Weekend warriors have a wealth of choices for recreational activities. Some people are into sedate projects, their rest days filled with painting, sketching, or reading. However, others prefer high-octane pursuits like boxing or airsoft. Some are even into more unusual hobbies—the more obscure, the better.
Those who are into trying out new things will find axe-throwing a real—well, hit! This Canadian hobby has gone from an unknown sport to a global fascination in recent years. There are even organizations like Stihl Timbersports and the World Axe Throwing League, and their members number in the tens of thousands.
If you’re curious about axe throwing or have not the faintest clue what it is, then read on to learn more about this exciting Canadian sport.
What is axe-throwing?
It is exactly as it sounds like—people throwing a hatchet at a target. Competitive throwing has a points system, as well as rules surrounding competitions. The setup is similar to competitive darts, with the main variation being the distance requirement in axe-throwing. Usually, matches require a distance of 13 to 16 feet from the throwing line to the bulls-eye, though this varies by league.
According to the rules from the World Axe Throwing League, a participant gets six points for hitting the bulls-eye, four points for the second, three points for the third, two points for the fourth and one point for the fifth ring. In addition, a player gets eight points for the kill shot, or the blue dots that can only be used for the fifth or final throw.
Where is this sport from?
The practice itself is from pioneer-era North America, which in turn was brought over by settlers from medieval France. The game as it is currently played was invented in Canada, where axe-throwing events have been around since the 1980s. However, the sport was fully organized in 2006, with The National Axe Throwing Federation was founded by former bartender Matt Wilson.
Wilson and his friends went from throwing axes in an unused lot to set up a league for both the curious and the enthusiasts. Today, the NATF has over 4,500 members, spread over 7 countries, with its membership growing every year. The league also hosts The Wilson Cup, which awards over $16,500 every year and donates an equivalent amount to charity.
How do you throw an axe?
If you know how to perform a free throw in football, you will be familiar with the motion needed to throw an axe. Start by aiming. Then, place your dominant hand at the bottom of the handle and bring the axe over your head.
When you bring it forward, lean towards the bullseye and release it when your hand is level with the target. This throwing motion will need some getting used to, and different hilts can feel differently on the hand. However, with enough practice, you should be nailing the board consistently in no time.
When should you go for axe-throwing?
This is a hobby that is best pursued by a group of friends. It’s perfect for a birthday celebration, a team-building weekend, a bachelor or bachelorette party, or any event where you’d want to cultivate good relationships and great vibes.
This sport’s popularity is increasing every year, and it’s easy to see why. The novelty of it, coupled with the balance between developing skills and fostering camaraderie in a welcoming community, makes it a go-to activity for people who want to bond in a unique way.