Home > Travel Tips > The world’s weirdest sports!

The world’s weirdest sports!

The dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. And in most of our minds, that definition probably conjures up images of Thursday night netball games, weekend footy practice and large-scale events like the State of Origin, AFL Grand Final and the Olympics.

But that’s definitely not the case for many of the ‘creatively active’ types who practice their moves (whatever they are) in a decidedly unique way.

Most of these are probably best for spectating, peoples! 

Bed racing

Embraced by the jolly folk in the UK’s North Yorkshire, this competitive silliness revolves around two teams of five pushing a four-wheeled bed-like structure across three kilometres of rocky terrain, up (and then down) a steep incline and then across a river. If you’re a lucky teamo, you get to sit up top while your mates below do all the hard work.

Bed-Racing The world’s weirdest sports!

Bog snorkeling

Yep, it’s as nasty as it sounds. The Welsh obviously love a good splash about in skanky filth, because this ‘sport’ involves propelling yourself (with the aid of flippers and a snorkel) as swiftly as possible through 55 metres of liquefied peat bog. Done Tough Mudder? Evs.

Bossaball

You loved trampolining as a kid. And even though you broke your arm at aged seven attempting a back flip to impress your sister’s BFF, you’d still give it a go today, especially if you could combine it with gymnastics, football and volleyball. Well, you’re in luck! It is actually a sport. Invented by some mad Belgian and played mainly in Spain, this is a truly bizarre way of trying to injure your (now) grown up body.

Camel Racing

Held annually in July in downtown Oz, the Alice Springs Camel Cup attracts upwards of 5,000 people from all over the globe. Belly dancers, a beauty pageant (yes, contestants must have a hump), the Honeymoon Handicap, not to mention the unpredictability of a mass of flighty beasts hurtling towards a makeshift finish line – this town sure knows how to throw a bonzer shindig.

Worlds-Weirdest-Sports The world’s weirdest sports!

Cheese Rolling

Picture this. A large wheel of cheese is rolled down a steep hill. Weird for a start, right? But then picture a mob of mad Englishmen chasing after it. And … there you have it – the skilful, appetite-inducing sport of cheese rolling. Held annually in Gloucestershire, both participant and spectator injuries are rife, but one wonders why. Due to the after-event wine tastings perhaps?

Cheese-Rolling The world’s weirdest sports!

Chess boxing

So we all know chess – the board game played with two people and 64 squares. And we know boxing – where two people fight it out with gloved fists in a roped-off ring. But chess boxing? Strangely enough, the sport does actually exist (it was invented by a Dutchman) and it’s gaining in popularity. Possibly with competitive, overly-cut geeks.

Chess-Boxing The world’s weirdest sports!

Extreme ironing

Get ready for a “danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Originating in Britain (cheers to the chore-loving geezers there), extreme ironing involves engaging your favourite electrical appliance and a wrinkly shirt or two in the most extreme locations, including under water, hanging from a cliff and snowboarding.

Ferret-legging

Another freako sport courtesy of Pommie Land (Yorkshire to be exact), this ‘endurance test’ involves placing a live ferret down one’s pants and keeping it there as long as possible. Thought to have originated from a time when only posh people were allowed to keep animals for hunting, this one’s possibly best practiced in the privacy of one’s own home.

Ferret-Legging The world’s weirdest sports!

Gurning

Forget the negative old wives’ tale about pulling faces and its wind changing consequences, this UK sport actually embraces the art of emulating a visage like a dropped pie. And it’s a serious business. According to competition organisers, “Gold-medal gurners train like Olympic champions, experimenting with different faces until they hit on a suitably ugly mug”. RBF pullers unite!

Gurning The world’s weirdest sports!

Oil wrestling

Forget the bikini-clad babes you (or your dad) may have seen in the mud wrestling competitions of the 80’s, watching a mob of oil-slathered shirtless men try and out-testosterone each other is so much more, well, continental. Otherwise known as ‘grease wrestling’, this one is actually a Turkish national sport. Chuck a slab of cheese and a few olives into the mix and you’ve got yourself a human antipasto.

Oil-Wrestling The world’s weirdest sports!

Poohsticks

Sounds gross, but this sport actually comes from decidedly adorable roots. Invented by English author A.A. Milne (he of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends), it’s a simple sport that can be played on any bridge constructed over running water. Players drop a stick on the upstream side of a bridge and whoever’s stick appears on the downstream side first wins! Whoever said sport had to involve dirty tactics?

Poohsticks The world’s weirdest sports!

Shin kicking

Upping the ante on the manliness factor, this one has been described as an English ‘martial art’ and involves, you guessed it, two contestants attempting to kick each other on the shins in order to knock the other to the ground. Originating in the 17th century, legend has it that some competitors built pain tolerance by hitting their shins with hammers, but these days combatants are required to wear padded shoes. Soft!

Wife carrying

The somewhat caveman-like sport of wife carrying originated in eastern Finland and involves male competitors lugging their female counterparts on their backs whilst negotiating an (albeit lame) obstacle course. Carrying positions include the piggyback, the fireman’s carry and the Estonian (wifey hangs upside down with her legs around his shoulders) and the winner receives his partner’s weight in beer.

Yukigassen

Sport should be fun, right? Well this one is totally over-the-top, mental fun. Originating in Hokkaido Japan, Yukigassen literally translates as ‘snow battle’. Basically, it’s an all-in, kickass, ice-celebrating snowball fight. Played with two teams of seven players, the rules are pretty basic. Get hit and you’re out. A round or two of this one and you’ll be totally chilled.

Yukigassen The world’s weirdest sports!

REFERENCES:

Other posts on the OTI Blog:

Our Top 10 Budget Travel Tips
How to Learn Japanese!
The perfect DIY First Aid Kit for Travelling
How to scam the travel scammer!