Extreme Ironing
[ Issue 46 ]

Emily Bronto clearly approves of Extrem Ironing

Let Bikwil introduce you to Extreme Ironing

Extreme Ironing

Tony Rogers might have started Issue 46's Web Line column in the eccentric underground, but in the end he finds himself on mountain tops.  In other words, this is a potted history of "extreme ironing".
 

No doubt you’ve heard of the term extreme used in connection with certain sports. It refers to the performing by daredevil people of a land-based, water or aerial activity that is risk-taking and adventurous. Often the sole intent of participants is to experience the addictive adrenaline rush that comes from pushing their own limits of fear and physical ability.

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Web Line — Tony Rogers

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Everyone’s talking about it, so why not Bikwil?

No doubt you’ve heard of the term extreme used in connection with certain sports. It refers to the performing by daredevil people of a land-based, water or aerial activity that is risk-taking and adventurous. Often the sole intent of participants is to experience the addictive adrenaline rush that comes from pushing their own limits of fear and physical ability.

That said, doubtless you can detect which of the following is a genuine competitive sport:

Bungee Jumping at Niagara Playing the Violin
Extreme Ironing anywhere
Nude Mountain Climbing in the Himalayas
Paragliding over Erupting Volcanoes
Skateboarding on the Sydney Opera House Sails
White-water Kayaking dressed in an Aardvark Costume.

Yes, you knew all along, didn’t you?

The direct and unpretentious definition given in the free Internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia reads:

Extreme Ironing (or EI) is an extreme sport in which people take an ironing board to a remote location and iron a few items of clothing . . . EI supposedly combines the excitement of an extreme sport with the satisfaction of freshly-ironed clothes.

For those of you who still think that this is a hoax, let me show you a few sites devoted to this phenomenon. First, though, a little background.

Extreme Ironing was invented in his back yard by a Leicester man named Phil Shaw. The year was 1997. According to The Guardian, it soon took on the character of traditional British eccentricity, being at first an underground organisation. But by 2002 it had become a global challenge (having been promoted single-handedly around the world by Shaw), especially after he ran into some German tourists in New Zealand with whom he founded Extreme Ironing International. It now has competitive devotees everywhere — Austria, Australia, Croatia, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, U.K., U.S. . . . As of 2003 there were about 1,000 of them worldwide.

So what sort of stunts do these extremists perform?

How about these?

while flying a Luftfahrzeug microlight aircraft
under water at a depth of 101m, in the sand arch of the Blue Hole, off the Egyptian coast
suspended from the Tyrolean Traverse, Wolfberg Cracks, Cederberg, South Africa.

Where will it all end?

Incidentally, “ironists” often give themselves appropriate nicknames. Phil Shaw calls himself Steam, his original Leicester housemate Paul used the name Spray and there are others today (men and women) going by monikers like

Crease Lightnin’
D. Creasing
De-Pressed
Dr Iron Q

Fabulon
Frinkle Wee
Hot Pants
Hotplate
Iron-Deficiency
IronManM
Jeremy Irons
Permanent Press Release
Short Fuse
Starch.

The official Web site, Extreme Ironing Bureau, offers most of the information you’ll ever need. Obviously, you must look at all the photos in the Galleries, read the Reviews and Forums, select your Downloads and get the book, the DVD and the calendar from the Shop. Links and Search facilities are also available.

And yes, there is an Aussie Web site — Extreme Ironing Oz.

It might consist primarily of photos of daring young folks in action, but these pics are well worth your attention. Also of special interest at the site are the humorous quotes. Here are two:

From the ironist known as Permanent Press Release:

I want to have the first Iron in space — in space, no one can hear you steam . . .

From the man calling himself Jeremy Irons:

Well, since it has now become a worldwide sport, it may be pursued by the Olympics. But I think it has a wider appeal and an EI Olympics will eventually eclipse the existing games. As conventional sports become boring and tedious, they will have to add Ironing as part of their discipline. Then we’ll see EI taken to the level of world domination. We’ll see the Millions in sponsorships and Prize money. This will be followed by corruption at all levels and sex scandals, followed by the EI Enhancing Drugs . . . I can’t wait !

How’s that for an idea whose time has come? Extreme Ironing in the Olympics. But no longer an idea, it’s now an Urban Myth, and rumoured all over the Net, for example:

Following Britain’s success at the rowing in Athens, five times Olympic gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave has backed extreme ironing to become an Olympic sport.

Some of our local readers will have recently seen Australian daredevil Frinkle Wee performing in the Grose Valley (N.S.W.), where he demonstrated his death-defying base-jump ironing ability. It was shown, in June 2004, I think, on the ABC’s popular culture TV programme Mondo Thingo.

(For those not in the know, like me, the acronym B.A.S.E. stands for Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth, the four types of platforms used in this sport — a form of parachuting.)

Other international Web sites include

Extreme Ironing Team Austria
Dutch Extreme Ironing
Extreme Ironing on Pikes Peak, Colorado.

But just watch out! Other extreme sports are on the march, such as Extreme Accounting. Some people even claim that there are such pastimes as Extreme Croquet, Extreme Unicycling and Extreme Wheelbarrow. Should I believe them?

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