What is extreme ironing?
Extreme ironing is an adrenaline sport which combines the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt. Extreme ironing can take place anywhere under the sky and borrows disciplines from other extreme sports, such as rock climbing, skiing, scuba diving, sky diving and running.
The story of extreme ironing began in 1997 in the city of Leicester. Phil returned home from a day’s work at a knitwear factory to a pile of ironing. Deciding that regular ironing was a bit too boring, he took it out into the garden. When his housemate Paul came home and asked what he was doing, Phil replied, “extreme ironing”.
The two adopted the monikers Steam and Spray and persuaded friends to join them in their outdoor ironing adventures. Steam founded the Extreme Ironing Bureau (EIB) to promote and develop the sport.
Steam’s chance meeting with a German called Kai at the millennium celebrations in New Zealand was to prove pivotal to the sport’s development. Kai took the extreme ironing name Hot Crease and founded the German Extreme Ironing Section (GEIS).
After running various competitions the two sections collaborated on the Extreme Ironing World Championships held in Munich in 2002. The individual competition was won by a German ironist, Hot Pants, with the team trophy taken by Steam’s own team, GB1.
The championships marked the start of extreme ironing getting mainstream media attention, becoming the subject of a Channel 4 documentary Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Glory, a DVD and book.
In 2004, Steam, Starch and Short Fuse toured the States, taking extreme ironing to Boston, New York, South Dakota and Wisconsin, after which Steam retired from the sport.
Since then extreme ironing has lived a life of its own, being taken to Antarctica, Mount Aconcagua, Mount Kilimanjaro and also been the subject of a series of world record breaking Scuba ironing events. You can read the various press cuttings online.
Now Steam has returned to the sport for one last iron. He’ll be joined by members of the Extreme Ironing Bureau for a new challenge: running a half marathon with a full board, ironing along the course with hot irons. How will the team fare? Read this blog and turn up in Hastings on the 25th March to find out.
- Extreme Ironing training video (teamsteam.org)
- Never say never… (teamsteam.org)
- First training session with the board (teamsteam.org)
- Fe, Ultraglide and Water Tank join Team Steam (teamsteam.org)