We profile the latest sports to develop a cult following and how you can get involved.
From the unusual to the daring to the hilarious, get outside your comfort zone and try one or all of these new sports.
1. Snowboard cross
If watching Suzuki ambassador Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin shredding the slopes of Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics got your heart racing, why not try snowboard cross for yourself? The sport tests competitors’ all-round skills as they race a course of jumps, varied terrain and banked turns.
The easiest way to have a go is to head to a ski resort and start practising on the mountain’s natural terrain. But for those looking to take it more seriously, there are a number of Australian clubs with specific training programs. The Perisher Winter Sports Club in New South Wales and Victoria’s Mt Buller Race Club both have recognised snowboard cross pathway programs.
Check out Ski & Snowboard Australia for more.
Bringing the magic of Harry Potter into the real world, Quidditch is an up-and-coming sport that has been adapted from the popular books and movies. While there is no flying golden snitch or hovering broomsticks, the game still uses both these elements along with two other types of balls – quaffles and bludgers.
Each team has seven players, who must keep a broom between their legs when playing. The national tournament has tripled in size since it was created in 2011, and the sport has expanded to include a high school league, all-girl tournaments, community teams and kidditch, for primary school children.
While it may appear like nothing you’ve played before, this full-contact sport incorporates elements of AFL, rugby, European handball and Oztag. Australia has 14 teams affiliated with the Australian Quidditch Association (AQA) that play competitively across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
3. Bubble soccer
For those who enjoy regular soccer but are looking for something a bit different – or to have a laugh with friends – try bubble soccer. The aim of this game is fun. Essentially, it is a simple game of soccer hilariously enhanced by encasing each player in a plastic bubble. Players navigate the pitch and hope to not get sent flying by contact with others. Part of the fun is colliding with each other (without causing injury!) and watching players bouncing along with their legs wiggling in the air. The Football Factory in Sydney holds five-a-side Bubble Football Tournaments indoors on artificial turf.
4. Trampoline dodgeball
With the rise in the number of indoor trampoline centres comes the rise of trampoline dodgeball. Two teams of no more than eight players (wearing special grip socks) jump around like super humans, throwing soft dodgeballs the size of bowling balls at each other. The aim of the game is to not get hit or you’re out – the team with the last standing player wins.
BOUNCEinc has centres in all states, aside from New South Wales, and also hosts a Dodgeball League. The sport is great for one-off games with friends, for parties or even for corporate events. It’s available to play at most indoor trampoline centres around Australia, with some centres organising competition leagues.
5. Ultimate frisbee
This fast-paced, no-contact sport is easy to play and inexpensive. It involves two teams of seven and a frisbee. It is a sport at the World Games and combines elements of netball, touch football and gridiron, as teams attempt to pass the frisbee up the field and complete a pass into the ‘endzone’, while the opposing team defends by trying to intercept the flying disc.
The sport is self-refereed, relying upon the ‘spirit of the game’, which means that players are responsible for overseeing and sticking to the rules themselves. It is a well-established sport that is easily accessible around Australia. Visit the Ultimate Australia website for details.