THE WORLD'S WEIRDEST SPORTS From Wife Carrying to Chess Boxing

The world is a weird and amazing place. I don’t need to convince you of this. Just check out these truly bizarre and fantastic sporting events from around the world.


Chess Boxing
You know how boxing is often referred to as “the sweet science” due to its counter-intuitive, thinking-man’s nature? Well now it’s evolved into a whole new beast. Inspired by a comic book moment, this performance art piece turned beloved sport is pretty much what you think it is. Participants alternate 11 rounds between boxing and chess in this truly challenging hybrid. You can win by checkmate or knockout; if neither happen, he who scored the most points in the boxing matches wins. If it’s still a tie, whoever played with the black pieces wins…for some reason.


Extreme Ironing
This is not a joke. Competitors known as “ironists” travel to obscure and dangerous locations with their ironing boards in tow to perform this menial task in a crazy way. Previous ironists have performed their feats underwater, while rock-climbing, on the back of a cow, while parachuting, and while strapped to the back of an NYC yellow cab. While there is some debate about whether it’s truly a sport or not, the participants are pretty convinced it is. In fact, the Extreme Ironing Bureau (yes it’s a real thing), describes extreme ironing as "the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”


Wife Carrying
Looking for a sport in which you can (literally) bond with your wife? You’ve come to right place. If you’ve come to Finland that is, which is where this now international sport first began. The objective is for a man to carry his wife through an obstacle course at least 253.5 meters long with two water and one dry obstacles. You can carry your wife however you like, and there’s a fifteen second penalty for dropping her. The winning team gets the wife’s weight in beer. If you’re interested in qualifying for the Annual World Championship in Sonkajärvi, Finland, I suggest starting with the North American Wife Carrying Championship which is held every Columbus Day weekend in Maine.


Beard and Mustache Championships
I once went backpacking around Anchorage, Alaska and when I went into town I was shocked by the insane array of comical beards and mustaches. Little did I know, I’d missed an international beard competition by just a few days. If you’re rocking a beard, consider at least shooting for a participation trophy before you shave it all.


Pumpkin Regatta
Sure it’s one thing to build a canoe, but it’s another to race around a lake in a giant pumpkin. Participants gather for these grand conventions with giant pumpkins they’ve carved and race between piers. As it turns out, pumpkins are surprising buoyant but that also makes them difficult to stay fully upright. There are numerous contests around the world (most notably in Oregon and Nova Scotia), and yet for all their seemingly applicable skills and aesthetic sensibilities, hobbits have yet to participate.


Shin Kicking
No longer just a pastime of older brothers, Shin Kicking has in fact been around as an official sport for over 400 years. The Official Shin Kicking World Championships have been held all this time in Dover Hill in Gloucestershire, England. Two participants hold each other’s shoulders and attempt to bring their opponent to the ground (one point per fall) simply by kicking him in the shins. The man with the most points after 3 rounds wins. And contenders are allowed to stuff their pants with straw…for all the good that will do.

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