Thrilling Adventures of Ironing

Thrilling Adventures of Ironing

How do you deal with the mundane atrocities of household chores like ironing? Ironing albeit humdrum, is essential and unavoidable. To spruce things up, a Leicester man metamorphosed the boredom of ironing into the thrills of an extreme sport.

What is it?

Extreme ironing involves ironing at extreme locations such as over the cliff of a mountain, in the air or under the sea and getting photographed. It is an unconventional blend of sports and performing arts. An iron board is carried on the back, all through the adventure (climbing, kayaking, hiking, racing, etc.). Commercially available irons are used for Extreme Ironing. In cases when these irons can’t be used, cordless irons or hot plate heated with auxiliary structures such as a gas cooker are used. 

How did it start?

Legend has it that Phil Shaw from Leicester returned home one afternoon to a crumpled pile of clothes. Thinking he would rather rock climb than iron clothes, Phil combined the two. Later in 1999, he went for an international tour to promote the activity and met German backpackers who immediately took to the idea. He set up a company in Germany with branches in Australia, Croatia, Iceland and the US. The first (and only so far) Extreme Ironing World Championship was held in Munich, Germany in 2002. 80 teams from 10 countries competed on an obstacle course arrayed in the shape of an iron, pressing boxer shorts and blouses while scaling a climbing wall, hanging from a moss-covered tree branch and squeezing under the hood of a car.  

What’s the latest?

While there haven’t been any follow-up championships, this extreme sport hasn’t lost its spark. Ironists continue to attempt Extreme Ironing even today. The latest feat in the sport has been achieved by a free-diver who ironed a T-shirt at a depth of 42 metres in the world’s deepest pool in Montegrotto Terme, Italy.  For those intrigued by this outrageous household chore taken too far, there is a book to refer to, Extreme Ironing authored by Phil Shaw. 
 

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