If you’ve been watching world championship sports year in and year out, you may be just a little bored of the popular mainstream sports. If you can only watch people running around a track or field for so long before your eyes start falling shut, it may be time to start following something new. 

Stepping outside the mainstream to find interesting world championship events is an enlightening experience. If there are people who play a game, regardless of whether or not it requires athletic prowess, there’ll be a world championship, and if you aren’t up for participation, you’ll enjoy watching its progress – even if you’re only mildly interested and haven’t tried playing before.

We take a quick look at 5 world champ events you may never have heard of but might enjoy following.

1. World Series of Poker

For some, Poker is more than just a Friday night pastime – it’s a competitive sport! Watch serious players at work, or follow adherents like poker player Jeremy Wien who shares winning hands, top strategies and more, via his blog. Meanwhile, keep practicing. Whether you play for dollars, pennies, or matchsticks, there’s more to Poker than meets the eye! Best of all, the only muscles you need are mental ones – and a little bit of luck!

2. The Dakar Rally

While less-recognized than many less dangerous and challenging motorsports events, the Dakar Rally takes the prize as one of the most gruelling and dangerous motor racing events in the world. While seasoned drivers and their cars tough it out on a gruelling desert run that’s not for the faint-hearted or survival-conscious, you can relax at home and watch the crazies tackling the challenge. This one is definitely for armchair fans – just looking at that terrain is exhausting. We’d add “Don’t try this at home,” as a disclaimer, but it hardly seems necessary in context.

3. Extreme Ironing

From the “yeah I get that” to the absolutely crazy, we now progress to extreme ironing! All you need to participate is a love for neatly pressed clothes plus an extreme sport. Now put the two together, and you have Extreme Ironing! While this particular world championship sport is unofficial and hasn’t been televised, it should be! Watch people getting the crease of their trousers just right while in free-fall, waterskiing, or balanced at the top of precipices. For now, you will have to resort to YouTube to see examples of this sport-come-chore in action. Ladies: could this be the way to get your man into doing a bit of ironing? 

4. The World Gurning Championships

If you’re looking for something a little less extreme, the World Gurning Championships may be for you. Gurning involves pulling the worst face you can, and framing it with a horse collar is de rigueur, presumably for reasons of tradition. Head for Egremont’s Crab Fair to watch the contestants in action, or follow it online. Is gurning an art? Well…. maybe…

5. Nailympia

Pulling funny faces is not for you, but you do love your manicure. Well, some people take manicures and nail art very, very seriously indeed. Fantasy nail art creations meet amazing costumes and backdrops in Nailympia, a competition that attracts contestants from all over the world. While some of the designs are rather extreme, it’s interesting to see to what lengths nail artists are willing to go to take away the coveted world championship award. 

Whatever You Love to Do and Watch, There’s Probably a World Championship

As we can see, there are world championship events in just about every interest area you can think of. All it takes to find the niche that’s right for you is the right internet search to lead you to it. From card skills, to the chillingly dangerous, and the laughable (with or without danger) there’s a world championship that’s sure to entertain you when the TV staples get stale.