It’s said that variety is the spice of life. If your workout routine has lost its charm, check out some of the weirdest sports you never heard of or tried.
The pandemic forced team sports to take a long pause in 2020, and some may not fully resume until 2021 or even later. While you’re doggedly doing your socially-distant, solo workouts, add some of the weirdest sports you never hear of or tried to your list. They’ll help take up time until you can board a chairlift with your pandemic pod or play team sports again.
Winter is a great time for solo sports such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, but how about buckling into your snowboard and grabbing the handle of a sail-like kite? A windy day might find you sailing uphill or lifting off to glide over slopes, airborne. You can find snow kiting in most wintery climates, like Canada, the north and central U.S., and Nordic countries.
If flying makes you nervous, try shovel racing instead. It’s like sledding, except you sit on a shovel, with the handle sticking up between your legs. Catching air is not the point—just getting to the bottom first will win the race.
This sport may seem contradictory at first glance. Combatants use their brainpower to take each other on in a game of chess, only to interrupt things with a round of boxing. It’s either checkmate or knockout, whichever comes first.
Musical Canine Freestyle
Imagine ballroom dancing with your dog, and you’ll come close to the new sport of musical canine freestyle. Competitors perform dance routines with their pups. Mercifully, it appears that only the humans dress in costume, while the canine performs coordinating moves.
Giant Pumpkin Kayaking
Once you win the prize for growing the biggest pumpkin, celebrate by hollowing it out and racing or floating with others downstream. The West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta takes place in Oregon, while Nova Scotia hosts a similar half-mile race around Lake Pesaquid. Participants may decorate their orange craft or dress in costumes.
This may seem weird to Americans, but this is a popular and legitimate sport in Southeast Asia. It’s like volleyball, except you can’t use your hands. Players perform spectacular kicks to get a small ball over a 5-foot net, on a court twice as large as a badminton court.
Cycleball and Cyclocross
Think of this game like two-person soccer on a basketball court, with competitors riding fixed-gear, brakeless bikes. If you prefer your cycle sports outdoors, try cyclocross. You may have heard of it, but you probably haven’t tried it yet. Combining bike racing with a sort of steeplechase, where you must hop off your bike and carry it over obstacles, cyclocross courses combine grass, mud, gravel, and sometimes snow. If you fondly remember the look on your Mom’s face when you came home from playing in the mud, cyclocross is the sport for you.
There are plenty of other activities that may qualify as the weirdest sports you never heard of, including cheese rolling, wife carrying, toe wrestling, and bubble soccer. There’s no end to the wacky physical activities people come up with for exercise and amusement.