We've gathered the world's weirdest, strangest, most unusual sports you must see before you die.
1 of 20Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
The world’s most famous eating competition takes place every year on the Fourth of July at Coney Island in New York. Champions of years past, such as Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi, are immortalized in all of their gluttonous glory. This year’s competition marks the centennial anniversary of the competition, with 2015 champion Matt Stonie defending his crown against the world record-holding Chesnut.
2 of 20Luhur Wahyu Wijaya/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
The beautiful game takes on a fiery twist. In Indonesia, they play soccer with a ball made of coconut fiber, doused in fuel and set ablaze for a sizzling experience on the pitch. Goalies are seen in this clip handling the ball with no gloves and the crowd surrounds the field of play, often being struck by the engulfed ball. Surprisingly, no one gets hurt.
3 of 20Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Red Bull Flugtag
This summer the contest will be held twice in the U.S., in Boston on Aug. 20 and in Louisville on Aug. 27. Contestants are judged on three criteria: flight distance, creativity and showmanship. Despite some pretty extravagant designs, more often than not these man-made aircrafts end up crashing pretty hard.
4 of 20AP
Giant Pumpkin Regatta
This is unconventional boating at it’s finest. Contestants scoop out the insides of giant pumpkins, crafting a one person boat with the objective of racing from one pier to another. Surprisingly, pumpkins are super-buoyant, but the tricky part seems to be balancing in the giant vegetable.
5 of 20Richard Ellis/Getty Images
This list of truly strange sports was originally held in 1996 and has been continued ever since. With events like the toilet-seat horseshoes, bobbing for pig’s feet and the mud pit belly flop, how could you go wrong?
6 of 20DozoDomo/Flickr
This very violent and intense Japanese sport is similar to that of capture the flag with a twist. The flag is a giant pole that 75 defenders protect from 75 attackers who ravenously attempt to take down the pole. The game is mainly played by cadets of Japan’s National Defense Academy, making it not for the faint of heart.
7 of 20Romina Amato/Red Bull via Getty Images
Red Bull Cliff Diving
This worldwide competition puts the world’s best divers atop a 28 meter (92 feet) platform and challenges them to perform dives of breath-taking complexity. The 2016 World Series of Cliff Diving continues in Sao Miguel, Azores, a remote island well outside of Portugal, on July 9. The competitions will continue all the way through October 28 in Dubai.
8 of 20Mohd Fyrol/AFP/Getty Images
On of Asia’s most interesting sports can be traced back to the early 1600s. The sport is pretty similar to that of volleyball or badminton, but is unique because players are required to only use their feet to play. Games are typically composed around the best of 3-sets, with each set being played to 21 (win by two to 25). Bottom-line, you have to be really skilled, with not only your feet, but in acrobatics as well, in order to play this game.
9 of 20Terry Trewin/Getty Images
Beer Can Regatta
A boat race constructed with ships made with nothing more than beer cans as building material has been a tradition in Darwin Australia since 1974. Teams race their boats from Mindil Beach, around a buoy and back. The race has seen a drop in popularity, but still takes place every year.
10 of 20Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Done annually at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester, England, locals chase after a large wheel of cheese down a steep, grassy-hill. This event is very dangerous and many contestants take a serious tumble while trying to chase down the cheese. Regardless, there is always a winner, and celebration always ensues, despite nearly dying.
11 of 20VCG via Getty Images
World Wingsuit League
What could you do to make wingsuiting more intense? Make it a competition. The WWL was formed in 2012 by Iiro Seppanen and Frank Yang, and is growing year-by-year in popularity. This death-defying sport is about as extreme as it gets.
12 of 20Andrea Baldo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Welcome to the real-life version of the Harry Potter-based sport that is sweeping college campuses by storm. Volleyballs, dodge balls, tennis balls, toy brooms and hula-hoops are all used for the set-up of the game. Perhaps, most interestingly, the golden snitch takes on human form, trying to prevent the capture of the sock-tethered tennis ball from being stolen from his back.
13 of 20Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images
Beard and Moustache Championships
The origin of this competition is cloudy, but has been attributed as beginning in Höfen/Enz, Germany in 1990, and has spread to different locations worldwide since. The competition is judged in 16-traditional categories, including moustache, partial beard and full beard. Some of the beards get pretty extravagant, but pretty awesome at the same time.
14 of 20Razan Alzayani/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Drone Racing League
What’s not to like about Quad-Copter Drones flying around stadiums at speeds up to 120mph? The sport that is still in it’s infancy could very well become one of the more popular racing leagues in the next few years. The drones are flown by Pilots wearing First Person View goggles, giving them a unique view from the drone. This is all part of the DRL, where six contest decide which pilots will race for the league championship.
15 of 20Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images
The Beer Mile
The Beer Mile — Ever feel like running a mile after downing a nice cold brew? What about four? If so this might be your sport. All you truly need to take a stab at this sport is four beers and a track. Each runner must run one lap, then chug an entire beer four times in order to complete the race. The current world record for a beer mile is 4:47.17, held by Lewis Kent of Canada. The official website has records that date back to the late 1980s and the sport seems to be growing in popularity as more and more variations are being developed.
16 of 20Emma Wood/Getty Images
Dover Hill in Gloucestershire, England is the home to the shin-kicking contest that has been running for more than 400 years. Each man holds the shoulders of their opponent, with the hopes of kicking his opponent so hard in the shins that he drops to the ground, earning one point. The player with the most points at the end of the third round is declared the winner. Each contestant is allowed to stuff their pant legs with straw to cushion the blow, but surely doesn’t numb the pain completely. Ouch!
17 of 20Michael Dodge/Getty Images
The Caber Toss is probably the most interesting part of the Highland Games. A competitor lifts the nearly 20-foot long piece of lumber and throws it as far as possible. The Highland Games traditions date back before the birth of Christ. The game requires brute strength as each single caber can weigh up to 180 lbs.
18 of 20John Locher/AP
World Armwrestling Championships
This sport, which is more classic in nature has taken a turn from a competition between two drunk guys at a bar arguing about who’s stronger. This strength competition has evolved into the World Armwrestling League and can even be viewed on ESPN. The 2016 WAL championships will be held in Las Vegas and have some pretty big cash payouts for winning.
19 of 20Emma Wood/Getty Images
Swamp Soccer World Cup
Ever felt like playing soccer in a swamp? Yeah, me neither. However people in Strachur, Argyll, Scotland apparently prefer to get their kicks in the mud. The game is played with traditional rules to that of soccer, except for shorter halves, and smaller fields. Oh, and a whole lot of muddy water.
20 of 20John Li/Getty Images
Gurning/Face pulling contest
Remember those old Keystone light beer commercials? The one’s where you don’t want to get bitter beer face? Well in Egremont, Cumbria, UK, at the town’s annual crab fair, contestants aim to do just that in the World Gurning Championships. Each contestant tries to show their ugliest face while poking their head through a horse collar. The contest dates back to the late 1200s and awards both a male and female champion each year.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!