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Kiwi Axe Throwers Stay Social Amid Covid Outbreak

With most social and recreational sports on hold as Covid-19 continues to keep the country on lock down, a group of athletes have found a way to continue competition while maintaining Government orders. Social league members from Sweet Axe Throwing Co. based in Auckland and Wellington are doing just that; staying at home, staying social, and slinging axes.

Sweet Axe is an affiliate of the World Axe Throwing League, the governing body of the sport for over 200 locations across nineteen countries. As the world started to shut down, throwers took to Facetime, Zoom and Skype to participate in a new social league: QATL, the Quarantine Axe Throwing League.

Hosted online with throwers competing 1v1 on video chat software seemed simple enough, however, with most throwers based in the US and Europe, throwers across Australasia were struggling to keep up with the time difference. Sweet Axe venue owners Lloyd Bombell and Sarah Hilyard had an idea to keep the spirit alive for the Kiwi counterparts.

The pair recently hosted an inter-pacific competition, with throwers across both New Zealand and Australia taking part in a live streamed double elimination tournament. With technical know-how shared from league members and friends, and utilising a range of video chat software, the inaugural NZ & Australia Iso Tournament was played out.

Bombell, co-owner, said the idea for the tournament came to fruition “after a few lockdown beers on facetime with fellow throwers from across the ditch”.

While competitors across other parts of the world have access to hardware stores, the lockdown in NZ lead to some members using their Kiwi ingenuity to create rather “humble” targets. Ranging from 2x4’s, pallets and tree stumps, the scoring rules were modified to include targets of all shapes and sizes.

League member comments included “It's great that I get to stay social with people I love seeing weekly, and meet new throwers from all over without having to leave the house”, and “my neighbours think I’m crazy, but axe throwing is keeping me sane”.

So what's next for Sweet Axe throwing Co? Come Level 2 the venue will likely open its doors again, with social distancing and strict cleaning regimes.

The pair are also looking to help other league members set up home targets. "We've had a couple of people get a bit jealous of some setups, it's a great way to pass the time and keeps your skills sharp for when we return to normal." Hilyard said.

If you're itching to swing some steel we recommend leaving it to the professionals for now. When the venue opens its doors again, be sure to hit up Sweet Axe Throwing Co. for your next work party, stag do, birthday or for no reason other than to try it out.

For questions, comments, media and other please reach out.

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