Arts & Culture

Extreme Ironing: We Love Blowing Off Steam! (Video)

From the ‘Department of Sports That Probably Won’t Make The Next Olympics’

Introducing, Extreme Ironing! Well, in this case the introduction will be much less extreme than say, you actually partaking in the activity. Or, if we had gone out and taken the pictures for this article ourselves whilst partaking in the activity in real time!  Now it’s time to press on for the facts, shall we? And really iron out the details on this oddly entertaining and viral phenomenon.

(*cue assaultive extreme sports audio montage*)

Domesticating Dangerously:

According to Web sources – Extreme Ironing is an activity stuck somewhere between an extreme sport and a performance art, in which people take ironing boards to remote locations and iron items of clothing. If you asked Extreme Ironing (EI) creator, Phil Shaw (aka ‘Steam’), he’s been heard to quote quite bombastically,

“The latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

How dangerously dapper of you Mr. Shaw

Sounds simple enough, but just like an accidently hot-pressed wrinkle crease, the devil is in the details! And, in the case of Extreme Ironing, the details of a quick Google Images search for ‘extreme ironing’ showcases the entertainingly great lengths people will go to get involved in fun and utterly baffling web trends; browse for yourself. It’s tough not to laugh in amazement as you scroll to reveal the breadth of activities that unveils before you..all tied together through ironing, but varying so much after that!

Pressing The Limits:

A small, quick list of the extreme locations or activities tied to the Extreme Ironing sport, includes: a mountainside of a difficult climb; a forest; in a canoe; while skiing or snowboarding; on top of large bronze statues; in the middle of a street; underwater; in the middle of the London’s M1 Motorway; on a Humvee in foreign duty; whilst parachuting; and under the ice cover of a lake.

The performances have been conducted solo or by groups, performed fearlessly by the participant athletes who seem prepared to stop at nothing to top the last uploaded photo proving dominance in the sport.

Whether it’s action videos in YouTube, a plethora of self-produced athlete uploads or even the formation of the offshoot group, Extreme Ironing International with representation in the United States, Germany, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, Extreme Ironing has really taken on a life of it’s own after bursting onto the extreme sports scene in 1997, in England. Another crowning moment in the golden age of Extreme Ironing came in the sultry spring of 2008, when a team of 72 divers, simultaneously ironing underwater, set a new World’s Record for number of people ironing underwater at once! And in the winter of 2009, 128 divers including 6 free divers, attempted to break the previous World Record, managing to confirm 86 divers ironing within a 10 minute period, near Gloucestershire, UK.

Is there nothing they won’t stop at for their next well-pressed fix?

It’s not hard to imagine that all of this makes the original creator of Extreme Ironing – Phil Shaw, quite proud. And even though it may never make the next Olympics, from the looks of how many extremely enthusiastic people are willing to get involved, I don’t think they’d have a problem forming enough National teams to start an Extreme Ironing Olympics of their own.

And you know the uniforms are going to look extremely snappy!


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