Welly Wanging: The Sport of Throwing Wellies

Welly Wanging
Good Welly Wanging Technique

What is Welly Wanging?

Welly wanging (or wellie wanging as it is sometimes spelt) is a British folk sport requiring competitors to throw Wellington boots as far as possible. The sport originated in Holmfirth in the UK, although boot-throwing competitions take place in many other European countries (Finland, Germany, Poland), and gumboot-throwing is particularly popular in New Zealand too.

Welly wanging is often used as a fundraising game due to its fun and accessible nature. However, welly wanging is now a world-wide competitive phenomenon with a detailed set of regulated rules administered by the World Welly Wanging Association, which is based in the sport’s founding village of Upperthong, West Yorkshire. The Upperthong Welly Wanging page contains more information about the rules of welly wanging and the Welly Wanging World Championships, which takes place at the Upperthong Gala weekend each year.

Essentially, all you need is a Wellington boot, a field or other suitable large open space, a long measuring tape, and markers (such as golf tees, lolly sticks or plant labels) to mark where the wellies land. Due to its simplicity, welly wanging is perfect for galas, fêtes, summer fairs and other social or charity fundraising events. However, it can also be a highly competitive sport so some basic ground rules are essential! Here are some welly wanging tips to get you started:

Basic Welly Wanging Rules

  1.  Wellington Boots
    For casual games, any welly of any size may be used as long as it is obviously a waterproof Wellington boot (rubber boot, gumboot, etc.) without laces. For more serious matches, identical wellies must be used by all ‘wangers’. They don’t necessarily need to be your finest pair of Hunter Festival boots, Barbour Town & Country wellies, Merino wool-lined EWE boots or Le Chameau Chasseur! The World Welly Wanging Association recommend a size 9 (UK) Dunlop green welly but anything will do.
  2. Throwing or ‘Wanging’
    The welly may be thrown (‘wanged’) either overarm or underarm and the competitor may throw the welly from a standing position or with a running start. However, the ‘wanging line’ must never be crossed or stepped on when throwing. You may want to limit the run-up distance to 10 feet or so and it is worth creating side lines (boundaries) to make the measurer’s job easier and to avoid hitting unsuspecting spectators. Wellies may be wanged with one hand, both hands and even thrown backwards or between the legs but the graphic above demonstrates the standard welly wanging technique. The length of the throw should be measured in a straight line perpendicular to the wanging line.
  3. Etiquette
    First and foremost, anyone can take part and an attitude of fair play should be maintained at all times. An umpire isn’t necessary unless you have a large number of competitors and/or you are trying to break the welly wanging world record, which was set by Teppo Luoma (63.98m) and Sari Tirkkon (40.87m) in Hämeenlinna, Finland in 1996 according the Guinness Book of World Records!

See the Welly Wanging Rules blog post for more information. Happy welly wanging!