Learning to pack an axe at 13 Axes, Cleveland - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photo: Supplied.


There’s always excitement about doing something for the first time, whether it’s bungee jumping or wearing false eyelashes, so when a mate told me that an axe-throwing centre had opened in the Redlands, the obvious response was, let’s give it a go!

We ended up as a threesome, Jackie, Doug and I, all of us first-timers. Carving a Sunday roast was probably the only experience any of us had of aiming a sharp object at something with the intention of actually cutting into it, but we were keen. The frisson started as soon as we walked into the 13 Axes to be greeted by Jason Lake, who, with his wife Sammi, runs 13 Axes and the newly established Rage Room next door. (For more on the Rage Room, turn to page 29).

Jason’s been running 13 Axes for nearly four years since a COVID-triggered job loss prompted him to build his own business.

When I later asked Jason what had attracted him specifically to axe throwing, he grinned and responded, “Did you enjoy yourself today?”

There’s the answer – it’s simply enjoyable. And it’s not just Jason and Jackie and Doug and I who get a buzz out of it; Jason’s clientele come from all walks of life and all ages – from 12 years old to a sprightly 99.

The axes used aren’t the domestic woodpile species; they’re specially designed and made competitive throwing axes. While your first impression might be that it’s a dangerous way to have fun, Jason says that they haven’t had an accident in all the time they’ve been operating.

“Everyone has to go through a safety talk and demonstration; the only times we’ve needed sticking plasters for minor wounds has been when – despite being told not to test the sharpness of the blade – a client can’t resist the temptation of running their thumb lightly down the edge to check it. Not good for the customer – and the indoor astroturf is really hard to clean.”

Some videos compare axe-throwing to playing darts but Jason says that golfing skills are closer; the ability to let your implement do the work rather than trying to push it through the air.

“Relax, chill out a bit and don’t get frustrated when you miss – that’ll just make it harder,” he says.

Right. Training talk, coaching and demonstration done, now it’s time to line up and take a turn. Jason makes it look so easy; position, focus, throw then a second’s silence before a gratifying THUNK as the axe hits the bullseye. Doug’s our first contender and he’s a natural; didn’t get the bullseye but after a few goes he did get the THUNK – and soon progressed to bullseye status. Jackie took a few more tries before getting to frequent THUNK and bullseye level, but she was obviously at home with the process.

I’d expected to do well, being blessed with sturdy Viking DNA. My position, focus and throw felt convincing, but the end result – with a few exceptions – was a CLUNK followed by an axe-falling-into-the-woodshavings sound. Jason was quick with a positive response.

“Look on it as great exercise,” he enthused. “Every time you walk up and down, you’ve walked seven metres; every time you pick up the axe, that’s a squat. You know, some people come here for the physio benefits.”

Whatever the benefits, we left in high spirits, well-pleased with ourselves and planning a return visit. I, for one, am determined to become a mistress of the THUNK but in the meantime I’ll wear my Axe Throwing Champion Badge as an encouragement award.

You may be interested in