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Axe related activities have exploded in popularity in recent years, and there are now a number of different events taking place across the world centered around the axe. As axe experts, we thought it would be a good idea to round up a selection of the best, most interesting and frankly strangest axe activities we could find taking place in the world right now. Here is an overview of the type of events we’ll include in this guide:
- Axe throwing
- Wood Chopping
- Important axe organisations
- Axe forging
Axe throwing events
ESPN World Axe Throwing Championship
As the biggest axe throwing tournament in the world, the world axe throwing championship is generally where most people begin their relationship with axe throwing. Sponsored and screened by ESPN, the tournament attracts a global viewership.
For the 2019 tournament, there were 64 entrants from across the world. The interesting thing about axe throwers is that they come in all shapes and sizes - strength is not the only element which makes you a good axe thrower. The championship has taken place in Arizona for the past few years, but it’s definitely a global event.
Arnold Sports Festival Axe Throwing
Similarly to the previous event, the Arnold Sports Festival (‘Arnold Classic’) axe throwing tournament is a global event but is held in the USA. The winner of this event receives $1,000, the Arnold WATL Championship Belt and a spot in the ESPN event, so it attracts talent from across the world.
Rocky Mountain Axe Throwing Tournament
Although this is more of a ‘fun’ tournament, make no mistake - it is still a very competitive event which draws people from across the world to enter. The tournament takes place in Utah, and the winner takes home a hefty $2500! As well as a belt. If you’re looking to enter a competitive but fun axe throwing event, this is ideal.
Axe wood chopping events
Springboard chopping events
Considered to be the most dangerous of all of the modern day lumberjack chopping events, the springboard chop was historically used to allow lumberjacks a flat working surface when they were working on the side of a hill. Now it has been turned into an exciting event! This chop requires a lot of skill to execute well - the lumberjacks must balance on a springboard stuck into the side of the tree, then they must race to be the first to chop their treetop in half. You’ll find this chopping happening at any worthwhile lumberjack event.
Underhand chopping events
The underhand chop is another tricky and frankly dangerous movement taken straight from work that old time lumberjacks would do regularly. This chop resembles how these loggers would cut fallen logs to length in the woods, before the invention of the chainsaw. Using a 6lbs razor sharp axe just inches from their toes, lumberjacks chop the wood and the first to fully sever the wood (not their toes) is crowned the winner. This is another event you’ll see at most popular lumberjack events.
Founded only in 2017, this organisaton is the global governing body of urban axe throwing. The organisation consists of representatives from Canada, the United States of America, Brazil and Ireland. There are currently 19 axe throwing nations with membership to the league, and this continues to grow every year as axe related sports grow in popularity. The WATL has done huge amounts to popularise and cement the sport of axe throwing as a true competitive sport rather than just a casual pub acitivty. We highly recommend you explore their website for information about the sport and what you can do to get involved with this exciting sport.
Can Log - Canadian Loggers Sports Association
Can-Log was established in the late 1960's to promote Logger Sports in Canada, set rules and regulations for the sport, and to generally ensure that the sport is practiced safely. The fact that this organisation had to be created in the 60s shows just how popular chopping events have been in Canada over the last century.
Popular Axe throwing venues from around the world
When researching for this guide, we wanted to make sure that we included axe throwing venues from across the globe. That's why we wanted to start with MANIAX - definitely one of the most popular venues in Australia, and the first Urban Axe Throwing company to be established in Australia (way back in 2014). Their main base is in Syndey but you'll also find venues in Melbourne, Perth and more. Not only was MANIAX the first urban axe throwing company established down under, but they're also now the largest. They've got a bunch of options for sessions, including our favourite - bring your mum for free on Mother's Day! Check them out.
BATL was founded way back in 2006, in Matt's backyard. Matt is now the CEO of an axe throwing brand with more than 15 different venues across the global - pretty awesome origin story! BATL was the first axe throwing brand to introduce an urban venue experience for indoor axe throwing, and they've introduced literally hundreds of thousands of people to this awesome sport. What started in Canada has now ended up in the United States too. What we love about the BATl brand is that despite being very established, there really is something here for everyone - whether you're a newbie who just wants to learn the ropes or an experienced thrower who wants to compete in leagues. Definitely get involved with BATL!
What is Axe forging?
All axes used in the above events are made through traditional methods - The problem however is that there are very few traditional axe forges left in Scandinavian countries. Norway and Denmark have no large, traditional producers of axes left. At Nordic Outdoor we are extremely proud to stock axes from one of the last true Scandinavian forges; Gransfors Bruk AB, a brand which takes their name from the village in Sweden were their forge is situated. They create truly iconic axes such as the Small Forest Axe and Wildlife Hatchet.
To ensure the axes are well forged, brands like Gransfors Bruks abide to a number of rules during the forging process:
1. An axe is only as good as the accumulated skills of the people who forge the axe
Gransfors axes are made by hand by expert craftsmen. The people who put the work into forging these axes have a wealth of experience and expertise. Every step from the forging of the head to the shafting of the axe is overseen by experts in this field.
2. Smarter production requires fewer natural resources and imbues a product with better quality and a longer life.
A longer product life decreases the overall consumption of natural resources and reduces waste.
3. Every unnecessary step in axe production should be stripped out.
Gransfors cut out many of the unnecessary production steps decades ago. You won’t find resin handles or unnecessary polish in a Gransfors axe.
Unnecessary grinding, polishing, painting and use of epoxy adhesive for the handle has been eliminated. This makes for a better working environment, lower energy consumption and less of an impact on nature. It also gives the Gransfors axes their distinctive look and feel.
4. Gransfors Bruk have unlimited responsibility for Total Quality.
Gransfors take full responsibility for their product. Not many companies offer you a 20-year guarantee against defects on their products. Each Gransfors axe is stamped with the initials of the person who forged the axe, adding both a personal touch and a guarantee of quality.
5. Sound knowledge of a product increases its value and life.
A product isn’t much good if you don’t fully understand how to use it. Gransfors take a number of steps to ensure the customer knows their product inside and out. The first is the axe book provided with every Gransfors Axe. This tells the customer everything they need to know about the steps they can take to ensure their new axe is properly cared for.
Other steps include a range of courses and tours offered at the forge itself. For a price the company will allow you to come out and forge an axe of your own!
If you’re interested in learning more about the range of axes we provide, please visit our axe category page to see the full collection and learn more about the brands we stock.
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