The 25 Most Obscure Sports In The World

Posted by , Updated on January 20, 2017

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:



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.


Extreme Ironing

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.


Ga-ga ball

Ga-ga BallPatrick 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.


Cheese Rolling

CheeserollingMatt 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.


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).


Kaninhop (Bunny Jumping)

Bunny JumpingAction 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.


Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

Underwater Hockey

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.


Roller Derby

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.


Man vs. Horse

Man vs HorseHuw 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.


Bog Snorkeling

Bog SnorkelingMatt 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.


Cardboard Tube Dueling

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.




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.


Moustache Growing

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”.


Chess Boxing

The 25 Most Obscure Sports In The World

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.




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.


Pesapallo (Finnish Baseball)


As the national sport of Finland it has also gained popularity throughout Northern Europe. Essentially a variation of baseball, the primary difference is the vertical pitching. This makes the ball a lot easier to hit and changes the dynamics of the game somewhat.


Ferret Legging

Ferret Legging

You think ferrets are cute? How about ferrets in your pants? How about two ferrets in your pants? The goal of this sport is to actually hold them down there for as long as possible. As brutal as it may seem the world record was in fact over 5 hours, sans underwear.


Toe Wrestling

Toe WrestlingLilo Magazine

Once again, we can thank our friends in the United Kingdom for toe wrestling champions like Paul “Tomatominator” Beech. Something of a thumb war except with your toes, it is considered common courtesy for each player to remove the other players shoes and socks prior to the match.


Mountain Unicycling

Mountain UnicyclingRod Wylie

As anybody who has hiked a mountain trail knows, it can be hard with two feet let alone one wheel. Not only this, but unicycles are not equipped with a gear system like mountain bikes so they require a little bit of extra skill to maneuver. If you’re up to the challenge, however, the sport is rapidly growing in the Mid West.


Kite Tubing


This is probably one of the more dangerous sports on our list with several deaths and numerous injuries on record over the past 5 years. Its actually a variant of towed tubing wherein the tube becomes airborne. The danger arises from the fact that tubes are not specifically designed to be airborne, which means they are hard to control, which means the landings can be a little rough. Evidently wings serve a purpose, who’d of thunk it?




A mix of soccer, gymnastics, and volleyball this insanely fun game was invented in Spain and has since made its mark around the world. Played on a huge inflatable trampoline you can hit the ball with any part of your body as long as it clears the net by the 6th touch.


Camel Wrestling

Camel Wrestling

If you’ve gotten this far in the list you’ve probably realized that humans love to wrestle. We do it with our thumbs, we do it with our toes, heck we even do it with our camels. And although camels are not really known for their wrestling prowess, try putting a female nearby. Its all about motivation.


Wife Carrying

Wife Carrying

See? She’s good for something after all. Just kidding ladies, but seriously, according to the Wife Carrying Competition Rules Committee the wife to be carried “may be your own, the neighbor’s, or you may have found her further afield; she must, however, be over 17 years of age”. So, you don’t even need a wife to compete. Some other poor souls wife will do just fine.




Its kind of like tag mixed with dogdeball mixed with a toy helicopter and its sweeping the nation by storm. Well, its actually been confined to college campuses mostly, but still, its a valiant attempt on behalf of muggle-kind to step beyond their limitations and do something more with their broomsticks than just sweep the floor.


Shin Kicking

Shin Kicking

All you need for this game is 4 shins and a high tolerance for pain. Popularized by immigrants coming to the United States from the UK (where else?) it has found a niche in pop culture and become a staple of legendary manliness.

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