Hitting the Mark: Axe-Throwing

Axe-throwing is a fun group activity, great sport—and it’s a possible Olympic contender.

Patrons of Epic Axe Throwing in Orlando practice their technique while relieving stress and having some fun.

Roberto Gonzalez

One of the newest ways to spend an evening—and undoubtedly relieve some stress from the work week—is to hurl hatchets at a wall for an hour or two. Really.

“There’s something cathartic about being able to throw an axe at a target and hear the thunk in the wood as it sticks,” says Ken Siu, owner of Epic Axe Throwing located in downtown Orlando.

Axe-throwing enthusiasts credit the popularity of the activity to mixing extreme sports with a sense of community. “We have many regulars that come in on a weekly basis,” Siu says. “I think people are looking for something new and fun to do. In this day and age, more and more people value and seek out experience-based activities as something they can share with their family and friends.”

Epic is open to everyone from beginners to pros, 13 years old and up. A typical session lasts from one to two hours and includes an axe-throwing coach to help with everything from technique to choosing the right axe. In this sport, one size doesn’t fit all. Axes can be short, long, heavy or light. There are also styles for one- and two-handed throwers. Then, it’s playtime.

The standard game includes 10 throws, with the win going to the player with the highest score. The rules aren’t complicated. Siu says that a variety of score-keeping methods used for games such as darts and cornhole work with axe-throwing. It’s all about having a good time.

“It’s awesome to be able to say I throw axes and that I am actually pretty decent at it in such a short amount of time,” says Daniella Peter, a regular at Epic. “Also, learning trick shots after only three months of throwing is just so exciting.”

47 E. Robinson St., # 104, Orlando. 
385-429-3386. epicaxethrowing.com

5811 Memorial Highway, # 204, Tampa. 
813-333-2935. axethrowingtampa.com

Orlando isn’t the only city that has jumped on the lumberjack track. From Dallas to Delaware, axe-throwing sports facilities have been popping up across the country. At Axe Throwing Tampa, the calendar of events includes eight-week tournaments for individuals, team-building exercises for groups, and a Friday night Glow Throw event—a 60-minute axe-throwing session featuring glow-in-the-dark axes and targets.

“How cool is it to hurl sharp steel at targets?” says Kristi Collins, the owner of Axe Throwing Tampa. “And if hurling steel at wood is heart-pounding, how much more extreme is it in the dark?”

For those who want to take it to the next level, there are two axe-throwing leagues. The National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) was founded in 2016, and the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) was established in 2017. And thanks to a contract with ESPN, the sport could be making a bid for the Olympics, taking the competitive side of axe-throwing to the next level.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rookie, the sport of axe-throwing is more than just fun. It may  even earn you a gold medal.

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