The 25 Most Obscure Sports In The World

Posted by on November 10, 2011

We’ve all heard of chess and we’ve all heard of boxing, but have you heard of…chess boxing? How about ferret legging? Or Camel Wrestling? It’s a strange world and the ways in which we entertain ourselves reflect that. As Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” So go ahead, observe some of the world’s most obscure sports:
25

Bo-taoshi

Bo-taoshi is Japanese for “pole-pulldown”, and as far as intensity is concerned this sport is hard to beat. Each team has 150 people that are divided into 75 attackers and 75 defenders. The goal? Knock down the other teams pole. By the way, the number for 911 in Japan is 119.

24

Extreme Ironing

According to the Extreme Ironing Bureau this is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Originating in England it is now a world wide phenomenon that has taken place underwater, on mountainsides, and while parachuting.

23

Ga-ga ball

Patrick T Fallon

According to some sources this popular summer camp game originated in Israel. Its played a lot like dodgeball, except it takes place in a wooden octagon and you have to hit players beneath the knees to get them out.

22

Cheese Rolling

Matt Gardy/Getty Images

Every year from the top of Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester, England a round of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled and a herd of competitors go rolling after it. Although they are theoretically supposed to catch it, the cheese can reach speeds of up to 70 mph, so generally speaking, whoever crosses the finish line first wins the cheese.

21

Snow Polo

This modified form of polo was started in Switzerland in 1985 but since then it has spread internationally. In the United States it is played exclusively in Aspen, Colorado (yes, its still a rich people sport).

20

Kaninhop (Bunny Jumping)

Action Press/Rex Features

We owe it to the Swedes for coming up with a sport such as this. Its simple really – trained bunnies hopping over obstacles. Its not really a new concept as Equestrian Show Jumping has been around for years, but come on, they’re bunnies.

19

Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

Just as the name implies, its hockey except the puck is on the bottom of a pool. So, as you may have guessed this is certainly a sport where lung capacity plays a significant role. Also, you don’t use a stick but rather a “pusher” which almost resembles a small blade.

18

Roller Derby

Dominated by women, this sport has witnessed a resurgence in the past 10 years. It is played by two teams, each of which are skating around a single track. One member of each team is called a “jammer” and it is their job to lap the players on the other team in order to score points. And yes, injuries are common.

17

Man vs. Horse

Huw Evans Picture Agency

Every June in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells competitors line up to prove they can beat a horse to a finish line that is 22 miles away. Why? Rumor has it that in 1980 the owner of a local pub, Gordon Green, overheard two patrons arguing over whether a man could beat a horse in a marathon. Well, there was only one way to find out.

16

Bog Snorkeling

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Not only are you swimming 120 meters through a bog, you are not allowed to use conventional swimming strokes, relying only on the power of your flippers. And just like most of the contenders on this list, this obscure sport was started in the United Kingdom…over a bet.

15

Cardboard Tube Dueling

According an official statement by the Cardboard Tube Fighting League (yes, its real) this sport was started based on three principles: people need more ways to play and take themselves less seriously, events can be fun without alcohol, and cardboard sword fighting is fun. The logic is impeccable.

14

Bellyflopping

Its probably one of the most painful single player sports out there, but hey, you can win a lot of money for those couple seconds of misery. But even if you don’t, pride is big in this industry. May the best (biggest?) man win.

13

Moustache Growing

Compared to the other sports on this list it is admittedly tranquil. But don’t tell any serious mustache grower that they aren’t a legitimate sportsman. If we ever get around to it we’ll explain why in our list “25 ways to end someone’s life with your beard”.

12

Chess Boxing

Born in the mind of a cartoonist near the turn of the 21st century, this sport has taken off. Consisting of 11 alternating rounds of chess and boxing, you can win with either a knockout, a checkmate, or a judges decision.

11

Buzkashi

The goal of this sport is simple – grab the carcass of a headless goat at full gallop, get it clear of the other players, and pitch it across the goal line. Played all over South Central Asia, it is the national sport of Afghanistan. Respect.