Axe stuck in a target

Why Is Axe Throwing Popular? The History and What You Should Know

Heber Hatchets Heber's Man Blog

The weekend is approaching and you’re tired of the same-old dinner-and-Netflix-binge routine. In that case, why not go into town for a night of axe throwing?

If you haven’t noticed, axe throwing is everywhere right now. The sport has blown up over the past couple of years and is now as commonplace in a New York City bar as it is at a backwoods lumberjack competition. 

So what’s the deal? Why is axe throwing popular? And what’s driving the axe-throwing craze? Let’s look at the history of axe throwing, then see how it rose to fame in our current day.

The History of Axe Throwing

People have used throwing axes as a weapon and tool since ancient times. A Germanic tribe known as the Franks threw Francisca axes in battle during the Middle Ages. Likewise, the Algonquian tribes of North America used tomahawks as a weapon well before colonizers landed on the continent’s shores.

Still, the use of axes in ancient times is a far cry from the friendly sport that it is today. Rather than enjoying a beer and a fun pastime, those guys were more interested in using their axes to hunt food or kill their opponent. Instead, the modern version of axe throwing traces back to lumberjacks and loggers of the early 1800s.

When Did Axe Throwing Become a Sport?

As lumberjacks started hosting competitions to determine who was the best of the lumber camp, axe throwing eventually became one of the most popular events. So, when did axe throwing become a sport? Well, the true birthplace of the sport is debatable. Some say axe throwing officially started at the logger sports of the 1940s, while others say modern axe throwing can be attributed to the Stihl Timbersports lumberjack competitions of the 1980s.

Matt Wilson, a former bartender, is another key player in the world of modern axe throwing. Wilson says axe throwing began in 2006 as a “homegrown activity” during a rainy cabin trip with friends. However, as other axe throwers began to join in, the game became a full-fledged sport. He created the rules for modern axe throwing taking inspiration from sports like tennis. Now a mere 15 years later, there is an established International Axe Throwing Federation.

Modern Axe Throwing Leagues

Modern axe throwing may have its roots in Canada, but today, the sport is international. Axe throwing clubs have spread across the world, becoming popular in every city from Bangkok to Sydney.

The International Axe Throwing Federation has more than 20,000 members spanning 150 cities and 9 countries. 

The original organization has inspired many others like it, including the World Axe Throwing League. With a similar mission of making axe throwing a legitimate sport recognized around the world, the World Axe Throwing League founded International Axe Throwing Day, which is on June 13. They also hosted the first World Axe Throwing Championship at Bad Axe Throwing club in Chicago in 2018. ESPN even aired this monumental tournament, which is perhaps one of the biggest markers of the sport’s popularity.

Why Is Axe Throwing Popular?

After a sudden and swift spike in popularity, the axe-throwing craze is powering on. So why all the hype? Here are a few reasons people around the world are so into axe throwing:

  • It’s a friendly sport. Unlike some other competitive sports, axe throwers love to have a good time and cheer each other on. Most games are accompanied by drinks, food, music, and great laughs.
  • It’s a great stress release. Looking for a great stress reliever? Before you punch a wall, consider axe throwing instead. When it comes down to it, axe throwing is a simple activity that can be done anywhere, free from the trappings of everyday life.
  • It’s fast-paced. Axe throwing is a quick game with little downtime, making it captivating to watch—and even more enjoyable to play.
  • It’s fun. Like any great sport, axe throwing is ultimately popular because it’s fun. Imagine hurling a hunk of metal through the air during a bachelor party or group date night. What could be better?
  • It’s easy to learn. Sure, chucking an axe across the room seems intimidating, but it’s relatively easy to learn and safe. You don’t need tons of equipment or training, and you don’t even need to be particularly strong to do it well. Learn a few key techniques, start practicing, and you’re ready to throw.

Try Axe Throwing Today

Axe throwing is surging in popularity for good reason. And if you’re still not sure what’s fueling the axe-throwing craze, the only way to find out is by trying it for yourself. Visit Heber Hatchets today and find your inner lumberjack. We offer axe throwing in Idaho, Utah,  and Washington. Contact us now to get in on the fun!