When it comes to scuba diving and snorkelling, the thrill does not simply come from exploring the depths of the seas, looking for intricately beautiful coral reefs and marine life or centuries-old wrecks. From underwater ironing to chess, poker, and more, there is a lot more to keep you occupied, entertained, and competitive while donning your wetsuit and diving down to the ocean floor.
Here are just four of many underwater tournaments and the world records held, or attempted, by scuba divers from around the world.
Underwater poker tournaments are held all over the world, both in enclosed underwater environments as well as out at sea at the bottom of reefs. Experienced divers set up a poker table and get to work, gambling as they go, while trying to win as much as they can. Whether players play for themselves or for a charity to benefit from the winnings, this is poker like you have never experienced it before.
In 2005, at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea off the island of St. Kitts, Interpoker hosted its Extreme Poker Event. Some of the best poker players met in order to test themselves in this competitive event under extreme circumstances, including water in diving masks and the threat of stingrays swimming by.
At the end of it all, Juha Helppi became the first-ever underwater poker champion. But in 2012, in Zuohai Park, located in Fuzhou, China, the world record for the longest Texas Hold’em Poker tournament was achieved. A total of eight players participated in the 89-minute event.
Though hockey is known as a contact sport played on the ice or in the street, there is yet another way to enjoy the sport, in a non-contact format underwater. Also known as Octopush and Water Hockey, the sport has been around since the ‘50s and is still gaining in popularity around the world. Essentially, two teams of snorkelers compete against one another, using small hockey sticks to move a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool.
The Guinness World Record for the largest underwater hockey tournament was achieved by the “Senior Open Division of the 25th New Zealand Secondary Schools' Underwater Hockey Championships,” which included 18 teams and a total of 174 participants. It took place in 2009 but is still talked about, thanks to its amazing world record.
Underwater Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin carving is a wonderful, family-friendly tradition that takes place each year in the United States during the autumn in preparation for Halloween. People can carve anything they desire, from intricate artwork to basic smiley faces, onto their pumpkin canvases. But there is a new way to carve pumpkins, and it all takes place under the sea.
On average, it takes about 2 hours to carve a pumpkin underwater, which is probably about as long as it would take someone to do it on land as well. The world record for the largest pumpkin ever carved underwater, a 1,028-pound pumpkin, was attempted by Mike Frantz.
Believe it or not, people attempt to iron their clothes in many extreme places, just for sport. One such strange location is underwater. Though it may be hard to imagine being able to iron a shirt underwater, people do attempt it.
The world record for the largest group of people ironing underwater at once was set in 2008, with a total of 72 divers. Then in 2011, a Dutch diving club was able to achieve the new world record for extreme underwater ironing, with a group of 173 divers in an indoor swimming pool.
Have you ever attended an underwater record attempt? Let us know in the comments below
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Blog written by Rutger Thole who used to be a scuba scuba instructor but he got stuck in a suit a couple of years ago. Now he is on his way back, as a the founder of bookyourdive he travels and dives as much as he can. His motto as a start up founder and scuba diver is "The only good suit is a wetsuit"