For most of us, swinging 360 degrees around the spindle of a swing set is a distant childhood dream, but for a group of adrenaline seekers in Estonia, it’s a passion they never grew out of. Not only do they still love defying gravity, but they actually created a competitive sport around their favorite pastime. That sport is known as “kiiiking”.
Swings are deeply embedded in Estonian culture, and you can still find various types of swings in villages and towns all around the country. They are used by children and adults alike, either for simple fun, or as a way for communities to bond during celebrations. So maybe it doesn’t come as a big surprise that Estonia has an extreme sport based on swinging. Some people see it as dull, others as pointless, but to those who practice it, kiiking is the coolest thing in the world.
As you might remember, swinging around the spindle of some playground swings was possible, but at the same time dangerous. From simple bruises to broken bones and concussions, there were a lot of things that could go wrong during such an attempt, which is why in 1993, an Estonian man by the name of Ado Kosk created a pair of wooden swings designed specifically for going all the way around the spindle. They were rudimentary contraptions made up of simple levers with a pair of wooden rods attached to a flat seat on one end and the rotating spindle on the other. Nobody knew it at the time, but that was when kiiking was born.