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One day in 1997, a young British man named Phil Shaw came home from work and was confronted by a mountain of wrinkled laundry. It wasn’t a welcoming sight for sure, and Shaw did not feel like ironing his clothes. In fact, he wanted to go rock climbing. So, he packed up his wrinkled duds, an iron, and an ironing board. He then headed off with his roommate to the nearest cliff he could find to do “a spot of ironing whilst rock climbing.” In that moment, extreme ironing was born.
Objective: To press wrinkled laundry in extreme environments. Danger: A range of injuries can occur, caused by falls and missteps. Did You Know? “Eso ironing” is a form of extreme ironing that combines ironing with the tenets of meditation.
Extreme ironing has put a new wrinkle into what it means to be an athlete. It is one of the most interesting and dangerous sports, a popular activity in which participants iron as they climb rocky cliffs, skydive, bungee jump, cliff dive, surf, or whitewater raft, among other gnarly activities. The first Extreme Ironing World Championships, held in a small village near Munich, Germany, in 2002, drew 12 teams from 10 countries. Athletes had to navigate five rounds of ironing in different situations. It was sort of a laundry obstacle course that included climbing a rock wall and hanging from a moss-covered tree. Judges ranked the contestants on the creativity of their ironing skills and how well they got the wrinkles out. “Ironists,” Shaw writes in his book on the sport, “are sometimes so absorbed in getting themselves into some sort of awkward or dangerous situation with their ironing board that they forget the main reason they are there in the first place: to rid their clothing of creases and wrinkles.”
The Ultimate Book of Dangerous Sports & Activities
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