10 of the Strangest Sports from Around the World You Didn’t Know Existed

10 of the Strangest Sports from Around the World You Didn’t Know Existed


10 of the Strangest Sports from Around the World You Didn’t Know Existed


All over the world, every single day, weird and wonderful sports are being played and enjoyed by everyone. Many of them celebrate a culture that’s hundreds of years old, with the majority of those sports effortlessly retaining their popularity.

In this article, we’ll be explaining what these sports are, where they’re predominantly played and how. Although some have very simple rules to follow, there are others that aren’t so straightforward, and we’ll be providing you with every single detail – just in case you wanted to put together a Bossaball team or take part in a Skibobbing race through the Alps.

1. Shin Kicking

Where is it played?


How is it played?

Shin Kicking, also known as shin digging, is relatively self-explanatory. As the name would suggest, the way in which it’s played is simple – kick your opponent in the shin until they fall down, if you manage to do that, then you win the round. With just three rounds available to play for, all you’d have to do is win two of those rounds to be declared the Shin Kicking champion.

Originating in England in the early 17th century, it became a popular pastime, particularly in Cornwall, and it’s managed to retain its popularity ever since. Drawing in millions of spectators every single year, Shin Kicking seems to be here to stay.

2. Skibobbing

Where is it played?

The Alps and parts of the USA

How is it played?

This sport, not to be confused with snowbiking, is often described as being a combination of both skiing and snowboarding and it’s become a relatively popular sport in specific areas of the Alps and the USA, so much so, there’s even an International Federation of Skibobbing, which formed in 1967, and continues to put on races to this day.

A skibob once provided transport in the Alps for many people in the area who were physically unable to navigate the snowy, icy conditions. But as time went on, an increasing number of people saw the fun and competitive streak associated with skibobbing, and so it was turned into a racing sport in 1954.

Traditionally, Skibobbing is played simply by attaching a skibob to your feet, once this is done, you’ll be able to glide through the snow at a considerable rate, racing others to the bottom. You could even end up reaching speeds of up to 120mph in some instances, although the record downhill speed when skibobbing was set by an Austrian Skibobber at 102mph.

The catch, however, is that the only way to stop is to crash into something, which could end in injury. Although participants and spectators watch and take part in this particular sport for the adrenaline rush, something skibobbing definitely supplies.

3. Chess Boxing

Where is it played?

Germany, Russia, India and the UK

How is it played?

A hybrid of chess and boxing, two popular pastimes, Chess Boxing typically involves two people who compete in alternating rounds of, you guessed it, chess and boxing. The overall aim was to combine one of the ultimate ‘thinking’ sports with one of the world’s most popular fighting sports, putting participants through their paces both mentally and physically.

Invented by the French but adapted by the Dutch, Chessboxing has grown considerably in popularity, meaning it’s widely played throughout several countries, including the UK, Russia, India and Germany, with the first championship being held in Berlin in 2003.

4. Kitewing

Where is it played?


How is it played?

A combination of skiing and flying, the participant would need to hold the kitewing in their arms whilst they’re skiing, therefore providing the lift that’s needed to propel the person up into the air. However, no one really knows how long it takes for the person to come back down again, although I’m sure they’ll enjoy the adrenaline rush in the meantime.

5. Ultimate Tazer Ball

Where is it played?

UK and parts of the USA

How is it played?

The aim is to, ultimately, throw a big ball into a net, all while holding a taser gun. The catch, however, is that opposing players are allowed to use the gun to taser the player who is carrying the ball. 

Although, the taser is actually strong enough to take a person down to the ground, emitting around five milliamps of electricity each time it’s activated. Once the ball has been successfully dropped into the net, then the game is over and a winner will be declared.

6. Homussen

Where is it played?


How is it played?

This sport is played by two teams: home and away. With a pitch that’s been measured at 1km in length and with 18 players on each side, Homussen makes for quite the ultimate sport in Switzerland.

The game starts when the home team launches a small, rubber projectile (the Homussen) from a large rod. The Homussen is able to travel at a considerably high speed towards the away team, who have to shield themselves from it at the other end of the pitch. 

Not only do they have to prevent the Homussen from injuring them, but they also have to stop it from ever reaching the ground. If they do, then the away team loses and the home team wins by default.

7. Bossaball

Where is it played?

Spain and Brazil

How is it played?

A combination of football, volleyball, trampolining and martial arts, Bossaball is played in two teams, with five players to each one. The Bossaball court has a trampoline located towards the front and so one player is required to stand either on it or in its vicinity. 

In terms of the rules, it’s played very much like volleyball, only the participants can use overhead kicks and a number of other moves to score points. The first team to score 25 points or more is then declared the winner.

8. Underwater & Upside Down Hockey

Where is it played?

Finland, Austria & Germany

How is it played?

Played during the heights of winter, the two teams wear wetsuits and submerge themselves in lakes or large ponds that have frozen over. Once below the solid surface, they turn themselves upside down in the freezing water so that their feet are touching the underside of the frozen lake – they’ll then use this to play the game on.

The catch, however, is that they don’t use any breathing instruments, so if they need to come up for air, they’ll swim to the surface, poke their heads out, catch their breath and then submerge themselves again to continue the game.

Ignoring the fact that this sport is played upside down in a freezing lake, it works very much the same as a normal hockey game and so it can only be won by scoring the most goals in the given time. 

9. Hurling

Where is it played?


How is it played?

This is a unique combination of several sports, including lacrosse, football, hockey and rugby. It’s arguably become one of the most popular sports in Ireland, with an average of between 80,000 and 90,000 spectators watching the league finals. It’s said to be more than 3,000 years old and so has become a very important part of many people’s lives.

There are two teams involved, with 15 players making up one team. The aim of the game is simple: get the ball into the net. Although the premise is easy, actually doing it is far more difficult. There are also several rules to follow, with some of them much like the ones used during a game of Rugby. The ball can only be caught by the hands, for example, if it’s in the air. However, if the ball is on the ground, it must be picked up using their lacrosse-style sticks.

The game is usually very fast-paced, with the ball sometimes travelling at a speed of around 120-130mph. Due to its rough, slightly dangerous nature, other countries simply refuse to play it, for fear that players or even spectators could be seriously injured as a result. Although in Ireland, the players of this sport are rarely seen wearing protective gear, as they believe the game is better without those specific safety measures.

10. Royal Shrovetide Football

Where is it played?

Ashbourne, England

How is it played?

This is quite possibly the largest game of football that exists in England, with the entire town of Ashbourne, within a three mile radius, acting as the pitch. Royal Shrovetide Football is said to have originated in the 12th century, and so it remains to be an important part of Ashbourne’s history. Traditionally, it’s played twice a year and the game can last for around eight hours, with kick off at 2pm and often not coming to a close until 10pm.

The game works by throwing a specially designed ball, ensuring it doesn’t pop or sink in water,  into a crowd consisting of two very large teams: the Up’Ards and the Down’Ards. The goal posts are rather large walls located at either end of Ashbourne, with a distance spanning 5km between the two points. The first person to bring the ball and throw it against the wall three times is declared the winner.

The only catch is that there is no limit to the number of people who are allowed to take part, even tourists are welcome to give the game a try, if they’re brave enough.

This article was written by Lorna Ball on behalf of NoWagering.com – an online gambling news and comparison website which promotes fairness and transparency, and takes safe and responsible gambling seriously.

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