Axe throwers continue the competition online during quarantine

With adult sport leagues on hold due to COVID-19, a group from Southern Ontario has found a way to continue playing online.

The Quarantine Axe Throwing League, otherwise known as the QATL, is gaining popularity as the first known quarantine sports league.

“It is just to keep the competitive edge, you know, keep throwing,” says Gavin Caissie, QATL co-founder.

Athletes from Kitchener and Burlington use at-home targets in order duke it out in one-on-one digital battles.

“They would find a time, throw against that person, try to go live so people can watch their friends throw,” says Tristan Ledbury, QATL co-founder.

“You're buying plywood, which serves as the backboard of where you're going to be throwing the axes and you're buying a bunch of two by ten pieces of wood that go vertically and then you draw the targets,” says Mario Zelaya, Bad Axe Throwing founder & CEO.

The online sport follows regulations from the World Axe Throwing League.

“You'll notice the straight handle that allows you to essentially release the axe nice and easy. It doesn't have that curve where a traditional axe is meant to stick in your hand and you’re not meant to release it,” explains Zelaya.

With more than 300 members, it's the largest axe throwing league, attracting players from around the world.

“We've got people in Ireland, we’ve got people across North America, we have some people in Australia, New Zealand. It's just, it blew up fast,” says Ledbury.

“The best thing for me personally is that I get to play people that I normally wouldn’t get to,” says Caissie.

“Our current world champion is throwing with us. Normally there's no way i would be able to play him unless I was at a tournament.”

Quarantine playoffs have already started with hopes things will return to normal soon.

“The first location is in Surrey, just south of Vancouver, where we are open and we're implementing all these extra safety measures,” says Zelaya.