By Eric Balmer
To some, there is nothing more satisfying than having a well-ironed shirt, and for others who are adrenaline junkies, jumping out of a perfectly working plane can make their day. Sometimes, though, ironing clothes can not be the most thrilling activity in the world, which is why extreme ironing has been invented by a British man.
Around 15 years ago, Phil Shaw was not too keen on the idea of just ironing clothes. Heck, why iron your clothes when you can skydive or hang glide instead? He did see the value in ironing his clothes, so he came up with the sport of Extreme Ironing. This way, he could have fun while doing something productive.
Surprisingly, the sport has actually shown impressive growth. Every populated continent in the world has seen extreme ironing. Perhaps what is more mind-boggling is that Mt. Everest has had someone perform Extreme Ironing while climbing. A multitude of different extreme activities have been done with ironing, including paragliding, rock climbing and even base jumping.
Shaw has even created the Extreme Ironing Bureau, which states regulations on the sport. As of now, the participants must take a picture of the attempt, or somehow record their name at the landmark, the ironing board must be 1 meter by 30 cm (4 feet, 3 inches), and the iron must be genuine (no plastic is allowed).
Unbelievable records have been set by extreme ironers. Probably the most ridiculous was a group who completed the task underwater. The most people to perform the sport underwater is 173, which was achieved by the Waterman Diving Club from the Netherlands. All together, the ironing took 10 minutes to complete.
The end product of the ironing portion is not as heavily emphasized, but rather the outrageous places or activities associated with the pressing of clothing. Although the end result is not as highly critiqued, the world championship does take into account the quality of the ironed piece of clothing.
If multi-tasking is your thing, you may want to check out the adrenaline-pumping sport of extreme ironing. Being a sport that is world-wide, versatile and requires creativity with a dash of humor, this is a sport that should be around for years to come.