Understanding the sport of Wellie Wanging

No, it’s not what you think it is, although it still not your usual sport. Wellie Wanging, also known as Gumboot Throwing, is a sport in New Zealand that consists of throwing a Wellington boot, which is basically like a rubber galoshe, as far as possible within a set boundary. While it originated in Great Britain, the sport’s major event, Gumboot Day, occurs in Taihape, New Zealand. The celebration of gumboots began in 1985 and occurs each year on the Tuesday after Easter. While the sport may sound silly, people take it pretty seriously, and there are very specific official rules, such as “the use of wind assistance is allowed and, indeed, encouraged. Waiting for a suitable gust, however, is limited to one minute. No artificial or man-made wind is to be used” and “no tampering with the welly shall be allowed. Factory finish only. No silicone polish is to be applied”.

Want to experience Wellie Wanging for yourself? The 2012 Gumboot Day Festival will take place on March 10th. To get a better idea of the game’s technique and form, check out the video above.