I am not making this up...


As strange as it sounds, extreme ironing is a combination sport for those thrill-seekers who like nothing more than a properly pressed shirt. The sport involves getting into an extreme situation - through rock climbing, canoeing or even unicycling; and then ironing.


In the City of Leicester, England, the sport was devised by a knitwear worker by the name of Phil Shaw, or Steam in EI circles. When he arrived home from work one bright evening in 1997, he would have preferred to go out rock climbing than deal with the mountain of ironing he had at home. Why not combine them? he thought, and the sport was born.

Steam also formed the Extreme Ironing Bureau (EIB) with housemate Spray. The bureau is the official governing body of the sport worldwide.

World Championship

The first World Extreme Ironing Championship was held in Munich, Germany on September 21, 2002. 13 nations took part, including Britain, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden. The contest consisted of several stages - ironing in the back of a car, on a climbing wall, up a tree and even underwater.

The British team, sponsored by Rowenta, had been training by ironing their way around the Three Peaks challenge - climbing the highest peak in each of England, Scotland and Wales with their board.