Getting your kiiks

Estonia in dark green

There are sports that are used to grabbing the headlines (football*, cricket, basketball, field hockey and tennis are candidates for the top five slots worldwide), and there are sports that are much less common but that get some coverage in places like the Olympics. Curling comes to mind–who wouldn’t want to sweep the ice ahead of a huge sliding stone?

And then there are sports that I only hear of when someone does a local-interest feature on them. Earlier this summer the New York Times did a little piece about the Estonian sport of extreme swinging, or “Kiiking” (pronounced “key-king.” Kiik is Estonian for a swing.) El Guapo says he’d love to try it. Watch this video and see if you, too, think this looks like great fun. To me it looks like a great workout, certainly, but I can’t help seeing a certain potential for serious injury. (Where’s my sense of adventure, you ask? I can find it for certain occasions, and not for others.)



The sport was pioneered by Ado Kosk in the 1990s, and is said to be traceable to the Estonian tradition of building large wooden swings for community celebrations. If I’m hesitant to embrace full-on kiiking, maybe I could find one of those local festivals and see about a bit of calmer back-and-forth on one of those smaller, less 360° wooden swings….

Not generally what I’ve seen people wearing while kiiking


There’s more than kiiking to see in Estonia, of course. They’ve got Bronze Age burial sites called cist graves which look really interesting. Maybe it’s just me that can see a correspondence between the arc traced by someone kiiking and these round burial sites. Perhaps Estonians just have an affinity for round things in general?


Do you know of some unusual sport that I ought to learn more about?




*the name most of the world uses for what Americans still call soccer


[Images: Wikipedia, youtube, pinterest, Ren12 at Wikipedia,]

One thought on “Getting your kiiks

  1. Pingback: If you invented a holiday | Lori Notes

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