B.C. finally has a place where you can throw axes (in Surrey)

Channel your inner Paul Bunyan. Competitive axe-throwing brand Bad Axe Throwing has hit a bullseye in the Lower Mainland

July 5, 2016

By Willem Thomas / Photo: Bad Axe Throwing

Some say Canadians are born able to swing an axe. In B.C., where forestry has long been a major industry, one can easily imagine an alternate reality in which children are given their first axe at age 10 and then sent out to cut down their first full-size tree at 16. But, strangely, Canadians on the West Coast have been slower than their eastern counterparts in adopting a rapidly growing national trend: competitive axe throwing. Wannabe woodsmen initially honed the craft in backyards and private spaces around Ontario, with the first organized competitions being spearheaded by the Backyard Axe Throwing League in Toronto in 2006. Many other axe-flinging clubs have opened and expanded over the years, and Ontario-based Bad Axe Throwing has become the premiere destination for this cutting edge pastime, with locations popping up across the country.

While logger games events (such as Squamish Days Logger Sports Festival) existed, actual (legal) venues for regular folk to bury the hatchet in B.C. did not—until this June, that is. The first space of its kind in the province, Bad Axe’s new Surrey location (Bad Axe has 10 locations across Canada) aims to bring British Columbians a novel, family-friendly experience worthy of incorporating our rich logging history.

Every nation needs a leader, and the warrior-logger state that is Bad Axe Throwing has crowned Melanie Williamson its official Queen of Axes. Melanie, who was also Miss Canada International 2013, is the company spokesperson and sets up every new Bad Axe location. Melanie took some time from her royal schedule to speak to Van Mag about not only the new location and the company, but also the growing popularity and experience of throwing an axe.

The “Queen of Axes” Melanie Williamson

What is your role with Bad Axe Throwing?

My official title is actually the Queen of Axes. I wear many hats, or many crowns if you will, as the Queen of Axes. I start up the new facilities in our cross-Canada expansion program and do everything from getting the construction and contractors sorted out to hiring and training new employees. I handle the press and also run an awesome open house.

How did you get into axe throwing?

I heard about it when it was trending online, and I figured it was something I should go and try. Not only did I love it, I was hitting bull’s-eyes like crazy. I knew axe throwing was going to be a part of my future. I reached out to [Bad Axe] and started as a coach. Talking to them more, my business background matched what they were looking for, and we started working together to expand Bad Axe Throwing across Canada. It’s been an epic adventure thus far.

What was the inspiration behind starting Bad Axe?

We have a legend at Bad Axe about a gentleman named Chuck Axewood—his face is our logo. The story goes that Chuck was born to a family of lumberjacks in the Rocky Mountains, and he could do everything. He could juggle axes while logrolling backwards. He got in a fight with a bear over a piece of bacon, and won. This man could do everything, and axe throwing was one of those things, so he started opening locations across Canada and that is how Bad Axe came to be.

Why do you think people enjoy throwing axes?

It’s something new and a little bit different. Everyone has done bowling, maybe you’ve done some wild laser tag, but axe throwing is the latest craze, and it’s also something everyone can do. If you can lift up an axe, we can teach you how to throw it. It’s simple, but it’s addictive.

How would you describe Bad Axe Throwing as a brand?

We’re a fun-loving bunch. One thing I always say that kind of describes who we are is eat, drink, and be burly—burly like a lumberjack. We’re all about making great times. We want people to bring their plaid, crazy costumes, and to come with a group of friends, or bring something like a birthday party there.

So you need to bring a group?

That’s right. When we first open locations, we run by appointment only. The important thing about booking a time is it gives your group priority. No one is going to be in there that isn’t booked already. You’ll be able to make the entire space your own. You get more time for proper training. As traffic increases, we’ll be able to offer drop-in days.

Any plans to open a location in Vancouver proper?

We would like to, in the future. We choose cities just outside the big ones for a few reasons. We like to put those cities on the map with something a bit different. As well, we want to pull in the surrounding areas. [Cities like] Vancouver have so much amazing stuff going on. It doesn’t give axe throwing much room to stand out. Bad Axe will bring people in from Vancouver, but it will also give Surrey something to shine brightly with. Surrey is very multicultural, and very diverse, and Bad Axe throwing is, again, something everyone can do. We really pride ourselves that no matter where you come from, or how old you are, you can come throw an axe.

What would you say to someone to convince them to try axe throwing?

You know, it doesn’t need much convincing. The only reservations I’ve heard are safety-related. To be up front, axe throwing is as safe as can be, as long as you wear closed-toe shoes. No flip-flops. As long as you listen to your coach, you’re going to have a safe and fun time. Axe throwers who come more than once will probably advance into some trick throws. You can throw two axes at once, underhand throws, one-handed throws, and my favourite trick is I can do a one-handed cartwheel with the axe in the other hand and stand up and sink a bull’s-eye.

Bad Axe Throwing is now open at 109 – 8132 130th St., Surrey. They can be reached by phone at 778-564-5546. Details including rates, booking, and more can be found at badaxethrowing.com.

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