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What is Competitive Axe Throwing All About? And Why Should You Join?

Reasons to Consider Joining or Starting an Axe Throwing League

As humans, we’re basically programmed to be competitive. Some of us more so than others but in each person, there is that competitive spark which makes us focus and do our best – basically for the sake of glory.

Axe throwing has grown quite popular in recent years – so much so that competitions have started popping up in many countries across multiple continents.

But you might ask: “Why would anyone want to compete at throwing axes at a piece of wood?” Well, there are numerous benefits to competing at this relatively new sport but first, let’s see how they do it.

What Are the Rules?

In axe throwing, we compete at throwing hatchets or axes at a thirty-six inches wide, round, wooden target. The target has five rings, and each ring is four inches wide. Hitting the outermost ring gives the thrower one point, hitting the one next to it two points, and so on – the bullseye is worth five points.

The throwing distance is usually the biggest variable in these competitions, ranging from 15 to 30 feet.

Each player gets five throws and the outermost ring that the axe hits is scored. If the thrower oversteps the throwing line before the axe hits the target, they will receive 0 points for that particular throw.

Keep in mind that warm up targets are always provided at competitions and throwers who warm up on targets intended for competing are usually disqualified.

Now, each organization has its own flavor, so let’s take a look at how they differ from one another.

Biggest Competitive Event Organizers

There are numerous smaller leagues and events forming around the globe, but there are three major organizations that organize competitive events for axe throwers. 

World Axe Throwing League

The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) is the biggest league out there. They organize events in 18 countries across 6 different continents and have had over 4000 axe throwers competing in their events. Still, they are most dominantly represented in North America in the USA and Canada.

They are also the organization that has done the most to push the sport into the mainstream, managing to land a collaboration with ESPN 2, which will cover their Summer League.

They organize numerous leagues, as well as one-off tournaments, so axe throwers with various levels of investment can compete at their leisure.

National Axe Throwing Federation

The National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) is another globally established event organizer that has the standardization of the rules of axe throwing competitions as its primary goal. All members of the NATF are competing for the annually awarded Wilson Cup.

They have representatives in 75 different cities and 8 different countries. According to NATAF, they are responsible for enabling more than 36 million axes to be thrown competitively around the globe. 


EuroThrowers, also known as European Throwing Club “Flying Blades”, was founded in 2003 and their goal is to facilitate the communication and event organization between two groups of throwers: axe throwers and knife throwers.

Unlike the previously mentioned organizations, EuroThrowers mostly operate in Europe with members from Russia, the UK, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, and Germany making up the bulk of their member pool. Additionally, there are more than 20 European clubs connected to the organization.

The Benefits of Joining a League

Now that you are familiar with the major organizations responsible for axe throwing competitive events across the world let’s see what benefits you can expect by joining one of them and competing with other throwers.


The most obvious benefit of joining a competition of any kind are the prizes. While you might not be able to win prizes your first time competing (except if you are extremely talented) the prizes are nothing to be disregarded.

For example, the prize pool for winning NATF’s Wilson Cup is $25,000, along with a donation to charity. WATL US Open offers prizes of $500 for third place, $750 for second place, and the first place gets the WATL Champion ring along with a $5000 prize.

Stress Relief

Not everyone enters these competitions to win prizes. The competitive environment and the visceral experience of hurling axes at a target at full force is described by many as very relaxing.

The modern lifestyle includes a lot of sitting down, patience, and subduing our natural need to be physically active, and axe throwing is a great way to get rid of that excess stress you keep inside.

Meeting new people and having fun

Even though these events are competitive in nature, most people attend because they want to meet others who share their passion and just have fun. These events are filled with great sportsmanship, knowledge, and experience exchange, and fun events intended to connect throwers from different places.


As you have seen above, there are more than a few places where these events are held. If you really get into it, your competitive axe throwing career will lead you around the world and help you experience places you have never seen before.

As we already mentioned, the NATF hosts events across 8 different countries, so going pro will really take you places.

Physical fitness

Axe throwing has a lot of physical benefits, even if it doesn’t seem very demanding at first glance. Sure, joining in for a couple of throws won’t build up your core, but if you decide to compete, you will be practicing a lot, helping you get the physical benefits like building up your core, lats, shoulders, but also your hamstrings and calves.

We hope we’ve explained the allure of going competitive with axe throwing. The above-mentioned reasons should be enough to get you thinking and consider at least attempting to go through one competitive event.

Still, nothing can convince you that it’s worth it like hitting a bullseye and hearing the crowd roar with approval!

Axe Throwing at Lumberjaxe

At our locations in Athens, Georgia as well as Ottawa (Canada's Capital!), you can kick back and unwind with some fun axe-throwing - or you can join a league and engage in some serious fun with competitive axe throwing.

Contact us today to book a lane or find out more about competitive axe throwing.

Choose your location!