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Phil via Flicker // CC BY NC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Phil via Flicker // CC BY NC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Extreme Ironing Pushes the Limits of Domestic Life

Phil via Flicker // CC BY NC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Phil via Flicker // CC BY NC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Everything was a little more extreme in the '90s, from our blue jeans to our sugary soft drinks. Just when it seemed like things couldn't get more extreme, in 1997 a man from Leicester, England proved that even the most mundane household chore had the potential to be awesome.

It all started when Phil Shaw, bored by the predictability of indoor ironing, decided to take his work out into the garden. When his housemate asked what he was doing, he replied, “extreme ironing." Today, the Extreme Ironing Bureau defines the sport as a combination of “the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” 

Since Shaw's revelation, the pastime has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. “EI" enthusiasts have taken it everywhere from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to the depths of the ocean. In 2002, the first and only Extreme Ironing World Championships were held in Munich. A few of the "extreme" locations included the top of a tree, a rock climbing wall, and in a fast-moving canoe. Whenever possible, irons were plugged into a nearby outlet for several minutes, then unplugged when the activity began. Cordless irons were also used, but those were a last resort (they don’t get as hot as the real thing).

Extreme ironing isn’t as active as it was in its early years, but news from the sport’s founder could mean it's coming back in a big way. Earlier this year, Britain's International Television Network reported that Phil Shaw is coming out of retirement. As for what’s next for the sport, maybe an extreme ironing shark dive, or extreme ironing in space? We’ll keep our spray starch close at hand.

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6 New Events Will Debut At This Year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang
Woohae Cho, Getty Images
Woohae Cho, Getty Images

It’s that time again! The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is adding a handful of new events to the festivities. In 2014, 12 new events—including Men’s and Women’s Ski Half-Pipe and Biathlon Mixed Relay—were added to make the Sochi Games more challenging and exciting. This year, six new events will make their debut in PyeongChang.

Here’s what’s new for 2018: While it started out as an X-Games event, extreme athletes will now get their chance to win gold medals in Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Big Air, which sees competitors performing their best spins and tricks after launching off a large (about 160 feet) ramp. For the first time, the Alpine skiing Nations Team Event will make its debut; the event features mixed teams of two men and two women going head-to-head in a series of downhill slalom races in a best-of-four competition.

Next up, Men’s and Women’s Speed Skating Mass Start features a maximum of 28 athletes in a 16-lap race, where all participants start at the same time with winner-takes-all stakes. Speed Skating Mass Start first appeared during the Lake Placid games in 1932, but has sat out the Winter Olympics in the 85 years since, so it's prepared to make a triumphant return.

Lastly, there's Curling Mixed Doubles. The new event consists of teams of two, a man and a woman, competing in a curling match with eight ends and five stones, instead of the traditional 10 and eight, respectively. In addition, there’s a 22-minute limit to get a team’s stones closest to the center button of the house.

The Opening Ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will air on NBC beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Friday, February 9, 2018.

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Watch These Surfers Crush Nantucket's 'Slurpee' Waves
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iStock

Instead of hunkering down with Netflix and hot chocolate during the East Coast’s recent cold snap, surfers Nick Hayden and Jamie Briard spent the first few days of January 2018 conquering icy waves in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The frothy swells resembled a frozen 7-Eleven Slurpee, so photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh, a friend of the athletes, grabbed his camera to capture the phenomenon, according to deMilked.

The freezing point for salt water is 28.4°F, but undulating ocean waves typically move too much for ice particles to form. At Nantucket’s Nobadeer Beach, however, conditions were just right for a thick layer of frost to form atop the water’s surface for several hours. Some of the slushy crests were even surfable before melting after about three hours, Nimerfroh told Live Science.

This is the second time Nimerfroh has photographed so-called “Slurpee waves." He captured a similar scene on February 27, 2015, telling The New York Times, “I saw these crazy half-frozen waves. Usually on a summer day you can hear the waves crashing, but it was absolutely silent. It was like I had earplugs in my ears.”

Check out Nimerfroh’s video of surfers enjoying the icy swell below.

[h/t deMilked]

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