Enjoy These 10 Weird And Unique Sports From Around The World!
Published on January 24, 2024
Credit: Austris Augusts
Like every single aspect of this modern, ever-changing world, the realm of sports has gradually but radically changed over time. Gone are the days of leather gridiron helmets, basketball peach baskets, or those heavy, wooden bats swung by Babe Ruth. However, while the way they are played might change, the excitement and determination that fueled these sports over the centuries still remain the same.
We have gathered 10 of the most unique, eccentric, and down-right weird sports and competitions from all around the world. Some are new, some are old, but they all share the same grit and thrill that makes the sports you know and love great. Who knows? You might end up with a new favorite after this list.
Credit: Johann Walter Bantz
In a very similar fashion to the visionary that made the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chessboxing is the result of combining two sports that shouldn’t go well together, but oddly enough they do. A chessboxing match consists of alternating three-minute rounds of chess and boxing, starting and ending with chess. Victory might be achieved through knock-out in boxing or checkmate in chess.
The origins of chessboxing are disputed, but most fans agree that it was first conceived by French comic book artist Enki Bilal in a 1992 comic. Inspired by this, Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh held the first chessboxing event in Berlin in 2003 and went on to become the first world chessboxing champion that same year.
Credit: Mia Anderson
Some dogs love water. Anyone who has seen a golden retriever galloping happily through a beach can attest to this. What you might not know is that man’s best friend has been riding waves alongside surfers for almost 100 years. As its name implies, dog surfing is a sport practiced by dogs trained to ride a surfboard or a bodyboard, either alone or with a human. The first documented instances can be traced back to California and Hawaii in the 1920s, and in 1944, the image of a surfing dog named Rusty was published in National Geographic magazine. More recently, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in California has held since 2006 the largest dog surfing competition in the United States.
Credit: Kristof Zerbe
It might be a little misleading to consider hobbyhorsing a sport. Since it involves riding a toy horse through several obstacles that simulate those used in real riding competitions, a more accurate description might be that of a childish pastime or, well, a hobby. Having said that, it should be noted that Finland, hobbyhorsing’s country of origin, holds several regional competitions as well as an annual national championship. It is particularly popular with girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 18 years.
Lumberjack World Championship
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Every year, the city of Hayward, Wisconsin, receives over 100 lumberjacks, loggers, and sawyers eager to prove the steel of their axes in the Lumberjack World Championship. Participants compete in 21 events, including a 60-foot speed climb, logrolling (keeping balance on a spinning log floating on water), and chopping down timber. Over $50,000 is awarded in prize money to the winners of the different events, and the lumberjack that scored the most points is crowned as the Tony Wise All-Around Champion, named after the founder of the championship.
Credit: Clark Tai
In 2017, two former military pool instructors, Prime Hall and Don Tran, founded the Underwater Torpedo League. In this new sport they created, teams of five players try to get ahold of a rubber torpedo and place it on the other team’s goal on the other side of the pool. In the few years since its creation, Underwater Torpedo has taken social media by storm and resulted in a national tournament known as the "Aqua Bowl."
Credit: Alejandro Alas
That little piggy might have gone to the market, but this one became a wrestling machine. Toe Wrestling was created in the 70s by a group of friends drinking in a pub in Staffordshire, England. Similarly to arm wrestling, toe wrestling involves two players locking their toes and then trying to pin their rival’s foot. Since 1994, the annual World Toe Wrestling Championship has been held in the English county of Derbyshire.
Credit: Shwa Hall
Here’s a bit of advice for all happy couples thinking about tying the knot this year: You might want to add the line "I promise to carry my spouse through the Finnish countryside in an annual competition" to your vows. Trust us, this might come in handy if you ever decide to join the Wife Carrying World Championship, held every year in Sonkajärvi, Finland, since 1992.
The wife-carrying contest (known as eukonkanto in Finland) is a race in which husbands carry their wives through several obstacles. The male contestants might carry their wives in a classic piggy-back, a fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or on what’s known as an Estonian carry, with the wife held upside-down on the back, with her legs over the neck and shoulders of her husband. The winners of the Sonkajärvi World Championship are traditionally awarded the wife’s weight in beer.
Credit: Immo Wegmann
The most widely accepted origin for this sport tells the story of Phil Shaw, a resident of Leicester, England, who, in 1997, came back home after a long day of work only to find a pile of clothes that needed to be ironed. Being an avid rock climber, Shaw decided to combine both activities by carrying his ironing board all the way up a rock climbing wall. And on that date, extreme ironing was born: after that first rock climbing wall, thousands of enthusiasts carried their ironing boards up mountains, skyscrapers, and canyons. Some have even ironed their clothes while parachuting or bungee jumping.
Those endless hours mowing the lawn under your dad’s unyielding gaze might have finally paid off. In lawnmower racing competitions, participants race in modified lawnmowers through a closed circuit. While the lawnmowers keep their original engines, the blades are obviously removed for safety. Several U.S. states hold their own races, but perhaps the most well-known is the Twelve Mile 500, held every year on Independence Day in Twelve Mile, Indiana.
Credit: Markus Spiske
You might know this traditional Scottish sport as it has been portrayed in several forms of media. The Caber toss is normally practiced in the Scottish Highland games, and it consists of throwing the titular caber (a large, wooden pole that weighs between 90 and 150 pounds) so that it falls on its other end. The distance thrown is not important, but rather that it falls away from the thrower. When it comes to scoring, the straightest toss wins the most points, with the "12 o'clock" position (directly opposite from the thrower) being awarded the maximum score.