Photo: Trevor Beggs Bad Axe Throwing instructor Ashley Fontaine showed the Surrey Now-Leader around the company’s facility in Newton. See our ‘how-to’ video online at surreynowleader.com.

Bad Axe Throwing hacks into Surrey

The new sport is gaining traction in North America, with a competitive league kicking off in October

For the axe residing in your household, your uses for it probably end with chopping wood.

Now, a new use for axes is making waves across North America, although it’s not recommended that you try this at home.

Axe throwing is a new sport that is gaining steam across several cities in North America. Think of it as an oversized game of darts with hatchets and tarnished wooden targets.

Despite discovering it only recently, Ashley Fontaine is enthralled with the new sport.

“There’s something very empowering about holding an axe and throwing it,” said Bad Axe Throwing instructor Ashley Fontaine. “It’s a really good release.”

“For me, I get really competitive and it’s great to bring my friends out here. Overall, it’s just a ton of fun,” says Fontaine with a smile.

Bad Axe Throwing, which has a location in Surrey, has quickly spurred the growth of this sport.

Canadian Mario Zelaya founded the Bad Axe Throwing in 2014, when he created the first Bad Axe Throwing Club in Burlington, Ontario. There are now 17 Bad Axe Throwing Clubs across Canada and the United States, just three years after the first club opened its doors.

That includes a location in Newton, which opened up in 2016. That’s where the Surrey-Now Leader had their turn putting the “bad” in Bad Axe Throwing.

“Even though there can be a competitive edge to it, axe throwing is a great social sport,” said Fontaine. “We do a ton of Bachelor parties.”

It might look as simple as throwing an axe at a wall, but there are certain nuances to the sports that newcomers must grasp if they want to stick their axe to the target.

Groups who book an event have about 2.5 hours to learn how to pick up axe throwing while trying out a few of the different games. Fontaine says that they give guests 45 minutes to practice throwing an axe before they get started.

Some do pick up the sport quicker than others.

“My 11-year-old son picked it up right away,” said Fontaine. “We have a good competition going between us.”

If axe throwing is something that piques your interest, there is money to be made by immersing yourself in the sport.

Despite the recreational nature, Fontaine insists that there is an element of structure. That structure has helped Bad Axe Throwing found an Axe Throwing League.

Bad Axe Throwing is starting up their own World Axe Throwing League throughout all 17 locations. League play will kick off on Oct. 9-10, and it’s $15 per week for people to join.

Since the idea of an axe throwing league is a relatively new idea, the organizers are having fun with it.

“It’s never been done before, so we can kind of come up with our own rules,” said Fontaine.

Regional championships will be held at each individual location during the end of November and beginning of December. Winners of the regional championships will then fly to Chicago’s Bad Axe Throwing facility to compete for a $3,500 prize.

Although this is the first edition of the World Axe Throwing Championships, the club has bigger aspirations moving forward.

“Our goal is to get into the Olympics,” said Fontaine. “That’s the goal for this club.”

“Mario has a passion for the sport, and that’s what you need in order to succeed. We have no plans of slowing down.”

While it takes a few tries to get the technique right, there’s a wealth of enjoyment in throwing hatchets at tattered targets. Even though the sport is in its infancy, there are a few different ways to play the game.

The target consists of six different scoring areas. The bullseye is worth six points. Two blue circles in the top left and right-hand corners of the target are called “kill shots.” These circles are worth 10 points each.

In league play, you can only hit the kill shot on your last turn.

Scoring in the World Axe Throwing League is determined by playing four matches per night, where player gets 10 throws per match.

For parties and group activities, the instructors teach different games. They play 51, which is similar to the popular basketball game of 21. They also play a version of cricket where you must hit the least-valuable target first and move up in ascending order.

A group session with a minimum of eight people costs $44.25 per person. More information about Bad Axe Throwing can be found on badaxethrowing.com.

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Fontaine launches her axe at the wooden targets at Bad Axe Throwing in Surrey. (Trevor Beggs)

Close-up of the targets at Bad Axe Throwing in Surrey. (Trevor Beggs)