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Ten years ago, when living in Toronto, Stephen Thomas was invited to a warehouse down an alleyway. To throw some axes. And he Iiked it.

The game itself is much like darts: competitors face down a target and try to hit the bullseye. The activity has a minimal-time commitment and is highly social. Thomas and his wife became regulars at the weekly axe-hurling sessions and when they moved back to Sydney they decided to open their own venue devoted to the sport.

Since opening Maniax in 2015, tens of thousands of people have come through its doors; Saturday slots are usually booked out four to six weeks in advance. It's easy to see why it's so popular. Anyone over the age of 15 years old can axe-throw, and it’s a pleasant surprise when your weapon hits the target board. There's the regular session axe (16 inches), league axe (14 inches) and the functionally named Big axe (comically oversized, two-handed throw only).

Axe-throwing at Maniax is essentially just an exaggerated version of dart throwing, but the drama of the build-up to a throw, and the feeling of satisfaction you get when you hear the thud of an axe successfully thrown into the board, gives the sport a serious competitive edge.

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Updated: November 24th, 2020

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