14 amazing sports you never knew existed

1. Quidditch

Can you believe that you can actually play Quidditch in real life? The sport that Harry plays at Hogwarts is now played by over 20,000 people across the world. However, flying on magical broomsticks has been replaced by running around a field with a broomstick in between your legs.

Apart from this the rules are pretty much the same as in the Harry Potter books. The aim of the game is to score as many points as you can before someone captures the golden snitch.

  

2. Pillow Fighting

Ever had a pillow fight and got in trouble? Then check out International Pillow Fight Day. One day a year people get together in town squares across the world to fight it out with a pillow.

For those that take it really seriously, there's a World Pillow Fight Championship taking place in America in 2019. You better get practicing!

  

3. Wheelbarrow Racing

A wheelbarrow isn’t just for gardening. The Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race in Northumberland is one of the most famous wheelbarrow races. On New Year's Day competitors race the mile-long course in the quickest time possible. There's a male, female and junior category and fancy dress is encouraged.

  

4. Cycle Ball

Yes, you are looking at people playing football with their bikes! The game Cycle Ball was invented in 1893 in America and involves two teams of two players with the aim of scoring goals with a bike.

Players are not allowed to use their hands or feet and can only move the ball with their bike. The bikes themselves are specially adapted for the game and don't even have brakes. Don't try this on your own bike as it can be pretty dangerous.

  

5. Lawnmower Racing

Yes, people actually race sit-on lawnmowers! The sport was invented in the 1960s by a group of people who found other kinds of motorsports too expensive.

They removed the cutting blades for safety from their lawnmowers and set up lawnmower races across Britain. You need to be 18 to compete, but you can go and watch a race if you are interested in seeing how it's done.

  

6. Toe Wrestling

Get your nose pegs at the ready, the annual Toe Wrestling World Championships takes place in Derbyshire, England! It has similar rules to arm wrestling and after having their feet inspected for signs of fungus or injury, contestants sit on the floor, facing each other and lock toes. 

The aim of the game is to attempt to pin the other's foot for three seconds to the sideboard. It is the best of three rounds and played first with the right foot, then left, and right again (if necessary). There is also a tradition for players to remove the other player's shoes and socks before they play! 

  

7. Mermaiding

Ever wanted to be a mermaid? Well, you can now get special mermaid swimming lessons. You put both feet in a large single fin (similar to the fins you'd wear for scuba diving) and wear a mermaid tail which holds your legs together to get that half-fish mermaid look.

You have to learn a special swimming technique that's a bit like a butterfly stroke, under the guidance of a professional mermaid instructor and then you too will be swimming like a mermaid!

  

8. Log Rolling

Log rolling is where two people compete to knock each other off a log floating in water. The competitors battle to stay on the log by running, jumping and kicking the log whilst attempting to knock their opponent into the water.

The match begins with a whistle and continues until someone falls in or the time runs out. The first person to lose contact with the log and fall into the water loses the game. A competitive match consists of five games and the first to three wins.

  

9. Street Luge

Street luge is an extreme gravity-powered activity that involves riding a street luge board (sometimes referred to as a sled) downhill over a paved road or pre-defined course. Much like the Winter Olympic sport of luge, riders lie back with their feet facing forward and steer using their bodyweight.

It was originally invented by skateboarders in California who wanted to go faster downhill, so they lay down on their skateboards. Professionals now reach speeds of over 100mph!

  

10. Mountain Unicycling

Mountain unicycling or 'muni' as it’s often known, is an adventure sport that involves people using a specially designed unicycle to cross terrain you'd usually ride a mountain bike on.

Muni riders require much more focus on the route than normal mountain bikers and the risk of falling off is much higher. The unicycles are equipped with large, knobbly tires, high-grip pedals and rugged frames. Some are also equipped with brakes, having the lever mounted under the nose of the saddle to help with stability going downhill.  

  

11. Swamp Football

Swamp football (or 'swamp soccer' as it's more commonly known) is a game of football played in a big muddy bog. Teams play with six players on a very squidgy pitch and games have two ten minute halves.

The game was invented in Finland in 1998, when the top Finnish cross-country skiers wanted to improve their basic level of fitness during the summer months, so practiced football in the swamp. The aim of the game, just like regular football, is to score more goals than your opponent.  

  

12. Man versus Horse Marathon

This is a race between humans and horses, and guess what, the horses usually win! The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual race over 22 miles, where runners compete against riders on horseback through the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.

It originated when someone tested a much debated theory, that over a significant distance across country, man was equal to any horse. It has been run since 1980 and has only been won by a human twice, with the first winner in 2004 scooping up a £25,000 prize for achieving such an incredible feat.

  

13. Underwater Hockey

Yep it's hockey in a swimming pool! Underwater Hockey is a sport in which two teams compete to score goals by moving a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool with a small handheld hockey stick or ‘pusher’. There are six players in each team, they wear fins, a snorkel, a mask and a glove on the hand that holds the pusher.

Games consist of two halves of typically ten to fifteen minutes and the highest scoring team wins, but you can come up for air whenever you need to.

  

14. Footvolley

Footvolley is very similar to beach volleyball, except players are not allowed to use their hands and a football replaces the volleyball.

Teams consist of two players and points are awarded if the ball hits the ground in the opponent’s court, if they commit a fault, or if they fail to return the ball over the net. The winning team is the first to 18 points. Better practice your keepy-uppies if you fancy a game of footvolley!

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