It's been compared to throwing darts, but instead of launching tiny arrows at a target, the business of axe-throwing involves hurling 1.2-kilogram bladed weapons across a room. But you probably figured that one out already.
Commercial axe-throwing outfits started popping up around the world about a decade ago. Opening 1 September, Sweet Axe Throwing is set to be Wellington's first urban axe-throwing experience. The 250m2 axe arena arrives from Sarah Hilyard and Lloyd Bombell in the bullseye of Te Aro on Kent Terrace. The pair first happened upon the competitive sport in Sydney where Lloyd discovered his natural lumberjack talent and was offered a job on the spot. Three years later they decided to bring the activity back to New Zealand.
To get involved, Sweet Axe Throwing requires a minimum of eight axe throwers. There is a limit of 15 in each self-contained lane, though the venue can accomodate groups of up to 50. The age restriction is 16 and above.
The game is simple and involves a round-robin playoff where guests score points by throwing axes at a big target. Wooden targets are set up four metres away and two players at a time take turns tossing axes in the direction of the bullseye. Each group spends two hours in the private chain-link lanes with a trained instructor, suitably called "axe-perts", who teach safe throwing techniques and show how the game works. Lloyd says that during his three years of coaching, the worst injury he's seen is a splinter.
Sweet Axe Throwing suggests that anyone can throw an axe, no matter the fitness level, and that "with expert instruction, anyone can land a bullseye safely within one session."
Gameplay follows the official rulebook of the World Axe Throwing League, with six points for hitting the bullseye and between 4-1 points for the five outer rings. Ten points are given for the kill shot, or "clutch", which is only available on the tenth and final throw of the match.
Tickets are currently available for the opening weekend of Sweet Axe Throwing, including an opening offer of $10 for ten throws. The two-hour sessions will set you back $50.
Sweet Axe Throwing opens 1 September at 58 Kent Terrace. It's open Tuesday to Friday 11am-7pm and Saturday to Sunday 10am to 10pm. For more information and to make a booking, visit sweetaxethrow.com.