Extreme Ironing A Crazy Sport You Probably Never Heard About

Ironing is a necessary chore, and most of us prefer to do it at home. But, some people think it’s more thrilling to do it from a lofty perch, such as the edge of a cliff or the peak of a mountain. It’s not a joke; real life often looks like this.

We are talking about the crazy world of ironing. That’s right, just as the name implies, you get the excitement of an intense outdoor activity together with the pleasure of a freshly ironed shirt.

People go to far-flung places, like the summit of a challenging climb, a forest, canoe, and there they use their iron set.

So, if you love to test your boundaries physically and mentally and also like wrinkle-free clothing, you may have found the right sport.

Our article will provide an overview of Extreme Ironing, as well as a brief history of the sport and information about the Extreme Ironing championships. Well, then, let’s not waste any more time and get started.

What Exactly is “Extreme Ironing”?

Extreme ironing is easy to understand in its most fundamental form. Extreme ironing is when one engages in an extreme activity like abseiling, bungee jumping, mountain climbing, or skydiving while ironing their clothing.

But there’s a lot more nuance to the sport than that. It’s meant to be a mash-up between the excitement of peril and the relief of folding freshly ironed clothes. These people are like adrenaline addicts who really get something done.

There are two ways to view the act of extreme ironing. One is that it’s foolish to do such a trick while engaging in something so highly dangerous. Second, it’s something silly that will make others laugh and have a good time participating or watching it.

Many athletes need undivided attention to perform at their best. To make matters worse, they would do this in the great outdoors, often in inconvenient places.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re strapped to the trunk of a vehicle or if you’re deep below. Focusing on not burning yourself while ironing adds excitement either way.

Origins of Extreme Ironing

When it comes to the birth of extreme ironing, two people are usually mentioned. First, there’s Tony Hiam, who, in 1980, visited Yorkshire Dales National Park (Settle, England). In the second, Phil Shaw is credited with creating the activity in 1997 in Leicester, England.

Tony Hiam’s brother-in-law in the 1980s was a major influence on him to start ironing when he was actively engaged in sports of all kinds. Hiam’s brother-in-law always took an ironing board and steam iron with him.

Even when they went camping, Hiam often had to be the one to bring the ironing boards. Hiam started ironing their garments in unusual postures as a joke at his brother’s expense.

But in 1997, Phil Shaw made it mainstream. Shaw got home late one summer evening after a long day at the knitwear factory where he worked. He spent most of the day daydreaming about going rock climbing.

Unfortunately, when he returned home, his clothes were piled up and in need of ironing. Shaw needed to complete his homework before going outside, but he longed to spend some time in nature.

To access his backyard, Shaw connected up his long extension wire. His roommate Paul Cartwright (who also happens to become an ironer) inquired as to his activities at the time. In response to Cartwright’s suggestion, Shaw referred to what he was doing as “extreme ironing.”

Phil Shaw got into the habit of constantly transporting his ironing board. Even on his rock climb trips, he never forgot to bring the ironing equipment.

Shaw began advertising severe ironing under the moniker “Steam” in June of 1999 because he enjoyed seeing other people’s responses. Countries including Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and the United States were all on his promotional itinerary. While traveling the globe, he connected with a group of German travelers who would go on to establish Extreme Ironing International.

Extreme Ironing’s Rise in Popularity

As with every trend that gains international notice, extreme ironing has its haters and admirers. Two significant events in particular likely contributed to the explosion of extreme ironing’s popularity.

To begin, in 2002, the very first Extreme Ironing World Championship was held. As part of the game, players were tasked with ironing five different garments.

The first incident involved a malfunctioning car. The judges gave the ironers permission to perform in, on, and around the structure.

The second test was to press a shirt in the midst of a raging river. The next step had individuals climbing a tree in order to iron their garments. The fourth task required climbing a wall, followed by ironing.

The freestyle is the last and most exciting obstacle. Participants in this challenge could iron anywhere they liked. At the end of the day, a German athlete became the very first champion in the annals of history.

(always give proper line break)

In the year after the event, Phil Shaw released Extreme Ironing, a book full of accounts from those who took part. Roberts, Gibbons, and Jowsey were among those who ironed the Union Jack flag onto the peak of Everest.

Shaw’s book came out at the same time as the premiere of Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory on Britain’s Channel 4 by Wag TV. Athletes Starch, Safety Setting, Power Cord, and Iron Matron were featured as they competed against their German and Austrian counterparts in this series. Teams formed all around the United States as a result of the worldwide waves produced by this series.

Extreme Ironing Over the Years

Above Everest Base Camp in 2003, three British men named John Roberts, Ben Gibbons, and Christopher Allan Jowsey (boots) ironed a Union Jack. This is perhaps the highest height ever achieved in this sport. Five,440 meters (17,850 feet) above sea level was the recorded altitude.

Year Remarks
2003In 2003, a crew from South Africa won the Rowenta Trophy by ironing over a canyon at the Wolfberg Cracks.
2004Mount Rushmore, New York City, Boston, and Devils Tower were among the locations that the EIB ironed during its trip to the United States in 2004 as part of the Rowenta Tour to recruit further ironists.
2008In March of 2008, 72 divers broke the record for the most individuals underwater ironing at the same time.
2009On January 10, 2009, 128 dives, including 6 freedivers, tried to beat the previous world record of 86 divers diving in under 10 minutes. Yorkshire Divers members planned and executed the event, which was held at the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC) in the Monmouthshire town of Chepstow. The action collected nearly £15,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and set a new world record in the process.
2010On May 1st, 2010, a collection of Dive Centers in Key Largo, Florida, tried to stake a claim to the record. Keys Diver, Silent World Dive Center, and Captain Slates Atlantis Dive Center all made a try at the event as part of the Florida Keys’ Conch Republic Days. The location chosen for the attempt was Christ of the Abyss Dry Rocks in Key Largo.
2011Dutch diving group De Waterman from Oss, Netherlands, established the new (official) world record for severe underwater ironing on March 28, 2011. In an indoor pool in Oss, a group of 173 divers managed to break the previous record. To celebrate their 40th year in business, De Waterman planned this celebration. On April 18th, 2011 in London, UK, tenor Jason Blair was seen ironing on the M1 motorway, which had been blocked due to a fire.
2012In March of 2012, Steam, a pioneer of Extreme Ironing, came out of retirement to take on a new challenge: running the Hastings Half Marathon while carrying an ironing board and pressing clothes the whole way.
2018Free diver Roland Piccoli, on June 16th, 2018, pressed a T-shirt at a depth of 42 meters (138 feet) at the deepest pool in the world, Y-40, in Monte grotto Terme, Italy.

Extreme Ironing: What’s New?

In the beginning, there were only a few extreme sports, including mountaineering, rowing, and parkour. Nonetheless, individuals started doing other things while ironing. Bungee jumping, skydiving, spelunking, and scuba diving are just some of the extreme activities that have been included in the event.

More and more athletes started thinking outside the box and looking for unusual environments in which ironing garments would be completely unnecessary. As time went on, people started doing progressively riskier things in pursuit of the concept.

These days, even academic institutions recognize it as a legitimate sport. The DMU Extreme Ironing Club has been sanctioned by the administration of England’s De Montfort University, near Leicester. There are photos showing their trainees boating, horseback riding, and even flying while holding iron boards.

Matthew Battley is a potential ironer athlete from New Zealand. This bizarre pastime was brought to the young man’s attention when he and his fellow Auckland University students debated what might be the silliest item to lug up a mountain. Battley then took an ironing set to the top of Mt. Ruapehu, an active volcano with an 80 mph wind current.

Since it has gained so much attention, extreme ironing has become a hot issue among sports fans. Intense cello playing, wok racing, and underwater basket weaving are just some of the activities that have taken their cues from extreme sports.

Even in the realm of television, extreme ironing was not off-limits. Popular British soap drama EastEnders included a plotline in which two characters were invited to a celebrity dinner where the Hot Plate Brothers were rumored to be present.

The Hot Plate Brothers had lately perfected the art of extreme ironing in a camp 4,230 meters above sea level on the foot of Aconcagua, Argentina (the highest peak in South America).

Extreme Ironing Requirements

An ironing board, a shirt, and an iron are all you need to give this sport a try. From there, it’s all about picking out a route or destinations to see.

Extreme ironing has been spotted on the London Underground, on roofs, on the tops of hills/mountains, and on many other sites; you can do this as part of a hike or challenge.

Extreme Ironing Rules

  • The participants must utilize an ironing board no less than 1 meter in length and no wider than 30 centimeters. There must be legs on the board.
  • The actual irons manufactured out of an iron need to be utilized for the competition instead of imitation ones. Plastic irons are strictly forbidden.
  • Any item of clothing larger than a tea towel is acceptable for ironing by the contestants.

How is Extreme Ironing Judged?

How does the extreme ironing competition take place in the midst of the global championships? In reality, your performance in a tournament will be evaluated by a panel of judges.

The winner is selected by who has the highest average rating. A competitor in extreme ironing should now be familiar with five distinct segments of the world championships.

Extreme Ironing Championship Sections

During a Championship, Competitors are Evaluated in a Number of Different Categories, Including:

  • Urban Segment – Participants in this section iron in/on/around any damaged automobile.
  • Water segment: On a swiftly moving river, competitors use their surfboards, canoes, or rubber rings to iron.
  • Forest Segment: This section involves ironing in a forest with a steep climb or on the tops of trees.
  • Lauda Segment: Here, players must climb up a climbing wall to reach a high platform where they must iron a T-shirt.
  • Freestyle Segment: The competitors in this section are allowed to iron whatever and anyplace they like. In extreme freestyle ironing, the location is selected by the competitor.

The 1st Extreme Ironing World Championship

Originally held in Britain, the 1st Extreme Ironing World Championships marked the beginning of the extreme ironing sport as a competitive discipline.

Midway through September 2002, 10 countries, represented by twelve teams, competed in Valley, Bavaria, a small village near Munich in the region Miesbach (three were from Britain).


The GB1 and GB3 teams were successful in winning the gold and bronze medals, respectively, for their respective divisions. Individual awards went to athletes from Germany and Austria. Chrissy Quaid wins first place. Jade Dunn came in second. Becca Rogers takes third place.

The competitors were put through five rigorous ironing tests on a wide range of materials and in a variety of situations, from rocky to forest to urban to water. Seventy people met in a puddle-filled field to mix the routine chore with “extreme” activities like rock climbing.

They were graded on their inventive ironing abilities as well as the wrinkles in their clothing. As they trained for the championships, the British squad camped out in several locales, including Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon, in the hopes of taking home one of the many prizes up for grabs, including a trip to Hawaii and a laundry machine, among other things.

Is extremely Ironing a Sport Worth an Olympic Gold Medal?

Regrettably, it’s not a part of the Olympic Games. As one of the newest sports around, it is significant that international championships are held because of the sport’s formal status as an extreme one.

Who can say for sure what the years to come will bring? It’s no secret that extreme ironing has gone mainstream and that more and more sportsmen are becoming addicted to the practice.

Extreme Ironing Safety Guidelines

There is a wide variety of factors that might lead to mishaps in high-risk activities. For this reason, it’s important to follow certain guidelines while engaging in intense ironing.

Know Your Surroundings Well at All Times

Before engaging in the activity, you must have a thorough understanding of the surrounding area in order to plan for any challenges, such as those posed by the terrain. Extreme ironing is still a new activity, therefore, it’s important for both experts and amateurs to be mindful of their surroundings.

The most crucial step is stopping the bleeding and getting some rest. Plan your escape routes, anticipate potential hazards, and have a game plan for overcoming obstacles if you must iron within a massive tunnel.

Helmets are Mandatory

The brain is the most crucial organ. Extreme ironing takes place in dangerous environments, so even if a thick skull may typically protect you from injuries like a nasty tumble to the floor, you should still be careful. For this reason, head protection is required.

A Safety Harness is Required

No matter where you want to do your extreme ironing, you must always have a harness on hand. That’s because a harness may help you carry the ironing board while keeping you securely fastened in place as you press your garments.

This is particularly true for ironing in situations so precarious that standing would be impossible, like lying on your side on a flat cliff. Transporting the ironing board is a crucial component of the game. Therefore, it’s best to strap it to your back. In other contexts, such as scuba diving, this is equally useful.

Always Make Sure to Have a Spotter with You

Spotters are there in case anything happens to you, and they will keep a close check on your whereabouts at all times. Most extreme sports still need a spotter, even without the ironing component. With this information at hand, both sides may respond quickly and be well-prepared.

You wouldn’t have to resort to severing an arm as Aron Ralston did if you ever found yourself in a similar situation. To avoid this, you may just summon your spotter, who would then assist you while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.

Instead, ask for your spotter, who can contact emergency services and support you while you wait.

The Best Teacher is Actual Life Experiences

This doesn’t mean you should skip out on mastering the fundamentals before trying out new activities like rock climbing, scuba diving, or cycling. This is a warning that you shouldn’t try any particularly challenging ironing techniques unless you’ve had some practice under your belt first.

With your extensive diving experience and skill as a scuba diver, you would find ironing underwater a breeze. On the other hand, an unskilled diver may panic in the middle of the dive, which might lead to serious injury or even death.

Extreme Ironing Achievements in the World

Extreme sports attract a small but dedicated fan base. Extreme sportspeople who iron their clothing are even rare. Since the beginning of this extreme sport, several world records have been set. It would not be easy to list them all (particularly given that several of them have set new world records), but we can certainly highlight those that made headlines.

  • Here are just a few examples

The Mount Everest Iron

The historic ironing of a Union Jack flag over Everest base camp by John Roberts, Ben Gibbons, and Christopher Allan Jowsey. At an astounding 17,850 feet above sea level, their ascent still holds the record for the highest altitude achieved by mountaineers in their sport.

The Rowenta Trophy

The SEB Group, or Societe d’Emboutissage Bourgogne, is a French manufacturer and retailer of kitchen and home gadgets (mainly cookware). The French firm started taking an interest in the sport in 2003 when they hosted the first Rowenta Trophy competition, which was won by South Africans.

The Diving Iron

In March of 2008, another remarkable achievement was accomplished. In an effort to break the record for the most persons underwater ironing at once, a crew of 72 divers dove in and set the mark. But the next year, a total of 86 divers beat that mark.

The previous high mark was smashed on March 28, 2011. This time it was accomplished in an indoor pool by 173 divers from the Dutch diving club De Waterman.

Comeback of Steam

After a long hiatus, Phil Shaw finally picked up an iron again. Shaw, also known by his alias “Steam,” came out of retirement to compete in the Hastings Half-Marathons, running the whole 13.1 miles while steaming his clothes.

The Y-40 and Piccoli

On June 16, 2008, close to Montegrotto Terme, Italy, an extreme ironing record was broken. The Y-40 pool at the Hotel Teme Millepini is the deepest pool in the world, so freediver Roland Piccoli chose to iron 138 feet below the surface.

Some of the Greatest Ironing Stunts

1. England: Multi-Disciplinary Extreme Ironing in England

It is not surprising that the United Kingdom is the country that has achieved the highest level of success in extreme ironing given that it was the country where the sport was first developed.

2. Speed Ironing on a Mountain Board in Japan

This guy knows how to get the jobs done in a quick and efficient manner. As he races down a grassy hill with an iron in his hand, he quickly gains ground and then makes a daring turn just in time to brush against the shirt that is waiting for him on his ironing board. Who says you can’t go on an adventure in Japan and do some extreme iron in a city park?

Video Link: https://youtu.be/-7E8gGKoHAM

3. Ironing in Transit, on Road, and over Water in the USA

At first glance, it seems like these crazies are only clinging to the side of a moving van using a soldered ironing board, but once the “van” rounds a few turns, it begins to move over the lake. These Massachusetts pranksters get twice the fun out of ironing because of this miraculous dual-use craft. Ironing isn’t all the state has to offer.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/18qQmiUzDRI

4. Emergency Ironing along the Side of the Road in Scotland

It would seem that there are times in Edinburgh when unexpected pressing of clothes is required. Thankfully, there is a local who enjoys this activity and is only a phone call away if you need him to chase you down the street with an iron in tow after your best dress clothes. Just try to tune out the cheesy music from the pursuit sequence.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/fHi8BmCBKpQ

5. Rappel-Ironing, fifth in Austria

For this one Austrian person who didn’t own a video camera, his pals’ video montage demonstrates how idle they really are. And bonus points for the coordinated spandex costume and brilliantly painted mansion he descends from. I think he enjoys conversing with passing neighbors while he irons shirts, but We highly doubt he owns many suits.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/iyXEaExJMBc

6. Sky Diving Ironing Championship Preparation in England

It is possible to both skydive and iron in England, and you can even do both at once. There are whole leagues devoted to the sport of extreme sky diving surf ironing (or whatever they call themselves), with members routinely competing for points based on flair and originality. Take a look as the teams get set for the vast dives; there will be a lot of clothing dropping into the board. When you next visit the United Kingdom, be on the lookout for Extreme Ironing events.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/MDteFysAWTA

7. Egypt’s Blue Hole, Where You Can Do Laundry Submerged

Not the first thing that comes to me when I think of promoting Egypt as a tourist destination, but the stunning Blue Hole in the midst of the desert has more potential than meets the eye. A woman accomplished her mission of being the first scuba diver to ever iron at the bottom of this azure sea.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/gZD2YWUDKxY

8. Skydiving with Extreme Ironing in England

At first glance, it seems like two people are jumping off of an aircraft with snowboards strapped to their feet. However, it soon becomes clear that their real intention is to utilize the board’s underside as an ironing board. If the mood strikes you when you’re in England participating in extreme sports, I’m sure the instructor will allow you to try out some of these maneuvers.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/7MV7-tMrbiM

9. New Zealand’s Extreme Ironing at the Summit of a Mountain

It’s easy to imagine a heated debate among the Kiwi men on the ascent to the summit about who would be responsible for transporting the ironing board. Though the scene of snowy crags and a sea of rocky peaks from the summit of this stunning New Zealand Peak is beautiful, I’m not sure that I’d choose it as my first choice of activity.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/goESpO5HWUM

10. American Extreme Bicycle Ironing

I have no idea what possessed a man to construct such a convoluted setup in order to tackle his ironing while cruising around Central Prospect Park in New York. From the tone of the video, he imagined a large number of people would want to know how to attach a gasoline generator to a mountain bike and an ironing board. One of these dedicated ironers succeeded in eliminating wrinkles from their shirt.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/k7UMUAbW6kk

Where Can You Do Extreme Ironing?

Extreme ironing, as we’ve established, takes place in the great outdoors. Extreme ironing is performed in places that are already challenging to access. The more reckless and illogical your actions are, the better.

However, there have to be guidelines on when and when this is allowed. Indeed, the first thing you might do if you came across someone ironing on the edge of a cliff would be to call for assistance. Here’s where the Extreme Ironing Bureau comes in to promote the sport and provide standards for its participants.

People usually advise practicing ironing in a backyard or other open area first before moving on to more challenging situations. For all its seeming lightheartedness, extreme sports pose serious risks to participants, spectators, and bystanders.

Where is the Popularity of Extreme Ironing Greatest?

Although EI was developed in England, it has now spread to many other countries and is particularly well-known in Germany. South Africa, England, Germany, and the Netherlands have produced some of the world’s most famous extreme ironists.

Is Extreme Ironing a Form of Extreme Sport?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, extreme sports are performed at high speeds and involve significant danger. However, opinions vary widely on what kinds of activities qualify as extreme sports. Today, “extreme” sports may also refer to ones that aren’t necessarily dangerous because of their unique nature.

Extreme ironing is fascinating to watch, regardless of whether or not you consider it should be considered a sport. If you have a lot of garments that need ironing, you may want to try doing some extreme ironing the next time you have a pile of dirty laundry to deal with, even if it means putting your iron and board outside.

How do You Start Excessive Ironing?

Considering how risky it is, this isn’t something you should try to take up on your own. It is advised that you take baby steps into it. It’s likely that your loved ones may try to take advantage of you if you choose to pursue this activity, but the financial rewards might be substantial enough to make it worthwhile.

Keep in mind that the riskier your stunts, the more money you may expect to earn, but remember that you won’t make any money if you don’t survive, so it’s smart to warm up in the backyard first.

You could even try ironing on the swing or the top of a shed or garage! Keep in mind that you will need a hot iron in order to iron your garments, yet, it may be challenging to locate an electrical outlet in far-flung locations.

Some daredevils have even tried ironing underwater. If I had to iron, I doubt I’d even know how to plug in the iron without being electrocuted.

Extreme Ironing: Interesting Facts

  • Some activities that qualify as part of this activity include skydiving, mountain climbing, canoeing, snowboarding, and surfing.
  • Extreme ironing has inspired its own subgenres, such as bungee ironing and ironing underwater.
  • For certain EI members, the term “extreme ironer” or “extreme ironist” best describes their level of EI participation.
  • John Roberts, Christopher Allan Jowsey, and Ben Gibbons, three British mountaineers, collaborated in 2003 to iron a Union Jack flag at the base camp of Mount Everest.
  • The EIB allegedly has a competition with the Urban Housework organization, which is promoting extreme vacuuming, as seen in the 2003 documentary Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory.

Final Thoughts

Each of us has our own unique approach to hobby time. Reading and dancing are popular hobbies, but there are also others who take ironing to an extreme.

Since there isn’t a regular extreme ironing competition right now, you can watch videos of past competitions on YouTube or keep up with a few famous ironers, like Phil Shaw, on social media.

We really hope that this article about extreme ironing was entertaining and informative. It’s a skill worth highlighting if you can iron your garments while hanging over a cliff, as ludicrous as it may sound.

In case you’re thinking about trying your hand at extreme ironing, just keep in mind the regulations and restrictions we laid down for you. Who can say? One day, you could win an Olympic gold for ironing.

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Al Amin Sagor is simply a movie freak who is passionate about writing entertainment content. He loves to watch web series, and movies and write on celebrity gossip or trendy movie news. He also covers media and entertainment news on various online platforms. He is one of the "Jewel" of The News Titan.


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