We didn’t realize anyone enjoyed ironing enough to actually keep up with it much less make it a sport, but extreme ironing is a real thing.
What is extreme ironing?
Extreme ironing, also known as EI, is a unique and unconventional sport that combines the ordinary task of ironing clothes with the thrill of extreme activities. It involves individuals taking their ironing boards and irons to remote and unusual locations, adding an element of excitement to an otherwise mundane household chore.
The Extreme Ironing Bureau defines EI as “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”
The history of the “sport”
Originating in Leicester, England in 1997, extreme ironing was conceived by Phil Shaw, also known as “Steam,” as a way to infuse fun into his daily routine. The concept quickly gained popularity and evolved into a global phenomenon.
Participants, or “ironists,” perform this task in various settings, such as mountainsides, forests, canoes, while skiing or snowboarding, atop statues or buildings, underwater, and even in the midst of bustling streets. These performances can be done individually or in groups.
A spectator sport
While the sport may appear tongue-in-cheek to some, EI has gained attention from media outlets worldwide due to its intriguing combination of mundane and extreme elements. The sport challenges participants not only to showcase their ironing skills but also to possess the physical stamina and mental resilience necessary to navigate and conquer unexpected environments.
Safety is a crucial aspect of EI, as participants must take precautions while engaging in their ironing adventures. The sport requires careful navigation and coordination, especially in more hazardous locations. Ironists prioritize their safety while ensuring they can successfully complete the task in extreme conditions.
Ironing goes mainstream(ish)
The sport has gained significant attention through documentaries and media coverage. A documentary titled “Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory,” produced by Britain’s Channel 4, followed the British team’s journey and their participation in the first Extreme Ironing World Championships in Germany. This exposure propelled EI into the international spotlight, attracting more enthusiasts to join the sport.
Notable achievements in the sport include ironing the Union Jack flag just above Everest Base Camp, setting a world altitude record for the sport. Ironists have also ironed across gorges, participated in bungee ironing (combining bungee jumping with ironing), and even ironed underwater, breaking records for the number of people ironing simultaneously.
The influence of EI has extended beyond the sport itself, inspiring other unusual activities like extreme cello playing.
Source: “Extreme Ironing: History, Types, Objective, & Equipment” — Sportsmatik