Top Axe-Throwing Competitions

Axe throwing is getting increasingly popular around the world and is a target sport like darts in which players stand behind a line and throw an axe at a target area. The aim is to hit the bullseye for the highest score, with points awarded for landing the axe in different sections. The winner is the player with the highest score after adding up their throws.

Axe throwing has a long history as a sport, dating back to the 19th century when lumberjacks used it as a way to blow off steam and entertain themselves. But axe-throwing is no easy feat. To excel in an axe-throwing competition, a player requires physical ability, a unique style and mental strength, the same qualities that helped people like Muhammad Ali become the greatest sportsmen of all time. This post focuses on some of the most popular axe throwing competitions and major highlights. 

World Axe Throwing League (WATL)

Overview Of The WATL 

The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) was founded in 2017 with the primary objective of promoting the sport of axe throwing globally. Since then, WATL has successfully gained popularity among different nations and currently manages various events for axe throwers of all skill levels. WATL aims to elevate axe throwing from a recreational activity to a legitimate professional sport. To achieve this goal, the organization seeks to standardize the sport through the creation of a forum for communication and collaboration between independent axe-throwing facilities worldwide. 

Explanation Of The Scoring System

The World Axe Throwing League has a specific scoring system in place that is patterned after target standards. The target (typically made of wood) is divided into four rings and a bullseye. Each ring that moves closer to the center increases in value by one point, with the bullseye being the highest-valued ring at six points. Apart from the four rings and the bullseye, the target also has two Blue Dots aka Kill Shots, positioned opposite to each other in the top right and left quadrants, each worth 10 points. If an axe is thrown on the line, the player is awarded a higher point value.

Highlight Of The WATL’s Major Events

Highlight Of The WATL’s Major Events

One of the major events that the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) organizes is International Axe Throwing Day, which occurs annually on June 13th. Axe throwers from all over the world come together on this day to celebrate the sport of Axe Throwing. One of the highlights of the event is the WATL World Record challenge, which showcases the talent, creativity, and passion of the WATL community.

In 2020, the WATL World Record for “Most Axes Thrown At A Target” was broken on International Axe Throwing Day, with the participation of 406 throwers. While WATL World Records are accessible throughout the year, the organization encourages throwers to gather on June 13th each year to break and set new records.

Famous Axe Throwers Who Compete In The WATL

Below are some of the most talented and renowned competitors who participate in the axe-throwing tournaments organized by the World Axe Throwing League.

Kjetil Vålerenga

Kjetil Vålerenga is a notable figure in the world of axe throwing, having earned multiple world records and championships. His exceptional skills and talent have made him a force to be reckoned with in the sport.

Melanie MacInni

Melanie MacInnis is a highly regarded female axe thrower who has achieved great success in the sport, winning multiple championships and establishing herself as one of the world’s leading throwers. Her dedication and hard work have paved the way for future generations of female throwers.

Chris Triffo

Chris Triffo is known for his accuracy and precision in axe throwing, making him a formidable opponent for any competitor. His technique and skill have earned him a reputation as one of the top throwers in the sport.

Kyle Titus

Kyle Titus has made a name for himself in the world of axe throwing, winning numerous championships and earning recognition for his impressive strength and ability. His passion for the sport and dedication to training has propelled him to the top of the ranks.

Stumpy Johnson

Stumpy Johnson gained fame through his appearance on the popular TV show “Forged in Fire,” and has since become a beloved figure in the axe-throwing community. His passion for the sport and dedication to promoting it has made him a valuable asset to the World Axe Throwing League and the sport as a whole.

National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF)

Overview Of the NATF

The National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) is a worldwide organization that was founded in the United States in 2016 to regulate axe-throwing activity. To date, the NATF has established over 55 city leagues and has more than 4,500 league participants from seven different countries. 

The organization’s championship event, known as the National Axe Throwing Championship (NATC), awards the Wilson Cup and over $16,500 in prizes and contributions. Axe-tossing scoring is based on a three-round match format in which five axes are hurled per round. The winner of the match is the person who wins two out of the three games. Scoring is determined by a black center ring, a red ring, and a blue ring, depending on where the hatchet contacts the target. A “Clutch” green dot in the corner is worth 7 points and must be declared before the final throw of a match. The points awarded for each throw are 5, 3, and 1, respectively, based on where the blade lands and sticks.

Highlight Of The NATF’s Major Events

Every year, the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) organizes numerous tournaments, including the National Axe Throwing Championship (NATC) which gives out the Wilson Cup and up to $25,000 in prize money and charitable donations. The NATC is the final event of the NATF league, which has more than 4,500 members from seven countries and over 55 cities. Additionally, the NATF hosts various events and competitions such as the NATF All-Star Tournament and the NATF Open Championship, which aim to attract top-notch axe throwers from around the world to showcase their skills and popularize the sport among a wider audience.

Famous Axe Throwers Who Compete In The NATF

The following individuals are among the pool of talented and skilled athletes who take part in the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF).

1. Straun Riley

Straun Riley is one of the famous axe throwers who participated in NATF tournaments, winning the National Axe Throwing Championship for two consecutive years from 2017 to 2019. Riley represents the Backyard Axe Throwing League, which has produced several winners in the past. 

2. Stefan Herda

Stefan Herda  is another axe thrower who has made a name for himself in the sport. He won the NATC in 2016 and was the Champions League tournament winner from 2013 to 2016. 

3. Jari Salovaara

Jari Salovaara, a Finnish axe thrower, won the Champions League tournament in 2012 and 2013.

4. Dave Michna

 Dave michna is a seasoned axe thrower, who clinched the Champions League trophy in 2011 and 2012.

International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF)

Overview of the IATF

Over the last 20 years, the sport of axe throwing has rapidly expanded. To support this growth and promote standardized rules and interleague competition, the International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF) was established in 2016. The IATF rule system is the foundation for league play among more than 20,000 competitive axe throwers. By standardizing rules, the IATF can increase the level of competition, promote safety, and encourage sportsmanship.

Highlight Of the IATF’s Major Events

1. IATF League Qualification Period: The qualification period runs throughout the year and is a prelude to the International Axe Throwing Championship (IATC) held in June.

2. IATF Tournament Circuit: IATF clubs host various tournaments throughout the year in different formats, such as Standard, Premier, Big Axe, Marathon, and other creative formats. The tournaments must be approved by the IATF in advance.

3. Regional Tournaments: The IATF Regionals is a series of tournaments held across different IATF regions. These tournaments offer participants the opportunity to compete with the best, win prize money, and showcase their skills. Winners of these tournaments earn a guaranteed qualification for Round 2 of the IATC’s Wilson Cup.

4. Round 1 of the IATC: All participating IATF member locations that held eligible league seasons in either Premier or Standard stream throughout the qualification period are open to hosting Round

5. Round 1 competition is scored using the Premier ruleset.

6. Round 2 of the IATC: The finals of the IATC are hosted in Toronto, Canada, each year, held over several days in June. The throwers advancing from Round 1 compete in a double-elimination, Premier rules tournament for the ultimate prize, The Wilson Cup.

Famous Axe Throwers Who Compete In The IATF

1. Matt Wilson

Wilson has won the Wilson Cup twice, clinching the championship at the International Axe Throwing Championships in 2018 and 2019. He has established himself as a crowd favorite with his remarkable accuracy and consistency.

2. Stacey Steffen

Steffen is a highly competitive and seasoned axe thrower who secured the Women’s Championship title at the 2019 International Axe Throwing Championships. She is widely recognized as one of the top female axe throwers in the world.

3. Adam Celadin

Celadin made a name for himself in the sport by winning the Amateur Championship at the 2019 International Axe Throwing Championships. He is considered an emerging talent and a promising contender in the sport.

4. Ryan Summers

Summers is renowned for his powerful throws and his ability to hit targets from considerable distances. He claimed the Big Axe Championship at the 2019 International Axe Throwing Championship.

5. Joanna Cybulski

Cybulski is a highly skilled and experienced axe thrower who triumphed at the 2021 International Axe Throwing Championships, earning the Women’s Championship title. Her talent and potential make her a competitor to watch in the future.


Axe throwing is a sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years, with major competitions attracting skilled athletes from around the world. The importance of these competitions cannot be overstated, as they serve as a platform for athletes to showcase their skills, as well as for the sport to gain wider recognition and support. Moreover, axe throwing is axe-throwing thrilling activity that can be enjoyed by anyone.