Bog snorkeling is a sport wherein competitors would have to go through two lengths of a water-filled trench that is approximately 55 meters long. The trench is usually cutting across a peat bog, hence the reason why the sport is called bog snorkeling. The catch in bog snorkeling, as opposed to other snorkeling sports, is that the player should not use standard swimming strokes or maneuvers; instead, he or she should just rely on the power of the flippers worn on his or her feet. Because of its strange rules, bog snorkeling is considered an obscure sport. If you are planning on participating in bog snorkeling in the future, you can check out our guide on how it is played and the accessories needed to be worn before getting into the trench. In addition, we also added a brief history of bog snorkeling so that you will know how it started and when it became popular.
How It is Played
There are a few rules that participants should have to take note of before playing the sport. Firstly, competitors should know that the water-filled trench is 55 meters long, and it should be swum through twice, which means that the total length that all participants should complete is 110 meters. Secondly, all players need to wear snorkels to let them breathe air, mask to prevent their eyes from coming into contact with the trench’s water, and flippers to help them maneuver through the trench. Thirdly, as previously mentioned, traditional swimming strokes aren’t allowed in bog snorkeling, so players could only rely on the flippers that they are wearing to push them towards the end of the trench. Lastly, a wetsuit is an optional outfit for players, although most professional bog snorkelers wear them for protection.
The participant who reaches both ends of the trench in the shortest time possible wins the tournament. In addition, competitors also have a chance of breaking a world record for the fastest bog snorkeler in the competition.
Although no one knows exactly who invented bog snorkeling, most fans believe the theory that the game was invented in 1976 by a group of drinkers at Neuadd Arms, a local Welsh pub in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. The first bog snorkeling competition was held at the WaenRhydd Peat Bog, which is near Neuadd Arms. Since then, the bog snorkeling competition gained traction amongst locals, and soon after, many tourists started participating in the tournament. The competition eventually became an international event, with a world championship being held since 1985.
The World Bog Snorkeling Championship is held every August Bank Holiday at the WaenRhydd Peat Bog. The peat bog utilized for the competition remained the same, as it never lost the trench that it has in the middle. Since the late 1990s, the tournament was divided into three categories, namely Men’s, Women’s, and Junior. In the late 2010s, a new category was added, and this category was Children’s. The World Bog Snorkeling Championship was only canceled twice, and these cancellations occurred in 1995 when Wales experience major drought and in 2001 when many participants suffered from foot and mouth disease.
As the world championship is an international event, players from all around the world gather at the WaenRhydd Peat Bog to compete. Countries that are usually participating in the tournament are Germany, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, England, Australia, and the United States. Besides the Wales tournament, there are also other competitions held in other countries, such as Ireland, Sweden, and Australia.
In the modern era, the World Bog Snorkeling Championship added other obscure sports to make the game more exciting. The most popular alternative to the main event was mountain bike bog snorkeling, wherein players must ride a mountain bike across the bog. The second most popular, and probably the hardest, is the bog snorkeling triathlon, where competitors must snorkel for 110 meters, ride a bike for 31 kilometers, and run for 13 kilometers.
Each year, most of the profits that the organizers accumulated from the World Bog Snorkeling Championship are donated to a local charity. The most notable charities where the organizers gave their profits were the Motor Neurone Association in 2006 and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in 2005.
There are several professional snorkelers who have set a world record for the fastest bog snorkeling time at the tournament. The fastest bog snorkeler, who remains unbeaten since 2018, is Neil Rutter of England. Rutter was able to go through the WaenRhydd Peat Bog at a record speed of 1 minute and 18.81 seconds when he participated in the World Bog Snorkeling Championship on August 26, 2018. Interestingly, Neil Rutter first became champion in 2017, the previous tournament before he achieved the world record, and he also became the champion in 2019.