What do you do if you are an adrenaline junkie and you find such things are ironing your clothes far too mundane for your frenetic lifestyle? Why not combine them and take a shot at earning immortality as a champion in the sport of Extreme Ironing?
Extreme ironing involves ironing clothes in locations that are difficult to access. Aficionados may be found starching their shirts on mountaintops, while free-falling from an airplane, or at the bottom of the sea. The athlete’s ability to put a sharp crease in a pair of trousers is just as important as his or her prowess in accessing the dangerous venue.
While others have claimed to have started the sport, it was Phil Shaw of Leicester, England who did the most to bring it to popular attention. Shaw says he was inspired by the fact that he had a mountain of shirts to iron, but he really wanted to go rock climbing. He decided to do both at the same time.
The original website promoting the competition describes the activity:
Extreme Ironing is a sport which combines the danger and the spirit of an extreme sport with boring housework you have to do. By Extreme Ironing the sportsman gets a great fitness and he is always looking smart.
Extreme Ironing calls on you to take your iron and your board to extreme places to iron your clothes there. That can happen on a mountain, in a forrest, in lakes, rivers, etc, on crowded public places or wherever you like. There is no limit.
Extreme Ironing… is also dangerous. So you have to handle your iron very carefully and at the beginning it is a good advise to do Extreme Ironing at not too dangerous places. Just practise on not too steep slopes or in your backgarden. Do never ever Extreme Ironing on your own if you are not a professional. Otherwise you ask for danger.
Since Shaw’s rock-climbing/ironing foray in 1997, extreme ironing has surged in popularity. More and more warriors against wrinkles competed to see who could iron in the most outrageous locale until enough enthusiasts justified a formal competition. The result was the first Extreme Ironing World Championship in 2002. Twelve teams from six countries duked it out, earning points in such categories as:
- Urban — ironing in/on/around a broken-down car;
- Water — using surfboards, rubber rings, or canoes, competitors were to accomplish their task in a fast-flowing river;
- Forest — combining tree-climbing and ironing skills;
- Lauda — ironing a shirt atop a custom-built climbing wall; and
A subsequent documentary, Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory, gained the sport even greater attention, spawning movements in the United States and competition for extreme ironing world records. Shaw published the book Extreme Ironing, hoping to encourage even more enthusiasts to get in great shape while looking smart.