Hey there, I'm Evan Walters. As the title said, today is International Axe Throwing Day and I'm the Commissioner of the World Axe Throwing League here to answer any questions you have about axe throwing, the sport, and the crazy year it's been since the last AMA!

It's been a crazy ride going from graduating with a design and marketing degree at a small university in Virginia to running an international sports organization. I've spent the past few years growing the World Axe Throwing League from about 10 affiliated axe throwing venues in 2 countries to over 100 companies in 17 countries, as well as connecting our major tournaments with ESPN and TSN. We've had some pretty amazing effect in how much axe throwing has exploded in the past few years, especially in celebrities participating! Just recently Arnold Schwarzenegger threw axes with one of our affiliates in Brazil and having others such as Ludacris, and Hugh Jackman give axe throwing a try has been pretty surreal but probably one of my favourites though was being interviewed by an anime vampire in Japan.

I'm always juggling many projects and currently working on the Throw Down Axe Festival on the weekend of June 29, and working with Ironside Axe Throwing for our U.S. Open tournament on August 25th which will be on ESPN. I also have a pretty big announcement that I'll share later in the day, right here first!

Outside of my current position, I've had many different career paths from video games to major news marketing and travelled to many different countries since being a homeschooled kid. I even lived in Taipei for a while! I'm a fan of most nerdy things, comics, video and board gaming, movies, esports, and hockey to name a few. I was also named Time Magazine's 2006 person of the year and I've been recently described as "Breaktaking" by Keanu Reeves.

Follow me on twitter @AxeCommisisoner and follow the World Axe Throwing League on Facebook and Instagram

Axe for Proof

*edited for formatting * Second edit

As promised the big announcement!

*Last edit Thank you all so much for joining me to talk about axe throwing on this special holiday. Keep an eye for us on social media and on ESPN later this year! Cheers

Comments: 779 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

gearhead488408 karma

Why don’t you just get closer to your firewood?

WATLofficial349 karma

Because if I got closer to the wood it would just be axe chopping, not axe throwing.

OISss263 karma

Do you use Axe body spray?

WATLofficial230 karma

I'm more of an Old Spice man myself

kotkaiser101 karma

You are totally about to get asked to do a commercial for them. Writes itself.

WATLofficial136 karma

Only if they give me two tickets to the thing I love

magicmarkker147 karma

If WATL is the largest axe throwing org in the world, why are their prize pools smaller than other organizations while also charging higher entry fees?

WATLofficial82 karma

I think you're confusing membership with money. We have more companies in more locations and countries in the world.

But in terms of money. we don't advertise the whole pot to inflate numbers. Also, plenty of organizations react and offer more once they see theirs is not the number to brag about, it's the nature of competition. Just wait until you see what we have planned.

philly_is_silly66 karma

With an entry price tag of $350 per thrower, I would certainly hope that the "World Championship" has the biggest prize pool ever.

Hint: it has to be higher than $20,000 CAD

WATLofficial2 karma

We have never asked the players who are invited to worlds for a fee. Whoever told you this is incorrect.

squid50s111 karma

How did the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) start?

WATLofficial160 karma

We noticed that many indoor axe throwing facilities, mostly in Canada, followed similar business practices and axe throwing rules. However, there wasn't much communication between all of the axe throwing clubs. We felt that we needed to create a forum for all axe throwers to open the floor for discussion on standardizing official rules and regulations to reach a new level of professionalism and actually make real moves to legitimize axe throwing as a sport.

JerusalemSpiderMan87 karma

Would you rather throw a hundred duck sized axes or one axe sized duck?

WATLofficial76 karma

Probably the axe sized duck

StJohnOnDeathRow64 karma

Why is your sign for a bullseye (6) actually a 9 in sign language?

WATLofficial84 karma

Because we wanted to make sure deaf people upside down would know. Kidding of course! Honestly, we wanted to make an OK gesture shaped like a 6. I would pose the question, why does the sign for 9 make the hand look like a 6?

dvoni1158 karma

Do you have a plan in place to start announcing tournaments with more than a few months notice, I know as US military member, we have to plan vacations and events more than a few months in advance due to the job?

WATLofficial44 karma

Absolutely. Major tournaments take months of planning, especially when ESPN is in involved. We're working at about 6 months in advance currently and as we continue to smooth out the processes we'll be able to plan farther in advance hopefully.

Ethandbuckman31 karma

Why do NATF throwers win every WATL tournament but WATL throwers never win NATF tournaments?

WATLofficial38 karma

If they're at a WATL tournament, they're WATL throwers too

Kapono2431 karma

What's the future look like for ax throwing? Venues are popping up everywhere and it feels really similar to the escape room trend. Those are starting to close now unfortunately, sounds like it has a lot to do with overhead costs.

But what can ax throwing venues do to make this a long-term entertainment option?

WATLofficial31 karma

The future is looking pretty great! One of the reasons we have a league is to prevent us from being a fad activity. When people have something to look forward to each year and can have a community grow around it, that's what keeps activities and sports thriving.

dlb100124 karma

In your league play rules the season spans 8 weeks with a tournament on the eighth week. But to me it seems like everything that is done in the first 7 weeks really don't count for anything other than fun unless you are an amazing player and have scores in the top 90 in the world. Do you have any possible plans to remedy this? Maybe something to incentivize doing better in the first 7 weeks for regular people who have no chance at qualifying even if they win the tournament?

WATLofficial31 karma

That is one of my top priorities for the 2020 rules update. We have some pretty amazing plans in the works I wish I could go into but we already have a handful of fixes being worked on to see what will be optimal for next year.

NoFoxDev17 karma

Who was your Best D&D DM?

WATLofficial13 karma

Nice try haha

LallyMonkey15 karma

Why was Mike Kump done dirty by the officiating at the Canadian Open?

WATLofficial17 karma

I wouldn't say he was "done dirty". You make it sounds like calls were made against him on purpose. Which was definitely not the case.The founder of WATL took advice on the call due to what some former members of the WATL Ambassadors had pointed out incorrectly in the moment by second-guessing the Judges call. The founder took their advice and relayed it the the Judge.

The Judge however was correct in his call, and due to myself being on broadcast live, I was not able to intervene. We've already established in the future that there will be no outside interference in rulings and the Judges call is final.

Had I been able to at the time I would have made that clear but I couldn't just jump off the broadcast to make that call. It was an example of some of the growing pains that come with a budding sport growing into the mainstream but all growing pains are properly handled as learning experiences as this now is.

PurpleMonkeyAxeDW13 karma

As Comissionor of the organization, how do you help people fund their way to these major events? Do you help get sponsorships? There is travel, hotels, food, and entry fees of $100 to $350 for worlds. We are common folk and want to continue but not go broke.

WATLofficial7 karma

I'm always looking for ways of making sponsorships easier for our throwers to get. We don't want to break your bank and want you to come compete so anything I can do to help I will work toward.

RawrImABigScaryBear11 karma

Does the name "hipster darts" offend you?

WATLofficial7 karma

Nope, I've also heard it called "millennial bowling"

Pope_Industries11 karma

Do you like the champion Draven from league of legends?

WATLofficial8 karma

I prefer Jinx or Miss Fortune hoenstly

Pope_Industries10 karma

But..... You.... But... You throw axes tho....

WATLofficial9 karma

Yeah but killing a champ from the other side of the level with a hail mary ult is legit one of the most satisfying things

Ethandbuckman10 karma

I’m considered a mid level natf thrower, at choptober last year me and my also mid level natf partner smacked two of the highest rated watl throwers around in doubles after they told him they were “semi pro” throwers. Care to comment?

WATLofficial11 karma

You may be better than you give yourself credit for :)

dlb100110 karma

Could you elaborate on the process you go through for implementing rule changes? For example how you come up with the rule changes, how they are determined to be valid and if they are working or not?

WATLofficial13 karma

Oh man, where to start. In a nutshell, we look out for how the season and matches are played by the players. We try to anticipate how it will grow and with those two things in mind we evaluate what will help our leagues be more enjoyable and fair to compete in and work toward making rules for that. Then when we make rules concepts we have to see how it interacts with all the other rules already established and do a lot of math to make sure things are accurate as possible. There's a TON more to it, but it's really about whittling away at everything and looking for ways to improve. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is not the mantra I go by for rules and regulations.

mikelock8 karma

What sort of axe would you recommend for self defence purposes?

WATLofficial20 karma

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend a throwing axe for self-defence, or any axe really. It would only escalate a confrontation and could potentially turn it into something much worse. If going for self-defence, a sturdy metal baseball bat may be better, that way you don't potentially do something drastic and you'll still be able to defend yourself.

NerdJudge8 karma

What are your thoughts on divisions for higher levels of play? Could this work on the local level, or only at major tournaments?

WATLofficial3 karma

It's an idea we've toyed around with before. Nothing is set in stone yet for 2020, and this is something that's still in the conversation.

agent_wolfe7 karma

Why is this a thing?

WATLofficial10 karma

Because it's fun!

glowcircuit6 karma

We only get 365 days a year, do we really Need ‘axe throwing day’ ? Is this a hipster fad?

WATLofficial6 karma

There's more than enough day to share with others

Mondak5 karma

Announced to my employees we would have our Xmas party ax throwing. They all thought I was nuts. We had a FANTASTIC time! Programmers learning to throw axes was the BEST!

I want to build a place to practice in my backyard and have two questions:

  1. What do you call it? Is it a range? Target thing?
  2. Are there specifications or best practices design and building the thing?

Thanks. Much fun!

WATLofficial4 karma

Absolutely! Glad your team had fun!

We call them lanes (with two targets) and targets.

We do have specifications for official targets on our rules site.

Hope to see you at a competition soon!

phin03115 karma

Holy shit, there's an international axe throwing day???? This. Is. Awesome.

WATLofficial7 karma

Sure is! We have many locations and companies offering free axe throwing to celebrate!

SexFlez5 karma

I wrote a big fantasy manuscript starring someone who wielded a great axe because I was tired of heroes always using swords.

What are the "techniques" to fighting with an axe besides "aim blade towards bad guy and swing really hard?" Course, you're an expert in axe-throwing, so I would understand if axe-combat ain't your forte.

WATLofficial4 karma

The thing to keep in mind is that to get proper velocity with an axe you need a fairly wide swing which telegraphs your attack much more than a sword would.

Also, an axe with a fairly long beard (underside) is a great way to catch a blade and disarm someone.

gillyboatbruff5 karma

Why stop at international? Why not intergalactic?

WATLofficial6 karma

All in due time

SofaProfessor4 karma

I'm doing an axe throwing tournament for a bachelor party this weekend. None of us have ever done this but, naturally, we all want to win and claim bragging rights for the weekend.

What are some not-so-obvious axe throwing tips that will give me an edge this weekend?

WATLofficial6 karma

There's always a tendency (especially at bachelor parties) to try to be macho and be a cool Viking thrower or something like that. Focus more on your distance and the rotation of the axe. It's more about technique than strength.

Roodyrooster3 karma

Are you chuffed to see all these axe throwing bars popping up? How much alcohol must be consumed to get into peak axe throwing condition?

WATLofficial8 karma

I'm proper chuffed! Honestly, I would never have more than two drinks and throw axes. I know my limit is much more than that but it's important to be respectful of the risks involved in the activity (which are minimal)

wretlingrock3923 karma

I throw at a bury the hatchet. I just started this past spring season after they left WATL. Now I'm not going to say I am the best thrower because I'm not but I am much better then I was expecting I would be. My question is, does WATL accept non WATL affiliated throwers in your tournaments or do I have to compete in a WATL league before attempting to compete in WATL tournaments?

WATLofficial4 karma

One small correction, BtH was unfortunately removed from WATL. But for your question, we absolutely do allow non-affilaited throwers in our tournaments! The more the merrier.

GildoFotzo3 karma

hi! i work in an office and i have my personel fire axe right next to my desk. what do you think could i throw the Axe on?

WATLofficial3 karma

I'd suggest wood boards for optimum safety, but technically speaking you could throw it at anything you'd like

CyberPinUp3 karma

What is the most popular regulation axe? Also, thank you for being the commissioner of the best sport, and just an all around decent human. I love watching new ideas from all over be put into use in all the best ways through WATL. It’s so refreshing to watch the leaders of a sport listen to the people who enjoy it! Keep at it gents!

WATLofficial9 karma

Glad to hear it, thanks so much! We're pretty happy that we have such great feedback from the competitors. It really shows how awesome and passionate our players are.
The most popular axes are like Pilot0160 said, " Estwing 16" campers axe or the Cold Steel Axe Gang" but we have some pretty amazing Pro-line throwing axes coming out here in the next few months we anticipate will be the favorites.

the_y_of_the_tiger3 karma

Did you see the Futurama episode about axe fighting?

WATLofficial3 karma

I thought I had seen them all but I don't remember that one. Welp time for a new binge watch. Long overdue anyway

Rasatra3 karma

Considering it's a sport with a high velocity blade, what's the worst safety violation you've seen in axe-throwing?

WATLofficial6 karma

Most locations have staff attending to throwers at all times to ensure the saftey of all involved. But the worst one I've seen was someone going against the instructions and trying to catch an axe in mid-air. Luckily only a few stitches for him.

JoeyG76 karma

Why have your champion juggling axes on national TV then?

WATLofficial6 karma

Because he's a professional and has trained to be able to do it.

Illnessofthenight2 karma

Have you ever killed a man by throwing an axe at him? If you haven’t, Would you if given the chance and they wronged you in the most despicable fashion?

WATLofficial3 karma

I have not and probably would not. I don't hold grudges really so if someone has wronged me I hope they change their ways with others in the future.

petertmcqueeny2 karma

How do you feel about hatchets?

WATLofficial4 karma

They're great axes!

TheBestBaker2 karma

How many times has someone asked “Can I AXE you a question?”

WATLofficial3 karma

Pretty much daily

DunwichHorror6662 karma

Short of having a custom axe made...where could someone go get an axe on a budget that would make a good one to use to try to get into the sport?

WATLofficial4 karma

Honestly, for practice, I'd say go to a hardware store and get a cheap axe. Once you find your groove and get a bit better, then you can possibly invest in something a bit nicer. But I've seen pros throw perfectly fine with axes less than $50

MrFrode2 karma

When you and the Commissioner of the "World Axe Catching League" get together what's it like?

WATLofficial3 karma

Not fun because he makes it really hard to score when he keeps catching all my throws!

Coast_watcher2 karma

What's your favorite axe from a video game ?

WATLofficial4 karma

I currently have a few tattoos of axes from video games. I'm really fond of Ori's black axes in Banner Saga, also the Leviathan in God of War.

RandomHero5652 karma

Whats a good throwing ax for starting out? Completely new.

WATLofficial2 karma

Honestly, there's no real "beginner axe" It's more about how you throw and adapt to the axe rotation than the axe itself. I suggest finding something that's comfortable to throw on your arm

uteng2k72 karma

Why do you think that axe throwing seems to be gaining so much popularity among the hipster crowd?

WATLofficial3 karma

Honestly, our largest demographics are people in their mid-20's to mid-60's. I think anything new and alternative is kinda seen as hipster which this sport definitely is for the mainstream currently.

axematt12 karma

Can I put a sponsor on my Throw Down shirt? How do I make that happen?

WATLofficial2 karma

All sponsors will have to be approved for major tournaments. I'd suggest shooting us a message on our site or an email and we can review and work with you on it.

scottwhitty2 karma

Is Jason Mamoa a member? Lol he likes throwing axes

WATLofficial5 karma

He isn't, but I met the fine gents who own the location that Mamoa made viral video where he was drinking Guinness.

sonorousAssailant2 karma

Are there any plans for major tournaments in the Southern half of the US? It may be particularly nice for the later months of the year.

WATLofficial2 karma

Just wait ;)

YellowFat2 karma

Did you ever hit the bullseye and yell "I'm surgical with this bitch!" On that same note what's your favorite celebration?

WATLofficial7 karma

BEN6842 karma

Do you throw axes?

WATLofficial2 karma

Sure do

Iyerboi2 karma

When the fire starts to burn, what'll you throw den?

WATLofficial3 karma

More axes

MickIsHere2 karma

Do you find that Gimli is a real inspirational figure in your community?

WATLofficial3 karma

Honestly not as much as you'd think. Definitely is for me though

DondeLaCervesa2 karma

What are your thoughts on venues offering different styles?

My friends and I have thrown at a bunch of places that offered different styles of axe throwing, and while we had lots of fun some of them are a pain to get to. It would be cool if a location offered more than one style since they are all lots of fun, and I'm sure people would be more inclined to give them their patronage over venues that only offered one style.

WATLofficial2 karma

I'm all for it. In fact, I'm working on integrating more axe styles into our competitions currently.

typenext2 karma

Do you know about the character Draven in League of Legends, and if you do what do you have to say about his axe-throwing skills? Would his weapons be practical in a competitive scene?

WATLofficial2 karma

Definitely wouldn't. Plus I'd make a case that he's not actually using axes.

theAmazingdocterE2 karma

Are you dad?

WATLofficial2 karma

No this is Patrick

Pilot01601 karma

Would you say you have a good or bad reputation if you hear "Hey, isn't that the axe guy over there?" when walking around town?

WATLofficial2 karma

Hopefully good! With all the axe apparel I have and my axe tattoos now I can't escape it either way

HeadsOfLeviathan1 karma

What’s your favourite sandwich?

WATLofficial2 karma

French Dip with a spicy horseradish

smokeybojangles1 karma

When are you going to be broadcast on the ocho?

WATLofficial1 karma

We're already on ESPN2 and 3. Though I believe we're slated for the annual ESPN Ocho day this year

coughcough1 karma

Can people "modify" an axe in an "illegal" way? Do people cheat at axe throwing tournaments, if so, how?

WATLofficial4 karma

If the blade from tip to tip is too long, or the weight is too much then they would be illegal. I'm sure people are trying to figure out ways to cheat, but we've done pretty well correcting avenues for cheating and will continue to do so!

budds12101 karma

How big is the world are throwing league, like how popular is it?

WATLofficial2 karma

We have a few thousand players per season currently, but axe throwing as a pastime is growing tremendously every day.

StJohnOnDeathRow1 karma

It seems that the major pocket of throwers are mainly on the east coast (for both US and Canada), so why not make tournaments like the US Open in an easier location for everyone to get to? What goes into picking these random locations?

WATLofficial3 karma

We want to share the love with all of our affiliated companies and give them a chance to not be left out. Also, it's a chance to explore a bit more of the world. Things would get rather stale if it was at the same place over and over every year.

WolfeBorn1 karma

What has been your biggest safety concern while setting up the competition? What steps have yoh taken to protect the axe throwers and anyone else around them?

WATLofficial1 karma

Biggest safety concern for me usually is bouncing axes. Luckily in competition, we have experienced throwers who know well enough to prevent that 99% of the time.

blackjackjester1 karma

With the new open-carry of swords and knives laws going into effect in Texas, do you foresee an uptick in personal throwing axes used for defence and public safety?

WATLofficial2 karma

Honestly, when I think about someone doing that, it seems very mall-ninja-esque. I recommend having a better self-defence weapon like pepper spray so you can disable your aggressor and run.

LallyMonkey0 karma

Why was Bury The Hatchet banned from WATL?

WATLofficial2 karma

You can ready about it here, but it was boiled down to two major things. 1. consistently not following proper procedure and having the players suffer for it, which represents them horribly and our league 2. A huge lack of professionalism from the ownership and some key employees.

LallyMonkey2 karma

Yeah, but why were they really banned? We've all seen the emails and lawsuit threats.

philly_is_silly3 karma

Puts on tinfoil hat

It was to reduce the number of opportunities for World's qualification in the greater Philadelphia area

WATLofficial2 karma

Honestly, the choice to ban them weighed on me very hard. So much so I could barely sleep because I knew how many players would lose opportunities to compete, and I personally have friends in the company to this day.

9VarsityLetters-1 karma

How do you address people who rate axe throwing businesses as 1 star? For example, I was sitting in my living room perusing some beautiful hand sewn tops on Etsy when I found a great one and purchased it. Unfortunately, the very next moment I looked out my window and saw a obese man standing around in a trenchcoat. When he saw me he opened the trenchcoat and was nude underneath. It was gross. When the top arrived it was good quality but I couldn’t wear it because it reminded me of the guy. Since I wasn’t able to enjoy the top, I rated it 1 star and only commented “Perversion” as the reason. My friend says I’m an ahole because the two things are unrelated, but I say my rating is my personal enjoyment of the item so it should get only 1 star.

WATLofficial3 karma

That is quite a tale. Honestly, there will always be people who reactionarily abuse online public rating systems. It's up tot he business to address it in a professional way if possible to defend their product/service.