For centuries, sports has been one of the most popular forms of entertainment. The way sports have been played has changed a lot though.
Listerious already created a summary of the most played sports in the world. In this list we’ll focus on some of the weirdest sports in the world you probably never even heard of before.
This isn’t a post about football (or soccer as some countries call it) or basketball. This is a post about sports so strange that You’ll surely wonder why on earth somebody would engage in them in the first place.
Weirdest sports in the world
1. Toe Wrestling
4 pub-goers were getting frustrated that nobody in the UK was winning any world championship in the UK during the 70s. They decided to make a change.
What better way than to create a world championship of a new sport that is only played in the UK?
They didn’t have that much inspiration as they created a sport similar to arm wrestling but using another part of the body, the toes.
Perhaps this is something Quinten Tarantino (the director of Pulp fiction) or anybody else with a foot fetish would totally enjoy.
2. Chess Boxing
Beating each other over the head, and then using that head to outsmart your opponent during a round of chess.
That’s essentially what chess boxing is. It’s a hybrid sport combining two sports, boxing and chess.
It’s played in 11 rounds and is particularly popular in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and Russia.
3. Lumberjack World Championship
Down at the Lumberjack Bowl in Hayward, Wisconsin, the annual lumberjack world championship is held.
It’s a sport that is played by both men and women and involves the following disciplines:
One of the 100 competitors can call himself the lumberjack world champion for an entire year. We must note though that no other country than the United States has produced a world champion in this peculiar sport.
4. Cheese Rolling
On Copper’s Hill near Gloucester in England, a yearly cheese rolling event is held. It’s actually a race in which people try to win a cheese.
How does the cheese rolling race work?
A big cheese is rolled off the hill. One second after, people run after it. The first to cross the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese.
Fairly simple right?
It’s just that the cheese can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) and there’s no way to catch it. They even use a fake cheese now to avoid injuries to people standing at the bottom of the hill watching this weird spectacle.
5. Hotdog Eating
There are many types of eating contests, mostly taking place in the United States. The epitome of these contests is the hotdog eating contest which takes place on the 4th of July.
Nathan’s hotdog eating contest has made this “sport” so popular that this isn’t just a hobby or a one-time event. There’s big money in it, attracting contestants from the United States, Canada, and even Japan.
In fact, the world record holder is a Japanese named Takeru Kobayashi who has won the world championship 6 times and is described as the “Godfather of competitive eating.”
Hobbyhorsing is taking the weirdness to a whole other level. This sport is particularly popular with young Scandinavian girls.
It involves riding an imaginary horse. Yes, you read that right, the sport basically involves pretending to ride a horse and jumping over obstacles as good and as fast as you can.
Hobbyhorsing started in Finland and is apparently spreading to other countries as well. We’re not too sure if it will dominate the world any time soon though.
You be the judge:
A little less adorable is the traditional sport of shin-kicking which started in the 17th century in England.
It simply revolves around two men kicking each other’s shins until one of them falls to the ground.
It can be described as an English for of martial art resembling Judo.
8. Redneck Games
There’s the Olympic Games, and there’s Redneck Games. Some people felt utter pride in being a Redneck and felt they needed their own games.
It didn’t catch on, however. The attendance dropped severely causing revenue to crash, and the Redneck Games were only held from 1996 up until 2012 when they had to pull the plug.
It was fun though for the people involved while it lasted. Who can forget the amazing wet t-shirt contests and glorious toilet seat throwing?
A lot of rednecks that visited the event will one day be very nostalgic about this, even though it was surely one of the weirdest sports in the world.
9. Wife Carrying
Even though the sports has global competitors (and yes countries like the United States and Australia are very good at it), it all started in Finland.
Wife carrying is basically a race in which competitors carry their wife over a distance, and see who is the fastest to do so.
We mention wife, but the rules have changed a bit and it’s not needed for the contestants to be married.
The name wife carrying is still used though to define this sport.
10. Extreme Ironing
Extreme sports have grown a lot in popularity over the years. One of the more weird variations in extreme sports is ironing.
Who likes ironing right?
Well, some people believe it can be fun if you only find a crazy place to do it. Mountain tops, wild rivers, on top apartment buildings, yes, even while skydiving, you name it.
It’s dangerous, it’s fun, it gives you a nicely pressed shirt, it’s extreme ironing!
11. Giant Pumpkin Kayaking
Once a year since 1999, on Lake Pesaquid in Windsor, Nova Scotia, everybody gets out their giant pumpkin for the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta.
They decorate their pumpkin in bright colors and off they go for half a mile of pumpkin kayaking fun.
12. Unicycle hockey
Unicycles have always looked a little odd to me. There’s only so many things you can do with them.
With a little creativity though, you can use them to create a totally new sport.
It’s unknown when exactly the sport took off, but the latest set of rules by the International Unicycling Federation have been published in 2015.
Hitting each other with a ball is always fun, hence the huge popularity of the game dodgeball.
Gaga is a gentler form of dodgeball that is more suited for kids, as it’s played with a soft foam ball in a “gaga pit.”
The idea is the same though, you try to hit as many opponents as possible with the ball until you’re the only one in the pit and become the winner.
So J.K. Rowling, the famous writer of the Harry Potter series, invented a sport in one of her books called Quidditch.
The series became so popular that the sport is now an official sport played by a lot of people. So many even that just two years after it started in 2005, a world cup was held just 2 years later in 2007.
In short, it’s a ball game with a slight twist: players use a broomstick on the field (referring to the witches in the Harry Potter books).
15. Competitive worm charming
Not everybody is too fond of worms that come out of the ground. Apparently, some people in England are.
The world worm charming championships started in 1980 in Willaston, Chesire. The game itself is simple. Get as many worms out of the ground as possible.
The world record stands in the name of 10-year-old Sophie Smith who raised 567 worms during the 2009 British worm charming championships.
The idea of log rolling is to get your opponent to fall into the water when trying to balance on a log.
The idea is not to have physical contact with your opponent and you can not cross the center of the log.
There are also 4 different types of logs ranging from 3.7 to 4 meters long (12 to 13 ft).
17. Cycle ball
We already saw the Unicycle hockey, but there’s another sport using a cycle. This time a regular one though.
Cycle ball is a sport similar to association football using a bicycle. Players can only use their bicycles to touch the ball except when they are defending.
The game has been played as early as 1893 and the first world championships were held in 1929.
It’s popular in many European countries and also in Japan and Russia.
18. Pumpkin Chucking
Apparently pumpkins bring about a lot of inspiration when it comes to inventing new sports. We already saw pumpkin kayaking, and there’s also pumpkin chucking.
This isn’t merely throwing a pumpkin as far as you can though. The competitors create their own devices such as catapults or slingshots to chuck the pumpkin as far as they can.
The world record stands at an astonishing 5,545.43 feet (1,690.25 m). You can check out some footage of the pumpkin chucking world record here:
19. Lawnmower racing
If you’re familiar with gocart racing, then this will look very similar to you. Except for the fact that it’s done with a lawnmower instead of a gocart.
The lawnmower is only slightly modified as there aren’t any blades attached to the lawnmower. This for the obvious security concerns.
Apart from the funny name and mental projection lawnmower racing provides, the sport itself is quite tough for participants.
20. Dog Surfing
Whether or not the dog realizes he is participating in a surfing competition is irrelevant. We’re pretty sure the dog has an amazing time.
The sport is as simple as it sounds. It’s a surfing competition for dogs, and my the best dog win.
An important fact about this weird sport: It’s not necessary for the dog to be accompanied during the competition.
Ever felt like regular basketball is too much of a wuss game? Then try playing some slam ball!
It’s a form of basketball with trampolines in front of the baskets. Players jump on them trying to score while the opponents try to block the flying dunker.
This frequently results in collisions and other rough forms of play. Pretty exciting to watch we must say!
22. Gurning Competition
Who doesn’t like to see a funny face every now and then? Well, on the Egremont Crab Fair the world championship gurning is held every year, so you’re bound to see some there.
Gurning contests are an old English rural tradition dating back to 1267. Better yet, King Henry III even granted it a royal charter!
While the best male gurner of all time is Tommy Mattinson with 15 wins, nobody beats the all-time female world champion Anne Woods who won the world title 28 (!) times!
23. Caber Tossing
A caber is a Gaelic word which simply means a big wooden beam. Caber tossing is a Scottish traditional sport in which men try to toss over a big piece of wood.
The piece of wood is usually made from a large tree and the player is called a “tosser,” or a “thrower.”
The idea is not to throw the piece of wood as far as possible, but actually flip it so it ends up straight ahead of the tosser. Preferably in the 12 o’clock position.
The world record stands at 16 tosses in a period of 3 minutes. We don’t believe that will easily be beaten.
24. Bubble Football
Football, also referred to as soccer in some places) is the most popular sport in the world, not only by participation but also by attendance.
It’s logical that there will be some variations popping up. One of the weirdest sports in the world that is a variation of association football, and more specifically futsal, is bubble football.
What makes it different?
You’re half enclosed into an inflated zorb only with your legs sticking out to kick the ball. It must be really fun to play and most definitely to watch as well!
25. Underwater Rugby
Just as the name explains this weird sport, it’s a form of rugby but played underwater.
There are a couple of similar sports that feature regular sports played underwater. these include underwater football and underwater hockey.
The sport came about as part of physical training routines from diving clubs in Germany in the 1960s and the first world championship was held back in 1978.
26. Bog Snorkeling
Bog snorkeling involves competitors swimming across a 60 yards (55 m) bog back and forth as fast as they can.
The thing is, they can’t use regular swimming techniques and can only use their flippers. To make it easier, they also wear snorkels, hence the name.
The bog snorkeling competition started in 1986 in a small town in Wales, United Kingdom called Llanwrtyd Wells.
The reason: Drunken pub-talk by some of the locals. I’m sure they would be rather proud that their “idea” now has a couple of decades of world championship history.
27. Wheelbarrow Racing
You can do more with a wheelbarrow than you think. In Kenya, there’s even a huge event once a year dedicated to a sport using wheelbarrows.
In Hell’s Gate park, a large number of competitors try to run as fast as they can carrying another person in a wheelbarrow.
It’s more of a fun race than a real sport and is mostly used as a fundraiser to conserve the park the race is held in.
Watch some amazing footage of the race here:
28. Man versus Horse Marathon
Two guys sitting at a bar. One claims that man is superior to horses when it comes to running a long distance. The other claims the opposite.
A third guy overhears them and wants to see what actually happens when this is put to the test. This is how the man versus horse marathon started.
The event actually isn’t as long as a real marathon (only 35 km – 22 mi) and apart from 2 times that the weather conditions were really hot (in 2004 and 2007), it’s usually the horse that wins.
29. Tuna Tossing
Tuna tossing is exactly what it says it is. It’s a sport in which players try to throw a tuna fish as far as they can.
It has its origin in a small fishing community in Australia in 1979. Local fishermen would throw the fish on trucks, and as men are always up for some competition, it actually turned into a sport.
The winner is the person throwing the 20-pound (about 9 kilo) tuna fish as far as he can.
An interesting fact about this weird sport: Real tuna fish aren’t being used anymore, rubber ones have come to replace them.
Look at the fun this sport is:
30. Sepak Takraw
Sepak Takraw is a form of volleyball also called “kick volleyball” that is played with a small rattan ball. It’s popular in several South-East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Instead of using their hands, players can only use the same parts of the body as used in association football.
This is a pretty amazing sport. The level of acrobatics used is of such a high level that there is no way you can start this at a later age.
What and be amazed here:
Buzkashi is definitely on top of the list as being one of the weirdest sports in the world. The reason is very simple.
It’s played by a group of men on a horse and their aim is to put a dead goat in the goal of the opponents.
No not a ball, a dead goat!
It’s played in several countries of central Asia including Turkey, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
32. Calcio Storico
The Roman empire used to have a popular ball game called harpastum. In the 16th century, and more specifically in the city of Florence, this sport was revived.
It’s a brutal game, that’s all we can say about it really. If you consider American football or even rugby to be tough games, then you haven’t seen this one.
Here you can see what it is all about:
33. Cardboard Tube Fighting
From brutal action to a bit of a software duel. The cardboard tube fighting league is a gentle form of martial art.
Or can’t we call it that way?
Well, beating each other over the head with cardboard tubes is always fun, isn’t it? If You’re interested, the events are held in Seattle, Washington, San Francisco and in Sydney, Australia.
We have already seen the fake horse jumping called hobby horsing that Scandinavian girls seem to enjoy so much.
In the 1970s, something even weirder came about as they simply replaced the horses who do the jumping with rabbits.
Yes, Kaninhoppning is simply the Swedish form of bunny jumping! If you want to get some more info, you can check the official site of the “Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping.”
Didn’t you think you saw it all by now?
35. Pillow Fighting
Forget boxing or MMA, the boxing ring or cage should be reserved solely for pillow fighting!
Pillow fighting is actually a real sport and is just like the sports as boxing and MMA contested in a fighting arena.
It’s a women-only sport and is semi-professional. It originated in Toronto Canada and unlike the soft name, it’s pretty rough resulting in lost teeth and sever damage to the head of the female fighters.
There are two flags, there is a big open field, there are 150 pumped up Japanese guys in two teams (75 per team) trying to steal each other’s flags, what do you get?
A very weird but extremely exciting sport!
Strangely enough, through all the chaos, there are actually a lot of strategies used by both teams to both avoid their own flag being stolen and to steal the other team’s flag.
Better grab some popcorn to watch one of these matches.
Just watch here how hectic things can get during a game:
Sometimes, a sport just needs a little revival. From the Middle-Ages for instance. Jousting is a sport in which two horsemen run towards each other with lances with blunted tips trying to hit each other.
A jousting group was formed in 1993 and they started competing against each other in 1997.
The World Championship Jousting Association is the body managing the jousting competitions.
A Dutch invention is what is called “Fierljeppen,” which literally translates to “leaping far.”
The idea is to use a large pole to cover as much distance as possible. So it’s basically like a pole vault but instead of trying to jump as high as possible, players try to jump far.
Another interesting fact about this strange sport is that it involves jumping in the water rather than landing on solid ground.
This is it for our collection of some of the weirdest sports in the world. Do you know any more weird sports? Just let us know and we’ll them to the list!