The History of Axe Throwing


Axe throwing continues to increase in popularity today. However, this tool has been around for tens of thousands of years. In fact, archeologists have uncovered rudimentary forms of this tool, ones so basic they didn’t even have handles. 

Over the years, this tool evolved into what it now is. People have found a way to take something that is necessary for many and turn it into a recreational item as well. How did axe throwing come about? This information may be of help when comparing the best corporate party ideas, as this history might make axe throwing the perfect choice. 

Origins of Axe Throwing

As axes have been around for so long, it’s hard to say who first constructed them. When it was first introduced, men used it to complete tasks. However, the axe was also a weapon in their hands. These were the two primary purposes of axes up until the 1940s. 

The Sport of Axe Throwing

Axe throwing wasn’t a sport until 1940. Woodsmen came together to take part in lumberjack competitions. One activity in this competition was axe throwing. However, the first Lumberjack World Championships didn’t take place until 1960. The original games were held in Hayward, WI and they continue there today. When the competition first started, this sport was enjoyed by a limited number of people. It wasn’t until the 21st century that people around the world began to take part in this activity.

The Growing Popularity of Axe Throwing

Toronto was the first locality to offer an axe-throwing league, and the sport quickly took off. Matt Wilson formed the Backyard Axe Throwing League. This sport made its way down to America, where it quickly took off. In fact, it was one of the fastest-growing entertainment trends before the global pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Axe-throwing sales jumped 317 percent in the period from 2018 to 2019.

Today, there are several organizations dedicated to this sport. Someone who loves to throw axes will want to check out the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) and the World Axe Throwing League (WATL). Each organization develops its own rules for competition. 

For example, the NATF allows for four zones. Three zones are major, with the fourth being an additional one. There are five major zones on WATL targets, along with an additional zone. Both organizations set the throwing line approximately 12 feet from the target. Doing so allows only one rotation of the axe before it reaches the target. 

Both organizations allow participants to use a small axe during regular games. This axe weighs between 600 and 800 grams. When a tiebreaker is needed, a large axe weighing 1000 to 1500 grams is used. When weighing the axe, both organizations only consider the weight of the blade.

The International Axe Throwing Federation requires all axes used in the sport to have hardwood handles. This is not the case for those participating in WATL events. 

The First Axe Used in the Sport

Franks used a specific throwing axe during the early Middle Ages. Historians believe this is the world’s first throwing axe, which goes by the name Francisca. This axe can be identified by its unique shape. These axes weigh approximately 600 grams and have a head length of five to six inches. 

Modern axes differ significantly from Francisca axes. They may have a hardwood, plastic, or steel handle because traditional handles often slip off the head, which is dangerous for participants. Consider this when trying the sport, as the choice of axe plays a role in whether participants enjoy the sport and the corporate event. With the right axe and facility, this event will be a huge hit with all taking part.