Search Cool of the Wild Start typing...

Extreme Ironing: A Dangerous, Daring And Daft Pursuit

Rock climbing extreme ironing

Extreme ironing could’t be more of a contradition. And yet, it exists! Inspired by the cotton-fresh smoothness of a creaseless shirt, really, what in this life could be more satisfying than ironing?! Well, I can think of plenty of things, to be honest. But I’ll have to admit to feeling highly fulfilled by finally reaching the bottom of the ironing pile. Maybe it’s just sheer relief that it’s over and if so, then it really isn’t any wonder that Phil, from Leicester, decided to turn his ironing boredom into something a little less flattening to the spirits. He only took his ironing board out into the back garden, but this small rebellion against the stiff and straight world of conventional ironing, was enough to spark the beginning of something even more radical than his freshly ironed laundry. It was the dawn of extreme ironing.

Since that fateful day back in 1997, the sport of extreme ironing gained momentum in ways that Phil never thought possible: pressing on cliffs, flattening in the forest, steaming in seas. There was no end to the lengths that people were prepared to go to get their ironing kicks. So far in fact, that in 2002 the 1st Extreme Ironing World Championships saw 12 teams compete for champion extreme ironing status. The subsequent documentary, Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory, gained the sport international attention, leading to breakaway groups in the US and numerous extreme ironing world records. And in 2003, Phil Shaw even published the book Extreme Ironing.

Unfortunately, the championships peaked after the first competition. But even now, in 2022, there are still people involved in this weird and wonderful world with an active community engaging in the Extreme Ironing Official Facebook Page.

climbing harness gear guide

We think it’s totally batty, but love the audacity of the athletes who work so hard to make their mark in a world where the pressing of a shirt shouldn’t be bound by the walls of your house. Here are some of our favourite extreme ironing enthusiasts, flat out representing:

Extreme Ironing wakeboarderParamotor extreme ironingExtreme ironing scuba diversExtreme ironing bouldererExtreme ironing rock climberExtreme ironing unicyclersExtreme ironing tree climberExtreme ironing snowboardersExtreme ironing white water rafters

About the author


Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

Open Menu