The FQ Adrenaline Guide

Sports You Didn’t Even Know Existed

[Image - Jason Ruffell]
Written by Sam Skelding

Throw skydiving, base-jumping, wakeboarding and freestyle skiing out of the window and forget everything you think you know about extreme sports. 

The innovation in the extreme sports world is unparalleled and its perpetual nature continues to create new and more exciting activities for us to try. Many of these sports are dangerous, adrenaline-fuelled and are certainly death defying – there are some that can even be considered feats of great imagination but will be sure to test your physical limits. Read on to discover a sport from the 40’s reinvented, an unusual take on volleyball and football like you’ve never seen it before.

Roller Derby

Probably the most well known out all of these, Roller Derby is a contact sport played by two teams of roller skaters. Beginning in America in the 1940’s, the sport has now branched out internationally with around half the amateur leagues played outside of the US and in recent years, there is no denying it has taken the UK by storm, particularly following the success of the London Rollergirls.

Essentially, each team has 7 skaters and fields 5 during short matchups called ‘jams’; they also have their own designated scorer called a ‘jammer’ who scores points by passing members of the other team. The teams attempt to simultaneously help their own ‘jammer’ whilst preventing the opposite team from scoring, meaning they play both defence and offence at the same time. Whilst this sport is largely female-orientated, a male version, aptly titled ‘Merby’, has become more popular and co-ed leagues can also be found across Britain.

Skibobbing

Skibobbing is a rather peculiar sport that leaves much to the imagination. Basically, it’s a similar concept to skiing except it involves a bicycle frame attached to the skis instead of wheels and a set of foot-skis. The act of ‘skibobbing’ involves the use of these foot-skis, where you race with competitors at speeds that can reach up to 120mph or more.

Originally used as a means of transportation in the Alps, it’s now a popular game amongst winter enthusiasts. Having been compared to the feeling of jet-skiing on snow, it is however different to the sport of snowbiking, which is the attempt to recreate the feeling of cycling on snow. There are no technical rules to the races despite there being an International Federation of Skibobbbing. Also worth mentioning is the fact that once you’re on one, there is no way to stop the skibob until you crash or hit something.

Bossaball

A (sort of) similar game to volleyball, bossaball incorporates elements of football, gymnastics, trampoline and capoeira in one rather unique blend. The bossaball court is a giant inflatable volleyball court, with trampolines on either side. Each team consists of five players, with one server positioned on their trampoline.

The rules are essentially the same ones that apply to volleyball, except here the players can use any body part to get the ball over to the other side. An incredibly entertaining affair, there is more to bossaball than just the game, with music playing an important part. A sport just as much as a spectacle, the referee is referred to as a ‘samba referee’ and not only making calls, he is also the Master of Ceremonies with his whistle, microphone, percussions and even a DJ set. 

Underwater Ice Hockey

If you have any pre-conceptions about this game, then they are probably right. Underwater Ice Hockey is, as the name suggests, an extreme variation of ice hockey that takes place underwater. Played underneath frozen pools or lakes, participants don diving masks, wetsuits and fins, and play with a floatable puck.

If that’s not hardcore enough, players do not use any form of breathing apparatus, instead resurfacing every 30 seconds for air. Originating in Finland, the game has grown considerably in recent years, hosting its own Underwater Ice Hockey World Cup. Stamina and strength are definite requirements for this game; with the amount of physically challenging and unnatural aspects to the game, this should definitely be reserved only for the most daring of you.

Royal Shrovetide Football

One of the most notorious English games invented, Royal Shrovetide Football is definitely not for the faint of heart. Played in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, this game has been going on since the 12th century and is played by two towns in Derby, hence the name ‘local derby’.

Matches take place twice at year at 2pm between the Up’Ards and the Down’Ards, with goal posts three miles apart that consists of nothing but a large wall. There is no official playing area, as the whole town is found within the three-mile radius. There is no limit on the number of players, meaning tourists are more than welcome to participate. Matches can last up to 8 hours and only end when the ball hits one of the walls three times. The only rule actually enforced is that you are not permitted to kill any of your competitors – sounds fun right?