Extreme ironing, an adventure sport for people who like laundry


Extreme ironing might be the coolest sport that didn't make it into the Olympics this year. Started over a decade ago by UK knitwear factory worker Phil Shaw, it requires four simple criteria: a man, an iron, an ironing board, and a crazy natural environment that makes people think, holy crap I can't believe he's ironing on that thing! Shaw calls extreme ironing "the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt."

I know it sounds silly, but some people take it very seriously, training for competitions by lifting irons like dumbbells and bench-pressing ironing boards. Not only do you have to have the stamina and athleticism to reach extreme conditions, but when you get there, you have to iron with finesse–it's a performance art, like dancing or gymnastics. Can you focus on a tiny crease in a shirt sleeve while balancing on one leg on a tree branch jutting out over a cliff? Didn't think so.

The guy who runs Extreme Ironing Japan has promised to let me witness a session next time I'm there, so I'll let you guys know when that happens.

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Images via the Extreme Ironing Bureau and Extreme Ironing Japan