In a world filled with routine football championships, predictable basketball games, and dull soccer matches that can sometimes feel a bit over-rehearsed, why not change it up a bit and take a gander into the bizarre world of weird sports?
Anything with its own dedicated page on Wikipedia has to be authentic, right? Well at least, in this case, it's very much an authentic sport that's been going strong for at least 30 years!
Somehow, someone managed to take this household activity and take it to the extreme, smoothing out wrinkles while paragliding, skydiving, and even hanging from cliff sides. Who said ironing wasn't tough?
Giant Pumpkin Kayaking
Have you ever thought of kayaking down a river while riding in a pumpkin? Neither did we, but someone in Nova Scotia did back in 1999 and now it's a well-known race called Giant Pumpkin Kayaking.
Ever since its inception, this water-borne craft has garnered the interest of fall fruit enthusiasts from all over the world, where they meet up in Canada to watch or even participate in the regatta.
Some people might say that competitive eating isn't just a sport; it's the only sport. Some participants take this so seriously, they even risk their own health for a chance at the title.
All we know is that the strange combination involving food and our baser instincts for survival proves to be quite a horrific display, and yet, we can't look away.
Mud-Pit Belly Flopping
Maybe you're a little like us and can't help but wonder “is this necessary and why does it even exist?”
We sure live in a wonderful world. From the graceful swan dives on the Olympic stage to the belly flops into a mud-pit, we really are spoiled with choices when it comes to spectator sports.
Like most features on our list, you'll be forgiven for not having a clue what this sport is and why anyone would want to participate in it. Isn't polo already difficult enough?
But of course, someone just had to add in another level of technical intricacy to this tricky game and decided to throw in a unicycle.
Firstly, why didn't we think of this? And secondly, where do we sign up? Sleeping for a prize sounds interesting. What are the rules and how would they even choose a winner?
Typically, participants are judged by how quickly they can doze off into deep sleep while in a busy public space, like a mall or a park close to nearby traffic.
This strange and somewhat unusual sport began in Australia. Maybe it started as a dare or someone just felt the urge to throw their catch of the day back where it came from?
All we know is that the most successful participants stick to the hammer throwing technique, which involves spinning around while holding the tail and then releasing your fresh catch of tuna.
Have you ever seen a bunch of men trying to dominate each other with only their toes? Toe wrestling is exactly what you'd imagine it to be, a tussle between toes in an awkward attempt to pin each other down.
Sounds straightforward and simple, right? Think of it as similar to arm wrestling, except it's much more clumsy and even unsightly.
It might seem laughable, but when we took a little step back, we realized how noble this cheese race actually is...
Chasing a hefty wheel of cheese down the hill involves a trifling trickle of skill and a tremendous amount of risk. The first person to reach the bottom of a steep hill is awarded the cheese as their prize.
Mud Cow Racing
Some people may describe this sport as "Too chaotic to be a game, too grimy to be a sport." We're not sure who came up with that expression but all we know is that this game consists mainly of people holding onto dear life while racing through the mud.
It's kind of like skiing in a swamp, but also while riding a Malaysian cow.
In truly medieval fashion, this sport harkens back to a time where men took women from villages, and while many would consider this sport to be a joke, the competitors take it very seriously.
The aim is for men to carry their wives through special obstacles in the fastest time. The sport was first introduced in Finland, but it has since reached the Western shores of America to the Eastern coasts of Australia.
When you see fire-ball being played, you'll either wish you had your chance at competing despite the burning pain that accompanies a well-executed goal, or you'll wonder what on earth these people were thinking.
Surprisingly, many people are eager to show their bravery, which begs the question, should we also try something a little more daring? Maybe another time...
The technical game of chess involves strategic skill and precise rules that would be enough to elicit excitement for some. But why not add a little bit of fighting in the ring to get everyone's pulse racing?
That's exactly why chess boxing was created we guess. A bit of savagery to a perfectly respectful board game. It works by just alternating between a regular game of chess and a match of boxing.
If we've learned anything from watching nature documentaries, it's that wild animals and mother nature should not be trifled with, and that includes alligators, with their razor-sharp teeth and insanely strong grip.
These make alligator wrestling especially dangerous because you're not just competing with other wrestlers, but with Mother Nature herself.
Hurling a massive tree trunk is an athletic event that is quite possibly one of the most macho sports the Scots could indulge in. And without fail, they still do this every year.
What's more, participants probably have to eat haggis afterward, which many will admit, is almost as painful, but still many perform admirably.
Though it might sound like the plot of a new segment on a late-night talk show, shin-kicking is an actual sport with willing participants who are not afraid to get really hurt while being watched by a crowded audience.
While many of us would shudder at the thought; there are those daring enough to try a stint of shin-kicking. Even though they wrap a pant leg full of straw, being kicked in the shins still sounds like a pastime we'd prefer to avoid.
Kabaddi as a sport is deeply saturated in Indian tradition, but in the past few years has since further spread throughout Southeast Asia.
The game participants hold their breath while raiding into their rival's territory and touching as many opponent players as possible.
When we imagine the idyllic countryside of Finland, hobby horsing is not the first thing that might come to mind. This strange competition does have some merit though, it's quirky, safe, and in true Scandinavian fashion, it's good for kids.
This game is wildly reminiscent of equestrian sport, save for the fact that there are no horses involved, just kids running through a series of obstacles and hurdles while holding onto their hobby horse.
In general, some physical activity is better than nothing; and this weird competition combines three different sports! Originally hailing from Spain, this weird blend of activities involves volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics.
For the uninitiated, Bossaball might seem more like something of funfair of acrobatics than an actual sport, but it's actually taken very seriously in and around Europe.
There's no magic pill to living a long and healthy life. But many will agree that living well into your old age will require a deliberate approach to staying active and safe while doing so.
Zorbing is not that! This sport is much more of a recreational pastime and involves getting in a transparent plastic orb and rolling down a hill at an incredible speed.
Throwing an egg is not that unusual, we've probably dabbled in a prank here and there, but what's really strange is certifying egg-throwing as an actual sport.
Throwing eggs to your teammate without them breaking to win a prize at the end sounds like an odd way to spend one's time, but then again, so are most of the features on this list.
While most racing events involve all kinds of vehicles, from chariots to monster trucks, this one involves a lawnmower and leaving your opponents in a flurry of dust.
Just watching this 500-mile race through Indiana will leave you with the eery feeling of being caked in dust.
What started as an unusual approach to canoeing has somehow grown into one of the most celebrated racing sport.
With competing in various events, this sport is one way to repurpose your old bathtub. From bathtubs that are propelled by motor bathtubs to those powered by paddles, the possibilities are endless.
Maybe they’ve been racing cockroaches for centuries but all we can say is these strange events seems to be the sport of choice for many.
Or at least, more than we'd ever thought possible.
Boy, to think that someone losing their rubber duck down a river will one day turn into an annual event held all around the world is quite a funny turn of events.
Nowadays, the game has hundreds of competitors, who write their names underneath their yellow rubber duck and wait as their miniature waterbird reaches the finish line. The first yellow duck to reach the finish line wins.
The Slap Game
Is this aptly named 'Slap Game' even a real sport? Consider this another encounter with the uncanny. With no committee or governing body overseeing this sport, it's truly a game of roguery that's played in different countries with slight variations for prizes.
All you need are two players willing to get walloped on their face. They take turns trying to flip each other's origami squares and slapping the other person if they succeed.
Beard and Mustache Sport
Advocates for facial hair all around the world gather and try their hardest to style their lengthy facial hair into elaborate displays, showcasing just how creative they can be.
The first-ever Beard and Mustache Championship was held in 1990 in Germany and is still going strong with competitions taking place every two years in a different country.
This one seems rather surprising, even considering the topic of this whole article. This event is held every year and entails launching little apples from the picturesque bridge in Huonville and watching them race 300 meters down the river.
As with every respectable race, the owner of the first apple to cross the line wins.
World Gurning Contest
‘Gurning’ means to make a strange facial expression – in other words, to ‘pull a face.’ And this is a competition where the ugliest facial expression wins. While it might be an easy job for some, it isn't exactly a competition that we would be proud of winning.
There is one man, though, who is considered a legend when it comes to ‘gurning’ and his name is Tommy Mattinson, he's won the World Championship 16 times!
The urban version of golf involves playing on the streets as opposed to normal golf courses, with 18 holes spread across a city environment such as an industrial site, school, or even on the streets.
Players also opt for softer balls, like tennis or squash balls since golf balls can be quite harmful when hit throughout a densely populated environment.
If you ever find yourself exploring the small town of Llanwrtyd Wells of Wales (unlikely) you might want to check out their annual bog snorkeling contest.
The only similarity shared between regular snorkeling and this contest is the equipment. In this contest, swimmers dash through a 120-yard of muddy marshland while only using flippers to race through the waters.
Though many would argue that this is not an actual sport, it is considered one in most Asian countries as its movements are often found in martial arts.
While wearing an elaborately designed lion costume, performers mimic a lion's movements and dance to a vigorous drum beat.
The nut inside the shell of the horse chestnut tree is known as a conker and by now you must be wondering what could this game possibly be? The game was first played in the UK as a game in which each conker is threaded onto a piece of string, players compete by trying to break each other's conker by repeatedly striking it with their own.
This game has grown into a worldwide sensation and currently, it is practiced in many countries.
Tuk Tuk Polo
Polo was always the recreational activity enjoyed by kings, khans, and sultans, but in more modern times, it has since evolved to include motorized rickshaws, otherwise known as Tuk-Tuks!
This tricycle built as a vehicle is a universal feature of the South Asian landscape. It is a taxicab named after the putt-putt of its two-stroke exhaust.
This sport was first chronicled in the popular Harry Potter book series, and in 2005, a bunch of students at Middlebury College in Vermont invented the real-life or "Muggle" version, which combines elements of rugby, hockey, and a dash of dodgeball.
The game has become popular all across the states with fans calling the game "muggle quidditch."
Horse vs. Man Marathon
Like many of history's more interesting races, this marathon initially began as a way to settle an argument back in the late 70s when Welsh locals wondered who would in a race — a man or a horse...
Ever since its inception, an annual 22-mile (35.4 km) marathon has been held in this Welsh Town, with both horses and men competing. Only on two occasions had men as victors, but usually, horses win the race.
“Sepak” stands for kick and “Takraw” means woven ball in the Thai language of Malaysia. This is basically what this game is about: a volleyball game with three players on each side using high-kicks and lots of jumping.
The sport of 'Sepak Takraw' has grown so much that it now holds competitions with teams from over a hundred different countries.
Think of Octo-push as a sport that combines swimming and hockey, basically, it's just underwater hockey. Most of the equipment is a little different, though. For instance, a puck weighs three pounds, making it more manageable to push underwater.
Despite being around for many years, this sport still hasn't gained major popularity.
Also known as far-leaping, this Dutch sport is like pole vaulting, but instead of being vaulted across a stable surface in an arena, competitors hurl themselves over a random river.
What's truly remarkable about this sport is the extreme distances they jump; with some vaulters reaching up to 70 feet!
Isn't it just so unlike Japan to invent a weird sport with no particular goal? In this pole toppling game, a swarm of 75 players tackles each other to defend their unbidden flags.
This game is mostly played on school sports days or as an induction ceremony for cadets when they're accepted into the National Defence Academy of Japan.
Seeing as pancakes are universally considered as delicious, why not create a sport out of it? That's exactly what some must have thought when they decided to spoil this plate of syrupy goodness with exercise.
Competitors here are given a pan and a fluffy flat cake of batter, and while running down a street they need to flip their breakfast discs.
Pea Shooting Championships
Dozens of people, literally, gather in the small village every year to compete in this World Championship that involves competitors shooting peas as far as they possibly can.
Surprisingly, this silly sport has a crowned champion that enjoys little more than bragging rights to being the best pea-shooter in Witcham, England.
Volcano boarding is as dangerous as it sounds, even though it mainly involves just sitting as you sled down a hill. Because of the potential dangers that any volcano poses (like rough volcanic ash and poisonous gases) participants always wear their protective gear.
But really, is it even considered a sport if people aren't sticking to some safety rules while dodging flying molten lava?
Wheelbarrow racing might seem like more of a game at your local fair than a competitive sport. These are often conducted in pairs, with one driver, and the other either riding in a wheelbarrow or playing the wheelbarrow themselves.
In Kenya, they even have a race called “To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow”, which was named after the national park that hosts the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. Funds are then raised for conservation efforts for the park.
In Thailand, they like to race Buffalo, and this sport is exactly what it seems; racing a dangerous animal for the fun of it. With a racetrack of about 150 meters, it's actually a pretty quick race.
Many tourists love to watch the races, but considering the potential risks of this race, they never compete.
Log Rolling Contests
Log-rolling contests have two participants keeping their balance while on top of a floating log, and if that wasn't tricky enough, they also try pushing their opponent off without making any physical contact.
Players can win by repeatedly tilting the log, making their opponent suddenly change direction and hopefully fall off.
Bubble Soccer Matches
In this quirky sport, players are half-encased in a huge inflatable bubble, covering most of their upper body.
Other than that, the game is played like a typical soccer game, with five players per team. Not only is this sport incredibly fun to play, but it's also absolutely hilarious to watch!
Also known as 'cycleball', this sport is basically a game of soccer played on bicycles. There is a catch, however, and it's that you're not actually allowed to use your hands or feet — you can only use your bicycle to touch the ball.
What's more, the bikes used in this game have absolutely no brakes installed, so good luck!
This weird sport is also known as 'punkin chunkin' and requires participants to hurl pumpkins through the sky as far as they possibly can, while only using a mechanical device.
The devices used are usually homemade and often vary greatly from one participant to another. Some might prefer catapults, while others would rather use giant slingshots.
Exercise and alcohol don't usually make for a good blend. Well, beer milers would beg to differ it seems! Racers chug down a beer before embarking on each lap of this race.
After four laps, and a significant amount of beer, the fastest runner will be crowned the winner! We're pretty sure that more beers will follow in celebration.
Clay Pigeon Shooting
Don't fret! No pigeons are harmed while this peculiar sport is played. Luckily for pigeons, the shooting targets have been replaced with clay discs. The sport is more aptly referred to as clay target shooting.
Participants aim to shoot clay discs that are being hurled into the air. It sounds simple, however, the sport can become quite complex with multiple clay targets being thrown into the air from different directions simultaneously.
It's hard to believe that someone had the idea to make boxing even more dangerous. Apparently, the threat of getting punched in the face just isn't enough of an adrenaline rush for some people!
The rules are simple. Participate in a regular boxing match, while holding your breath submerged in water. Each round lasts a minute of breath-holding and then players can take a much-needed gulp of air.
The players of this sport do not take themselves too seriously. Dressed in costumes, teams will turn an ordinary shopping cart into an outlandish racing vehicle.
These creative carts are pushed through busy city streets with the aim of getting ahead of the competition. This is also the only sport where bribing the judges is not only accepted but encouraged!
Robot Camel Racing
Yes, you read that correctly. While the camel remains a camel, it's the jockey that gets the robotic upgrade. In an attempt to avoid the potential physical risks that human jockeys face when racing camels, robotic versions have been introduced into the sport.
The robots are modeled with human-like features and are sometimes dressed in similar materials that jockeys would wear. This is to keep the camels un-spooked and comfortable with their humanoid riders.
This annual event brings together timber enthusiasts from around the world to participate in arguably the strangest log-centric sport. It's known as "Boom running". No, it's not running away from a booming sound.
Participants have to race across several logs tied together floating in the water, referred to as a "boom", without stumbling.
You'll need a good dose of speed, balance, and a strong spoon grip to play this sport. We're talking about the egg-and-spoon race. Instead of eating the eggs with a spoon, racers will plop and egg on the eating utensil and race to the finish line.
The aim is to not let the egg drop from the spoon. If you do, you'll be egg-ceptionally disappointed!
The rules are straightforward. Drop a few sticks into a stream while standing on the bridge and watch which stick reaches downstream first. If you made the connection between "Winnie the Pooh" and the name of the sport, you were spot on. The game was featured in an early Pooh adventure!
People take this simple stick sport very seriously. There's even the World Poohsticks Championship that's allowed people to showcase their stick racing abilities since 1984!
Regarded as an 'endurance sport', ferret-legging requires players to put ferrets in their pantlegs and well...see how long they can stand it. Whoever keeps the ferrets in their pants for the longest duration, wins.
Perhaps "ants in my pants" could follow suit and become the next pant-based sport?
Solo Synchronised Swimming
You may be asking yourself, "How can a solo swimmer be synchronized?" Well, that's what makes this sport so strange. The sport of synchronized swimming is usually associated with a group of underwater athletes performing a perfectly synchronized routine.
In solo synchronized swimming, the performer synchronizes with the music and shows off their individual strengths and skills.
Milk Carton Regatta
This sporting spectacle makes for the perfect recycled race. Participants use discarded milk bottles and cartons to build vessels of any shape and size. The more creative the better!
The 'boats' are used to compete in several competitions, with one team claiming a milk-made victory!
Jeu de Paume
Commonly known as "real tennis", jeu de paume refers to a form of tennis that originated in France in the 11th century. Players would use their bare hands or eventually padded gloves to hit a ball back and forth to one another. There was no tennis racket insight.
If this version of tennis ever makes a comeback, players won't be able to dramatically break their rackets to show their disdain for an umpire's call. Now, where's the fun in that?
While ostriches may lack the ability to fly, their powerful legs make them the fastest two-legged animal on the planet. It's no wonder then that they've been used to race.
Ostrich riders can reach speeds of up to 60mph on the backs of these flightless feathered creatures.
Kissing competitions take place across the globe. Most notably in Italy and China, couples/competitors have been to known lock lips for hours at a time to see who can keep kissing for the longest period of time. It's no easy feat considering a person uses up to 34 facial muscles during a smooch session. It's a workout!
Let's just hope breath mints are mandatory before the start of every competition.
The sport involves two horses and horse riders, racing towards each other with long lances. Sounds very safe! Along with swords and heavy armor, we think that the dangerous sport of jousting should stay in the middle ages where it belongs. Luckily, these days, jousting usually only appears at medieval-themed events and not in a mainstream sporting arena.
However, there are many jousting enthusiasts out there who wish to keep the sport alive and kicking. Horse-pun intended.
Who knew surfing could get any cooler? Just pop a dog on your surfboard and off you go.
You can compete with your four-legged friend on your board with you. Alternatively, (even cuter) your dog can surf solo! Dog-surfing competitions have gained popularity over the past few years. What can't our canine companions do?
This sport is a slam dunk! It's a mix of basketball and displays of acrobatic tricks. Players bounce off of trampolines placed by basketball nets. The aim is to slam dunk a ball in the opposing team's net by using the trampolines to gain height and power.
It's the perfect arena for athletes to show off their basketball skills along with their gymnastic agility.
Guizhou (Single Bamboo Drifting)
What started out as a means of transport during high flooding, has now become a Chinese national sport.
Bamboo drifters need to have exceptional balance and stability in order to compete. Players will balance and race on a single bamboo log. Smaller bamboo logs can also be held by drifters to help stay stable and propel themselves forward.
No this isn't a sport invented by pop icon Lady Gaga. It's gaga ball! Think of it as dodge ball's kinder cousin. All you need is an octagonal pit, a soft foam ball, and some friends. The aim of the game is to avoid getting struck by the ball.
We would, however, always be open to playing any sport that Lady Gaga invents!
Cardboard Tube Fighting League
I think we've all struggled to find a good use for the cardboard tube that you find at the end of your toilet paper roll. If you're keen on low-risk combat and recycling then this sport might be for you!
Players compete by dueling with cardboard tubes and often dress in cardboard armor. The player whose cardboard tube breaks first loses.
If you're eager to test you're physical strength and agility in a close contact sport, just get greased up and head to Turkey!
You may be wondering why these wrestlers douse themselves in oil or grease. It actually levels up the competition, as the slippery substance makes it very difficult to grab and get a hold of the opponent.
It's time to upgrade your friendly snowball fight to a snow battle, a.k.a Yukigassen! The Japanese snow sport consists of two opposing teams, two flags, and 90 snowballs.
The purpose of the game is to acquire the opposite team's flag without getting pelted by snowballs. For paintball lovers, this is a winter wonderland.
Plunge for Distance
You might be familiar with this sport if you played it as a child. The objective is to dive into a pool and see how far you can glide without moving your arms and legs. Well, it's actually a full-fledged sport. It was even recognized as an Olympic sport... for one year in 1904.
While its recognition as an Olympic sport may have been short-lived, the glides of the divers must have been impressively long.
Counting sheep is not just a sleeping tactic, it's recognized as a sport in Australia! The rules are pretty simple. Hundreds of sheep race past the participants who aim to count the exact number of sheep in the flock.
Whoever gets the most accurate count is crowned the champion. It's safe to say that the losers probably feel quite...sheepish!
While sporthocking is referred to as "extreme sitting", this German sport is anything but relaxing! It has players performing all sorts of physical stunts and tricks using a rubber-based stool.
Sporthockers will only take a seat on the stool once completing their routine. The more tricks performed before taking a seat the better.
What do you get when you mix gun powder, metal discs (tejos), and beer? The Colombian sport of tejo!
A tejo board is made up of a metal circle (bocin) surrounded by triangle-shaped containers packed with gunpowder (mecha). Players toss tejos towards the board with the aim of hitting the bocin and a mecha. A tejo hitting a mecha causes a small but exciting explosion, which earns players more points. The game is best enjoyed with friends over a few beers.
Pillow Fight League
If you thought you were safe from pillow fights since growing out of sleepovers, you're wrong! Pillow fighting has become a legitimate sport. There was even a semi-professional pillow fighting league in Toronto for a while.
More recently it seems that professional pillow fighting is back with a vengeance. The appeal? It has all the intrigue of a physical fight without anyone actually getting badly injured. Win-win!
Giving new meaning to the term 'bed-ridden', bed racing has been around since the '60s. Competitors in teams of six race together using wheeled beds, that must be decorated and themed, over an almost 2-mile distance.
What's great about this sport is that when the race is over, competitors have a place to rest right there!
Also referred to as "Greasy Pole", players in Indonesia climb tall tree trunks to grab one of the prizes placed precariously at the very top.
The problem? The trunk is greased down in oil, which makes climbing far more of a challenge! That's what makes this sport so interesting to watch.
When you pair a shovel and snow, what usually comes to mind? The chore of clearing your driveway in the winter months? Think again!
Shovel racing is the sport where you sit on a snow shovel and race down a snowy slope. On the humble shovel, you can reach speeds of up to 70 miles an hour!