking round the house. It needs to be more extreme, like on top of a moving car or whilst jumping out of a plane!
2) Tar Barrels
Every year on the 5th of November the sleepy English town of Ottery St Mary is transformed into a fiery scene that wouldn’t look out of place in Lord of the Rings. Thousands of locals and visitors from across the country cram into the narrow streets and frantically try and get out of the way when a man carrying a flaming barrel of tar charges towards them.
Hundreds of years ago Ottery was just one of a number of English towns that would roll flaming barrels around the streets on bonfire night. Someone obviously decided that this was a bit boring and picked one up and ran with it on his back. It wasn’t long before a new tradition was born. Although it’s extremely dangerous injuries to participants and spectators are rare, and when they do occur they’re usually classed as minor. Ottery is a tough old town that’s for sure.
1) Land Diving
Land Diving takes the number one spot because in addition to being unusual it’s utterly stupid and without doubt the most dangerous on this list. It’s more of a ritual than a sport, but as it’s the inspiration behind bungee jumping its inclusion is definitely legitimate in my book.
The art is practiced on Pentecost Island which is part of Vanuatu, a country in the South Pacific. It sees men jump from wooden towers that can be as tall as 100 feet with vines tied to their ankles, just like you’d do with a bungee cord. But with Land Diving there’s no bouncing back up. For a jump to be considered perfect a man must get so close to the ground that he is able to touch it with his head!
Hurtling head first towards the ground at 45 mph with a couple of vines wrapped around your feet is, as you’d imagine, very dangerous. Misjudge the distance and the vines won’t stop you. Even if you do measure everything perfectly the vines can still snap. It definitely deserves the title of world’s most unusual sport on the grounds of danger alone.
Creative Commons photo by Phil