Ax-throwing, seen on YouTube and late night television, is a growing business in San Diego with four locations offering the chance for patrons to challenge themselves or relieve some stress.
The idea was first heard about in Canada and now there are more than 100 locations in the U.S. featuring the activity from Chicago, to Nashville to San Diego.
One location, AxeVentures, is located in North Park and hopes to capitalize on the trend.
Owner Chris Keown said spending some time throwing axes can be cathartic.
“Knowing there are people standing behind you and watching you and you’re just hurling this sharp object through the air at a target,” Keown said. “It’s pretty intense and exciting.”
Samuel Montano heard about it online and decided to bring his family to give it a try.
"I saw a YouTube video of them doing this in Iowa and that it was becoming really big,” Montano said. “And who doesn't want to throw an ax and make it stick into a big bullseye?"
Getting a bullseye may be the ultimate goal but just throwing the ax hard enough and straight enough to get it to stick is challenge enough.
The key is to stand between the red lines on the floor with the ax in one hand and avoid “chicken winging,” according to ax-throwing coach Jake Vuolo.
He suggests keeping your arm straight and, of course, facing toward the target when you throw.
“It’s a little weird. It’s a little unique,” said Vuolo. “It’s a cool way for people to get moving and take some aggression out.”
Vuolo grew up in upstate New York where he and his friends participated in local lumberjack competitions.
Late Night host Jimmy Fallon challenged actress Jennifer Lawrence to a competition in September.
Months later, he competed against tennis legend Serena Williams. “Maybe stand back,” Fallon warned his guest.
At the North Park location, patrons must sign a waiver and undergo an orientation session before the throwing commences.
Throwers must be 16 years or older at AxeVentures.
The cost for a group of four to throw axes for 90 minutes is $116. Closed toed shoes are required.