Did You Say Extreme Ironing?

by Jack Smith

This may fit into the “Now I’ve heard everything file,” but in 1980, two brothers in the U.K. introduced extreme ironing to the world. Now, most homemakers and others who like a crisp ironed shirt to wear to work or out on a special occasion may not see ironing as that much fun or daring, but have you ever taken your ironing board and iron to someplace like the top of a mountain or off a Hawaiian coastline of beautiful rock cliffs falling majestically into the Pacific? With this supreme sport, it is all about the environment that makes extreme ironing so extreme, not necessarily the act of ironing.

Where Does Extreme Ironing Take Place?

Most people would appreciate sightseeing to luxurious and extravagant locations around the world, and ironists always select especially dangerous locations to take their ironing boards and produce perfectly ironed shirts while they are there. Calling extreme ironing a sport is debatable; many competitors look at the whole idea as a cult, but, in recent years, “ironists” have “competed” in such extreme locations as on an iceberg in the Antarctic, skiing, snowboarding, on a mountainside, in a canoe, and while parachuting at 12,000 feet! As you can see, no place is off-limits when you want to show off your extreme ironing techniques for sport.

How Did This Extreme Sport Get Started?

Extreme ironing was “born” in 1980 by Tony Hiam who was inspired by his brother-in-law John Slater who was known to enjoy ironed clothes so much that he ironed while camping to keep up his image! As tongue-in-cheek, Tony demonstrated the uselessness of unnecessary ironing from 1980 to 1990 by carrying his ironing board with him and ironing in bizarre situations.

As others began to get involved and the “sport” got even more dangerous, such as ironing while bungy jumping, the participants began to win competitions and extreme ironing became known as the crazy sport. Performances are conducted solo or in groups, but the enthusiastic ironists all share the same desire for an ultimate adrenaline rush along with their ironing. The first performances were conducted by Mr. Hiam to have fun with his brother-in-law, John, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the U.K.

Whether you look at dangerous ironing as a sport or a cult of excitable and daring members, you have to admit, it’s a great way to take your mind off your problems and see extravagant sights around the world. In this day and age, everybody needs a pass time that will reduce stress and allow you to enjoy the world around you. Ironing athletes find more extreme places to perform every year weirder places, such as in March 2008 when a team of 72 divers simultaneously set a new world’s record for the number of people ironing underwater. They seem to live by the saying that whatever you can imagine is possible, and it may get you internationally noticed!

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