Axe throwing a smash hit
March 13, 2019
Mount Victoria’s Lloyd Bombell doesn’t have an axe to grind, he has several.
In fact, Bombell loves to throw them too. “Yes, we throw axes,” says Bombell. “People are loving it.”
The Australian ex-pat recently launched an axe throwing establishment, the first of its kind in New Zealand, for those keen to let off some steam by hurling sharp, heavy tools.
Sweet Axe Throwing Company was set up six months ago next door to Beaurepaires Tyre and Battery Shop in Mount Victoria’s Kent Terrace, and Bombell says he is working hard to keep up with demand.
The sport, which involves throwing axes at targets akin to giant dart boards, is proving a popular pastime for Wellingtonians with 30 people attending league competitions on Monday nights.
“I am surprised at the prevalence and popularity of obscure sports, like axe throwing, in New Zealand.”
Some of the axes are small enough to be thrown single-handed, others require two hands, he says.
Plastic moulded Viking helmets are also available.
The results of league night competition are uploaded to the US-based World Axe Throwing League website which ranks 50 teams globally from about 15 different countries.
Bombell says he is in discussions with the commissioner of the world league with the hope of getting the eventual winner of Wellington’s Sweet Axe competition a spot at the Chicago-based final in December.
The sport is growing in popularity globally and is also shown on sports television network ESPN 2.
Bombell is also working on a Sweet Axe branded craft beer with Hataitai brewery Waitoa Social Club. However, he does not promote drinking and throwing axes at the same time. This is why there is no liquor license for his premises to date.
Bombell said he primarily viewed Sweet Axe as a sport and recreation centre, like any other community recreational facility.
Lloyd Bombell at the leading edge of axe-throwing. Photo: Oliver Lovell
In February, Bombell took Sweet Axe on the road to Auckland and attended a Meatstock festival, known for its bands, beards, and barbeques.
There he set up six axe throwing ‘lanes’ and attracted plenty of interest from festival goers, he said.
Bombell has not looked into external funding to help grow the sport in New Zealand. However, he said an Australasian league could be on the horizon.