WTF Is Welly Wanging And Why Should We Give A Toss?
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have taken part in a most sacred New Zealand ritual – Welly Wanging or Gumboot Throwing.
Oh yes, it’s really a thing. Quite a big thing, in fact.
Although practised all year round, most newcomers usually try their hand (or foot) at the sport on the Tuesday after Easter -- a day is known as Gumboot Day -- a celebration native to Taihape (aka Gumboot Country) in New Zealand.
But Taihape isn’t the only place where the sport takes place. It’s even got an international peak body, the International Boot-Throwing Association (IBTA), which includes a very informative 24 points of rules on their website.
They include what to do if the competition is interrupted, a code of conduct, and whether or not you can do training throws.
What is it?
The method is quite self-explanatory. Participants are required to toss a Wellington boot as far as possible within the border from the starting line. Whoever manages to throw the boot furthest wins.
Where did it originate?
There's a few theories. According to Wikipedia, the sport is believed to have originated in England in the 1970s out of boredom. Top End Sports writes that villagers had “high unemployment at the time so it was no surprise that the locals discovered another use of the most popular footwear in the village”.
Interestingly, the website goes on to claim that many people believe the sport originated “from an argument between two farmers drinking at their local pub one night”.
Competitors can’t just use any old boot -- they’re required to use a no steel-cap size 9 Dunlop green Wellington Boot. The competitor can decide whether or not they want to use a right boot or a left boot.
Organisers at the Tilba Easter Festival in NSW -- which holds Gumboot Throwing competitions -- shared this tip: “This is a good technique for the boot throw. The boot has to come back under between your legs and end up in front of you.”
According to Top End Sports, the maximum run-up is 42 paces. The boot then must land within a specific area which has been marked out.
A quick search reveals a number of different techniques around the world, but let's stick to the peak body. According to the IBTA website: "The throwing style and the grip of the boot are free, but the leg of the boot must be straight when the boot is in the air.”
Godspeed, Megz and Haz. Godspeed.
Feature Image: Getty