Archive for the ‘New Sports’ Category

Noodling – Catching Catfish with your bare hands


Noodling, or cat fishing, is the sport of catching catfish with bare hands. As simple as this sounds, it’s probably one of the most weird, insane and dangerous sports that anyone can participate in. Also known as hand fishing, hogging, tickling, grabbing or stumping, it’s legal in only 13 states of the USA.

How it works

Typically, it works by the fisherman, known as the ‘noodler’ using their feet to find catfish holes in shallow water. This is the reason why catfish are chosen over other animals, due to the circumstances of their habitat. The noodler then reaches into the hole with their hand and waits for the fish to latch on in a defensive maneuver. The noodler then pulls out their hand with the fish and catches it.

Noodling is generally done in pairs or larger groups. The extra people are used for assisting in taking the fish back to shore, as they can be quite heavy (an average fish weighing approximately 18kg), and also as ‘spotters’ who help locate the catfish homes. The main reason it is important to never fish alone is due to the danger of the activity.



Dangers of Noodling

Catfish are incredibly strong, and when put in danger they have the ability to pull a man under the water. Experienced noodlers tell stories of men who have been dragged underwater, never to resurface. Also, when the catfish bites down on a noodler’s hand, they tend to lurch side to side in a panic, causing the already painful bite to intensify.

There have also been cases where noodlers have mistaken other creatures for catfish. Turtles, beavers and other water dwellers can be fairly dangerous when provided with the bait of a few stray fingers. Another danger that may be faced is if a catfish misses the noodler’s arm and rockets straight into their abdomen. This could knock the wind out of you, and maybe even break a few ribs.

Noodling is no easy business.



Get that Zumba body

If you haven’t heard of Zumba, you probably don’t have any female friends over the age of 25. Last year, the Zumba craze swept Australia. At first nothing, then all of a sudden, out of seemingly nowhere, my mum, my sister and even my boss all started wearing brightly coloured tights and going to Zumba class. What is it and where did it come from?

 What’s a ‘Zumba’?

Zumba is a form of dance fitness developed by Alberto “Beto” Perez in the 1990s. A Colombian dancer and choreographer turned aerobics teacher, the story goes that Beto forgot to bring his aerobics music to class one day and instead used some salsa and merengue tapes he had lying around. He soon found that these types of music melded really well with aerobics when spiced up with a few Latin embellishments.

From here, with his friends Alberto Perlman and COO Alberto Aghion, he created Zumba as a licensed training regime. The current version not only fuses aerobics and Latin dance but also hip-hop,  martial arts, Bollywood and belly dancing.

Zumba in Australia

With almost 110,000 locations worldwide, it seems nearly every gym in the country now offers some sort of Zumba lesson. From what I hear, they’re fast-paced, high-energy and a lot of fun. But if wearing fluro tights in public and hootin’ yo caboot, doesn’t appeal to you, you could always just buy the DVD set and work it at home.



Botaoshi: madness in the name of sport

Botaoshi is a Japanese sport that sort of resembles a Western king-of-the-hill capture-the-flag sport but on a much larger, more intense scale.There are two teams, each with 75 people a side. They take turns playing offensively or defensively.

The aim for the defensive team is to build a fort out of human bodies with an upright pole in the middle. One person, called “the Ninja” (no, seriously!) stands on the top of this pole and others, called the barrier, crowd around the Ninja to both keep the pole standing and protecting the pole-stander from attackers.

The aim for the offensive team is to take-over the pole, overthrow the Ninja and lower it to a 30 degree angle. They come in two types: springboards and attackers. Springboards help throw attackers over the barrier.

Origins of Botaoshi

Botaoshi literally means “knocking-over pole” in Japanese. It was invented in the 1950s as a training for new army recruits.  Most famously, it’s played every Spring for the National Defense Academy of Japan’s annual induction ceremony. Now it’s also played for other major festivals and sporting events.



Zorbing, also known as globe riding, sphereing or orbing, is an unusual sport that has developed over the last couple of decades. It involves rolling downhill inside an orb made out of transparent plastic. Whilst usually undertaken on a slight incline, the sport can be played on level ground, allowing for a higher level of control, or on a much steeper surface, allowing for higher speeds. The pioneers of Zorbing are David van der Sluis and Andrew Akers, who first undertook the sport in 1994 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

With the concept originating from the idea of hamster wheels, the sport is best known for it’s comical nature. There are two types of wheels that are used. Firstly, harnessed zorbs that hold 1-2 people and, as the name suggests, have harnesses to hold the passengers down.  The second type is Unharnessed zorbs, which hold 1-3 passengers and they are free to move within the sphere. This second type is generally for level surfaces and more casual participants of the sport.

Zorbing has become so popular in society that the Guinness World Records recognizes a number of Zorbing records. Steve Camp, who traveled 570 in a Sphere, holds the record for the Longest Zorb ride. Keith Kolver, who reached a speed of 52 km/h, holds the record for the fastest sphere ride. During the BBC’s charity event Sport’s Relief, ex-England cricketer Andrew Flintoff broke the record for the fastest 100m in a Zorb, with a time of 26.59 seconds.










Another celebrity participant is actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who rode down 53rd Street, New York, in an OGO (a new Zorb brand developed by the original creators of the Zorb) whilst on the talk show The Late Show With David Letterman.

Whilst the sport is widely popular, there have been a few fatal accidents in recent years. In 2009 a teacher was killed and a student seriously injured whilst Zorbing in the Czech Republic. Just a few months ago a man died from a broken neck when their Zorb flew off course and rolled down a snowy mountain in Russia. The incident was caught on tape, and can be seen here.

Zorbing has been widely successful all around the world, available in a number of countries. In Australia, ‘OzBall’ is a company that offers Zorbing on the Gold Coast, which is just one example. The sport will only  grow and is a great fun for anyone.

Wife Carrying

Wife carrying


Putting aside the patriarchal and hetreonormative undertones, this is pretty freaking hilarious. Nothing gets more self-explainatory than wife-carrying. Basically, you carry your wife (or female partner) through an obstacle course. The faster the better.


Wife carrying originated in Finland in 1992 as a humorous take on an old folk character, Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. As the story goes, Herkko was an outlaw living in the early 19th century. He and his band of men lived in the forrest and would pillage local towns, stealing their food and women. It was said that these outlaws were so good at stealing women because they would train “wife-carrying” with heavy sacks of potatoes.

It’s now a sport played in Australia, United States of America, Hong Kong and Estonia.


The regulation standard wife carrying course is 253.5 meters long, which includes  two dry obstacles (usually the sandpit and fences)  and a water obstacle, about one meter deep.

There are three ways to carry your wife: piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist)

And a weight limit: the wife to be carried must at least be 49 kilograms. If she is less than 49 kg, the wife will be burdened with a rucksack containing the additional weight.

The carrier must wear a belt for the wife to hold onto and the wife must have wear a helmet.

It’s not all about speed. The most entertaining and well-dressed couples also win awards.

Wife carrying in Australia

The national wife carrying competition in Australia started in 2005. This year, it’s run by radio station Triple M.

Dog Dancing

dog dancing

So you think your dog’s pretty well trained? Yeah it can sit, stay or even roll over, but can it dance? Dog dancing is a new canine sport where the dog and trainer perform a choreographed dance together to demonstrate obedience, creativity and a joyful relationship.


Although the practice of teaching dogs to dance can be traced to ancient civilisations, the competitive sport of dog dancing only emerged out of the UK in 1989. It then very quickly spread to Canada, the US and the Netherlands.

The first official dog dancing group was founded in 1991 in British Columbia, Canada. The international body, the Canine Freestyle Federation, Inc. (CFF), was formed in 1995.  Dog dancing has now spread to all corners of the world, including Australia, though only very recently.The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) approved dog dancing as an official sport in Australia as of 1 January 2009.


There are two types of dog dancing: heel to music and canine freestyle.

In heel to music, the dog must perform one or more of the prescribed heelwork positions for at  least 60% of the routine.

Canine freestyle, on the other hand, is, as the name suggests, a more open format. Here dogs and trainers are more marked on creativity and flair rather than pure technique.

Dog dancing in Australia

The main dog dancing organisation in Australia is called Dances with Dogs. They have branches in ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and even Tassie (everywhere but the Northern Territory).


Underwater Rugby

underwater rugby

Underwater rugby is just like regular rugby, just in speedos and played a couple meters underwater. Sound fun? Here’s our guide to getting down and wet with Australia’s newest watersport.


Underwater rugby started in 1961, in the German Underwater Club in Cologne. Club member Ludwig von Bersuda invented the game as a training exercise for divers. Bersuda was also the one to invent the underwater ball, which is filled with salt-water. This means that, instead of quickly floating to the top like a regular air-filled ball, the underwater ball slowly sinks, making it optimal for underwater sports. Originally called the “Cologne Discipline”, it was demonstrated in the national games of 1963. It was met with a lukewarm response.

However, in 1964, Dr. Franz Josef Grimmeisen tweaked the game from being a training exercise into a competitive sport. Partnered with a couple other organisations, Grimmeisen then spread the sport across Germany and from there, Europe caught on, first in the East and then into the West and into the Americas. Now the sport is here in Australia.

How to play underwater rugby


To play underwater rugby, there are some essentials:

  • swimmers: usually speedos for males and a one-piece for females
  • mask and snorkel: helps you get up and catch your breath faster
  • fins: there’s a lot of swimming involved, having fins speeds up the game and means that players don’t puff out so quickly
  • water polo caps: to identify players


There are six players on each team in the pool at one time. The aim is to pass the ball around until you can score a goal by throwing the ball into one of the baskets in your opponent’s end. It’s a contact sport so pushing and shoving is part of the game.

Underwater Rugby in Australia

There are a couple clubs that play underwater rugby but the biggest one is the Underwater Club of the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Sepak takraw

Sepak takraw

This is what happens when you fuse volleyball, soccer and kickboxing. With all it’s back-flipping and fly-kicking, sepak takraw is the sort of sport you’d imagine ninjas to play. Not so coincidentally, it’s a very popular sport in South East Asia and is growing in popularity across the world.


As with Wolverine’s origin story, the history of sepak takraw is long, often conflicting and wrought with drama. The earliest mention of sepak takraw comes in the 15th century Malaysian historical text, “Sejarah Melayu” (Malay Annals), which describes Raja Muhammad, a son of Sultan Mansur Shah, being hit by a rattan ball by Tun Besar, a son of Tun Perak, while playing sepak takraw. Raja Muhammad, apparently a sour sport, then stabbed and killed Tun Besar. Tun’s family retaliated and a war was started.

There are also mentions of sepak takraw in 16th century Indonesian texts, 18th century murals in Bangkok and in Philippine oral history. The actual invention of the sport, however, is difficult to discern.

Playing sepak takraw

Sepak takraw is played on a court of 13.4 by 6.1 metres with a 1.52 m-high net in the middle.

The ball is 42–44 cm in circumference and traditionally made out of rattan but is now usually made of synthetic rubber.

Each team has three players on the court at one time: two players at the front and one at the back (Tekong). A point is won when the other team faults. Winning the game means winning the best of five sets.

Redneck Games

redneck games

Howdy there, cousin. Y’all interested in some wholesome (though not so clean), Southern fun? Well then, get your overalled hiney down to the Redneck Games.

What am I looking at here?

The Redneck Games started in East Dublin, Georgia in 1996. It was started by radio manager Mac Davis in response to a joke in the media about the Atlanta Olympic Games being run by rednecks. It’s pretty much a “you want redneck, I’ll show you redneck” response.

For something that started off as a semi-joke, it’s become seriously massive. It attracts more white trash than a Dolly Parton concert. The first year, over 5000 people attended. Now, almost twenty years later, the Games caters for over 95,000 people and has been featured on almost every national news show in America.

So what does it involve?

redneck games horseshoes

Well to be honest, it looks like it’s just an excuse for drunk bogans to sit around and play in mud. But officially, last year’s list of events included:

  • The cigarette flip
  • Bobbing for pig’s trotters
  • Seed spitting
  • Toilet seat throwing
  • Mud pit belly flop
  • Big-hair contest
  • Wet T-shirt contest
  • Armpit serenade
  • Bug zapping by spitball
  • Dumpster diving
  • Hubcap hurling

Most of them are as bizarre as they are self-explanatory. But some are more interesting than others. For example, the armpit serenade is arm-farting a song. The more intricate the song, the more points.

Toilet seat throwing is more subtle than it sounds. The aim is the throw the toilet seat onto a hook. It’s less like Scottish log throwing and more like horseshoes, except on a larger scale.

The highlight of the Games is usually the mud pit belly flop. It’s equally as thrilling for spectators as it is for participants.

Ultimate Frisbee


Ultimate, originally known as Ultimate Frisbee, is a sport developed during the 1960s and 70s in the United States. The name of the sport was altered due to the name ‘Frisbee’ being a registered trademark of the Wham-O toy company. The aim of the sport is to pass the Frisbee (or flying disc) into the opposing teams end zone, similar to American football.

Rules of Ultimate Frisbee

Two teams begin at opposite ends of the playing field, and the disc is put into play by one team passing it off to the other in a move called the ‘pull’. Once the game is under way the players attempt to pass the disc across the field to the opposing end zone. The disc may only move through passes, and the players are not allowed to move with the disc in hand. If the attacking team is successful in move the disc into the end zone, a point is scored and the teams swap directions. The teams restart with another pull.

The opposing team can gain possession of the disc through interceptions, the disc going out of bounds or if a pass is incomplete. The other possession can be gained is by the attacking team ‘holding the disc’. The attacking player, or the ‘thrower’ must release the disc within ten seconds of receiving it. If a defensive player (the ‘marker’) within 1 foot of the ‘thrower’ audibly counts to ten before a pass is made, possession must be surrendered. This count is known as the ‘stall count’.

The winner of the game is the team with the most points at the end of the allocated time period, or when a team reaches a certain number of points. This is dependant on the organization of the competition. Teams generally have seven players and substitutions are allowed between points.

Competition and Organisation

Ultimate has grown to become a leading sport in recent years with many schools and US colleges having league competitions. The American Ultimate Disc League and Major League Ultimate are two professional leagues present in the United States bringing the game increased popularity. There are also a number of international tournaments, both between national teams and club teams. Beach Ultimate, a variation of the game played on sand, is also popular around the world.