The Weirdest Sports In The World
1 Bog Snorkeling
- Origin: Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, United Kingdom
- First Played: 1976
This “sport” is played in the great outdoors. For this game, there is one single player competing for the fastest time. Each player wears flippers and a snorkel. Competitors are required to complete a swim that is 120 yards long through a peat bog. What is a peat bog, you may ask? A peat bog is a wetland that has accumulated dead plant materials.
These are often found in areas with cool weather and often have rainfall. A boat is used to clear ways for the players to be able to swim. The catch—competitors are not allowed to use their hands or arms to make any strokes. They are only allowed to use their legs, which makes the flippers a significant aspect of this game.
- Origin: Spain
- First Played: 2005
Bossaball is a mixture of many sports all rolled into one competitive game. This sport incorporates aspects of volleyball, soccer (football), and gymnastics. These sports all have unique attributions that help to make Bossaball what it is. There are two teams that will compete against one another on an inflatable trampoline, sort of like an adult version of a bouncy house. While the game is occurring, there is Bossa music playing in the background.
Bossa music is very important in Spanish countries, which is why it is associated with this game. Each opposing team is allowed to have 5 players maximum, and compete against each other across the net. The players must get the ball back over the net with five people making contact with the ball, and are allowed to use their hands, feet, and bodies to hit the ball back and forth, but they are not allowed to touch the net.
3 Cheese Rolling
- Origin: Gloucester, England
- First Played: Around the 15th century
Every year in the Spring, there is an annual cheese rolling event where competitors and supporters gather to watch this game unfold. For this game, competitors will roll a 9-pound Double Gloucester round from the top of the hill, and—get this—chase it to the bottom of the hill. To win this game, all you have to do is to be the first person across the finish line! And your prize, the 9-pound cheese round that you had just launched from the top of the hill.
The rules of the game are simple. There are 4 races that include three for men and one for women, and there is a maximum of 14 competitors per race. To begin the race, the Masters will shout the words, “One to be ready, two to be steady, three to prepare, and four to be off!” “Three to prepare” is when the racers will toss their cheese roll down the hill, and “four to be off” is when the competitors will actually be allowed to take off after their cheese rolls.
4 Competitive Sleeping
- Origin: California, United States
- First Played: 1998
Have you ever taken a nap and thought, “If this were a competition, I would definitely come in first place!” Well, not to worry! It actually can be a competition. World Sleep Championships categorize this as an “Endurance” sport. For this competition, competitors will participate in a two-week period where they will have 60 hours of actual competition.
To begin, the first 3 nights are what they call the “seeding round” and then there are 5 nights of head-to-head competition. There is also a day for competitors to use between rounds for recovery. To win this game, you must have a better sleep score than the other participants in the game.
5 Dog Surfing
- Origin: Hawaii and California, United States
- First Played: The 1920s
This game is pretty self-explanatory. Dogs will surf in 10-minute heats, which will be judged by surfing pros. The dogs are judged by the length of time they are on the boards, their wave techniques, and their behavior while on the surfboard. There are different weight classes for different breeds of dogs. Obviously, a tiny Chihuahua won’t compare to a 75-pound Pitbull. For each weight class, there will be first, second, and third place winners.
The first-place winners then move onto finals to compete for the Top Dog title. There is also a portion of the competition where dogs and their owners can compete in a Freestyle contest. In this portion, dogs can have on costumes, can perform tricks, and do many other things to be awarded points for creativity. The location of the event also has booths set up by sponsors and other businesses to sell their pet products or hold giveaways.
6 Extreme Ironing
- Origin: Leicester, England
- First Played: 1997
Picture this—you are on vacation and in a hurry to get to your destination. But wait! Your shirt needs ironed! Do you iron it while in your hotel room? No! You take that ironing board and iron with you as you head out on your excursion. Sounds pretty exciting, right? That is exactly how this competition is played. The point of this game is to have the most extreme and crazy place to iron your clothes. This game combines both the thrill that adrenaline junkies seek and the dull task of ironing.
It is usually done outside, and it is recommended that you start off doing a more non-extreme task, such as ironing on your roof. They say that the more extreme you are, the more equipment that you will need to purchase to be able to perform. The iron is required to actually be plugged in and turned on, so it does make it a little more difficult if you are planning to compete underwater.
7 Face Slapping
- Origin: Russia
- First Played: Estimated to be around 2018
We’ve all thought about wanting to give someone a good slap in the face, right? Well, grab that person (and all of your rage) and head over to the Face Slapping Championships! The rules of this competition are pretty easy. To start out, two participants will head over to a stand where the competition will take place. Each player will have a turn to slap the other person in the face. Both players will take their turns trying to conjure up the strength to lay the strongest slap.
The winner is the person who is able to take every hit by not tapping out or getting knocked out. In 2019 at the Siberian Power Show, Vasily Pelmen won his title. Pelmen also had the ever so loving nickname of “Dumpling.” Dumpling weighed in around 370 pounds and did not shy away from showing his opponents who is the boss. He ended up leaving with $470 for being the superior face slapper.
8 Lawn Mower Racing
- Origin: Twelve Mile, Indiana Lions Club, United States
- First Played: 1963
As a child, many people dream of someday becoming a Nascar driver. They love the thrill of driving extremely fast speeds and competing against other drivers to win titles and trophies. But this race is slightly different. There are no cars—only lawnmowers. There are no paved racetracks—only dirt ones surrounded by hay bales in case of a wipeout. This competition features different classes and eligibility requirements.
Drivers are required to be 18 years of age and be a member of the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association, or be a member of an affiliated organization. The mower must be a self-propelled rotary or reel riding lawn mower, and it has to have been originally manufactured by a credited lawnmower dealer to actually mow lawns. It also must remain suitable to mow. The classes range from factory-style lawnmowers to machines with major modifications.
9 Shin Kicking
- Origin: England
- First Played: Estimated to be around 1612
To compete, players must wear long pants and have the option to cushion their shins with the straw that is provided. They must also wear soft-toed shoes that do not have any metal reinforcements. Participants will hold on to the other’s shoulders when “kicking” each other. The goal is to weaken your opponent’s legs so that you are able to throw them off balance, but you may only do this by kicking their shins, not by actually kicking them to the ground or pushing them down.
The judge, known as the “Stickler,” will watch every kick and make sure that the contact was performed correctly. Players are not allowed to kick above the knee or make any other intentional trips. To win, you have to achieve the highest score in three rounds.
10 Toe Wrestling
- Origin: Wetton, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
- First Played: 1976
Similar to thumb wrestling, players will interlock their big toes to try to force their opponent off of the “toedium.” Get it, like podium? Anyway, the locals of Wetton were gathering at Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn and decided they wanted to try to wrestle toes and knock their opponent’s foot to the ground. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not touch toes with someone in a bar.
I mean, where have their feet been? Are they clean? So many questions! To play this game, competitors are sitting on the ground with their competing foot in the ring. The foot that will not be used must be held in the air with their hands flat on the ground. Each game consists of 3 rounds until they will compete in the final toe-nament.
11 Giant Pumpkin Kayaking
- Origin: Nova Scotia, Canada
- First Played: 1999
Every year in October, Oregon hosts what is known as the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta at the Tualatin Lake of the Commons. Pumpkins that are used for this event will easily weigh over 1,500 pounds. For the race, participants must carve out their gourd so they can sit inside of it and use a paddle to make their way around the lake. For this race that is held in Oregon, there are no rules and no prizes.
In places like Nova Scotia, though, there are a few rules that players need to abide by. For instance, their “kayak” must weigh between 600 and 800 pounds to be entered into the race. Their pumpkins are also required to float, obviously, and they have to be physically able to paddle an 800-meter distance as there is no pushing or shoving allowed in the race. Another fun fact about this sport: Martha Stewart competed!
- Origin: New Zealand
- First Played: 1994
There are many ways to play Zorbing. This game incorporates the use of a large inflatable ball that participants can fit inside of. They can use straps to hold their body in place, or they can enter the ball freely and roll around. Players can even add water inside of the ball so they are able to slip around it easier. Not enough water to harm them, though, only enough to keep the surface wet the entire duration.
Most of the time, when people are playing this game, it is done on some sort of slope, whether it’s a naturally occurring hill or a man-made ramp. The inflatable orb has enough air in the “walls” to allow for buoyancy when the players are inside. This is always played in a controlled environment to allow safety for all players and spectators.
13 Wife Carrying
- Origin: Finland
- First Played: Estimated to be around the 19th century
Although the name of this event is “Wife Carrying,” players are not required to actually be married. It is only required that both players are a man and a woman that weighs around 108 pounds. The carrier is allowed the option to wear a belt to help with the control of the body they carry. The game is conducted in two heats. The first heat is timed, so that there is a clear winner of each round.
Once the team makes it to the finals, they will not be timed. The winner is the person who made it across the finish line first. There are no restrictions on how the wife is to be carried, but if she falls or he drops her, there will be a 5-second penalty for that team. The course is 278 yards and is played outdoors with two dry courses and one wet course.
14 Hobby Horsing
- Origin: Finland
- First Played: 2012
For Halloween, children all over the United States want to dress up as a Cowboy or Cowgirl. These costumes require a hobby horse to emphasize the western aspect. But these hobby horses have been utilized for games. A hobby horse is not an actual horse, it is a wooden or metal pole with a plush horse’s head on the top of it. This game is mostly played by younger girls from the ages of 10 to 18, with a few boys scattered throughout.
To quality to participate, the hobby horse riders must complete an obstacle of running, trotting, jumps, halts, turns, and other events that you might see an actual horse perform. Players are required to wear running shoes, have a presentable hobby horse, wear the proper attire, wear a helmet, and must complete the course in their allotted time frames. There are no drugs, alcohol, or pets allowed on the grounds.
15 Redneck Games
- Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
- First Played: 1996
The Redneck Games are a series of competitions that players are allowed to compete to win. Typically, if you want to participate in any of the games, there is a 5 dollar fee that is used for charity. Here is a list of some of the unique games that participants have the chance of winning:
- Horseshoe toss: The players use a toilet seat instead of an actual horseshoe to toss around a pole.
- Mud belly flop: Players literally belly flop into the mud. And not just a pool of water with a little mud in it, they belly flop into a pool of straight mud.
- Bobbing for pig’s feet: Much like the carnival game where you would stick your head into a bucket of water and try to pull out an apple, this game uses pig’s feet instead.
- Armpit serenade: Players use their hands to suction cup to their armpits to make a delightful sound.
Winners of each event are awarded their trophy—a mounted half-crushed beer can. What a dream!
16 Finger Jousting
- Origin: Israel
- First Played: Not documented, but it became popular in 1970
There are four basic rules to this game. Players must respect their opponents and not intentionally injure them. There is no foul language allowed while competing, jousts are not to be conducted outside of the official game, and the players must have the appropriate manicure to participate.
To begin the game, players prepare by acknowledging their opponents by shaking hands or bowing to each other. There are three rounds that last two minutes each. The players will use their right hands together and keep their other arms behind their backs. For every violation that a player shows, the time will be paused and the offender will get a warning. After the third offense, the player is then disqualified from the game.
17 Underwater Cycling
- Origin: Undocumented
- First Played: Undocumented
This sport required players to have a high level of endurance and strength. This is because when they are riding a bicycle underwater, they are going to have to push through and make it the required distance to finish. This game is conducted in some form of water, like a lake, ocean, or pool. The bikes must be dense to stay on the floor and riders are required to wear scuba gear when participating.
One of the types of races is where riders will participate to see who can go the furthest distance underwater. Another race is where riders will compete against one another to see who can make it to the finish line the quickest. And the last type of race is where participants will compete to finish first on a designed course that will have multiple turns. In every race, the riders are not allowed to touch their feet on the bottom at any point. If they do, it will result in them becoming disqualified from the competition.
18 Worm Charming
- Origin: Blackawton, South Devon
- First Played: 1983
This is a unique game where players compete to bring worms to the surface of the soil. The teams are required to have three players—the charmer, the picker, and the counter. The team is given a square meter of land to charm as many worms as they can in 15 minutes. The players are allowed to use elaborate equipment to help get the worms to the surface, but there is no digging allowed.
Many times, the players of these games dress up in eccentric ways to make it interesting for spectators. When the players start to notice a worm at the surface, they must pull it out without injuring it. The worm is then placed in moist compost to count when the time is up. The fun of this game is to see all of the ways that competitors will try to charm the worms out of the ground!
19 Fireball Soccer
- Origin: Indonesia
- First Played: Estimated over 40 years ago
This game began when students in Indonesia wanted to find a unique way to welcome the month of Ramadan. While this game has soccer in the name, it is definitely a more dangerous version that players should attempt at their own discretion. The “soccer ball” is actually a coconut pulled from a palm tree. The coconut is then soaked in kerosene, a flammable agent, and then lit on fire.
Before the game, there are specific steps that the players will conduct before they begin to play. They will soak themselves in salt and non-flammable spices to help prevent their clothes and skin from catching on fire. They will then say a prayer to take that protection a step further. People who played this game said that they have to train their spirits beforehand. They will perform a special ritual to help make sure their bodies will not be affected by the fire.
- Origin: Canada
- First Played: 1967
Who doesn’t love a nice, relaxing bath? Well, in this sport, it is the opposite. In bath tubbing, the water is not inside the tub. The bathtub is actually used on top of the water for the races. There are three different kinds of races that players can compete in. The first one is 100 meters long and the players compete to get the best time. The second type is also 100 meters long, but players will compete against each other for the fastest time. The final type is called synchronized bathtubbing.
This is where you have two people in the tub that face each other while one will paddle forward and one will paddle backward. The course is 100 meters long and they must complete it in the quickest time to win. You can use paddles for specific events or have a motor on your bathtub. If you choose to have a motor, there are limitations to the power that it can have.