On Trend: Three local axe-throwing outfits carving out a niche

Axe-throwing is gaining an edge in B.C. and beyond.

? Sharp Practice

June 13 is International Axe Throwing Day. Wielding the chopping tool goes way back, but flinging one at a wooden target seems to have got off the ground in 2006 with the Backyard Axe Throwing League in Toronto. The sport arrived in B.C. 10 years later when Bad Axe Throwing, launched in Burlington, Ontario, in 2014, opened a Surrey location–now one of 30 in the U.S. and Canada.

? Big League

Bad Axe founder Mario Zelaya started the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) a couple of years ago to standardize rules, a points tracking system, safety protocols and throwing techniques. The organization has more than 100 participating locations and holds an annual World Axe Throwing Championship. It also offers an insurance program for axe-tossing facilities. WATL member Axe & Grind, whose owner, Danny Hamilton, describes the sport as “like darts, but with an axe,” has operated in Victoria since 2018.

? Swing Set

Whistler’s Forged Axe Throwing, founded by Thompson Rivers University pals James Anderson and Brett Easton in 2017, belongs to the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF), established the previous year to create a standard rule system and promote safety and sportsmanship. The organization has some 6,000 members, mainly in Canada and the U.S., and its annual National Axe Throwing Championship awards more than $25,000 in prize money and charitable donations.