Sport is a very important part of life for a lot of people around the world and 2014 is sure to be a big year for it. With arguably the biggest sporting event in the world – the World Cup – fast approaching and the Superbowl taking place last night, we thought we would take a look at the world of sport from a different perspective. This blog will delve into the weird and wonderful side of sport, looking at the most unusual active past-times enjoyed by oddballs across the globe. All of the following weird sports can be found in or near to the world’s most popular cruise ports, so when you book your next voyage with Cruise118, why not spectate at one of these absurd events?
Water Jousting – Sete, France
The noble sport of water jousting may sound a bit silly, but in Sete, France, where it is primarily practised, it is historic past-time, believed to have stemmed from the ancient empires of Egypt and Greece. However much truth there is to this theory is irrelevant, as it is hilarious to watch. Two bitter adversaries stand on the stern of opposing boats, lance and shield in hand, heading towards each other at blinding speeds of up to 8mph, both aiming to send their opponent toppling into the water, taking their pride with them.
This novel interpretation of traditional jousting is very popular with local people in the French port of Sete and has spread across the country to other locations including Cognac, Brittany and the Rhone Valley, even getting as far as parts of Switzerland and Germany.
Chess Boxing – Various Locations
When it comes to weird sports, it doesn’t get much weirder than chess boxing. I still can’t decide whether the game is pure genius or utter madness, but either way, I’m glad it exists. The basic premise is to pit the wits and minds of two men against one another, whilst also getting them to punch each other repeatedly in the head. Ok, I guess it is genius.
A full chess boxing match comprises of eleven rounds – six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing – each lasting for three minutes. The game begins with a round of chess and then alternates between the two for the rest of the match. This weird sport can be won by knockout or technical stoppage during the boxing rounds, checkmate during a chess round or a competitors withdrawal from the competition at any time.
The original concept of chess boxing came from comic artist Enki Bilal, who featured the sport in his graphic novel Froid Equateur, and was soon attempted in the real world. The first match in front of an audience took place in Amsterdam in 2003 and the sport quickly spread around the world and is now played in locations including Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and Calcutta.
Sheep Counting – Australia
They may be counting sheep, but the last thing these competitors will want to do is fall asleep. Of the many weird sports to emerge out of Australia, sheep counting surely sounds like the most boring. Although, maybe I am judging the sport too soon – maybe it is a thrilling event filled with action, intrigue and controversy…or maybe not.
The rules of the competition are fairly simple. Around 400 sheep are released on a stampede past the sheep counting competitors – who I’m sure go through rigorous training regimes beforehand to finely tune their minds and bodies. The winner is the person who manages to count the number of sheep most accurately. That’s pretty much it. Exciting, huh?
Dog Surfing – California, USA
Dog surfing has got to be my personal favourite of the weird sports discussed in this blog. Every year, on Huntington Beach, California – well-known for its ideal surfing conditions – a host of cowabunga canines and there loving owners gather for one of the world’s strangest water sports. The paddling pooches are divided into four weight categories and pitted against one another in the ultimate dog eat dog battle, trying to stay afloat as they ride the tide.
The dogs are judged on how easily and long they stay on the boards as well as their confidence whilst surfing. Many of the hounds are fitted with life jackets, whilst others don elaborate costumes designed to make them stand out from the crowd. I recommend you search for videos of the competition after reading this to see just how impressive some of these dogs actually are on a surf board. Better than a lot of people would be, that’s for sure!
Sepak Takraw – Thailand/Malaysia
Sepak Takraw is one of the most impressive and weird sports on our list. This fast-paced and forceful game is similar to volleyball, but instead of using their hands to lift the ball over a high net, participants must use their feet. This simple twist on a well-known game makes for fantastic watching, as acrobatic competitors twist and contort their bodies to jump and reach the most awkward and difficult of shots. It is a truly incredible sport to witness and I would recommend seeing a game for yourself if you ever get the chance.
The game is most popular across South East Asia, especially in Malaysia and Thailand, where it is enjoyed by the masses. The rules are very similar to volleyball except for the one main difference – you can only use your feet. Despite its East Asian roots, the sheer intensity and entertaining nature of the game has caused it to spread and gain popularity around the world in places including Japan and the USA.
(1) Wikilmages – pixabay.com
(2) Felix Koenig – wikimedia.org
(3) WCBO – wikimedia.org
(4) Johne Lamper – wikimedia.org
(5) Mike Baird – flickr.com
(6) Sippakorn Yamkasikorn – fotopedia.com