The World Double-bit Axe-Throwing Championships

by Laura Storey


Long before it became a gripping sport, axe throwing was a matter of life and death, used in warfare and hunting. Fast forward to today, and it’s not just about survival anymore – it’s about the sheer thrill of competition.

Loggers in remote communities would once hone their skills, flinging axes with precision and power. But it’s not just a scene from the past. Axe throwing has surged in popularity, becoming a favourite pastime in places like Canada and Sweden.

Ian Radmore

And now, get ready for the grandest showdown of them all: the World Double-Bit Axe-Throwing Championship 2024, hosted in picturesque North Yorkshire at Thirsk Racecourse. Over 200 competitors from across the globe will converge during the August bank holiday for a clash of titans.

But why Thirsk? Well, organiser Ian Radmore has the answer: it’s rural, it’s accessible, and it’s simply perfect for this rugged sport. Compared to the remote locations of previous events, Thirsk offers convenience without compromising accessibility.

“I run the UK Championship each year, so I know how to run a competition – this one’s just quite a bit bigger!”

“My first championships were in Sweden in 2019,” Ian explains, “300 miles from anywhere in the middle of a field. The following world championship was held in Canada, Nova Scotia. It was in a place called Barrington, which is the lobster capital of Canada but hundreds of miles from the nearest airport. The Canadians did a fantastic job, but it was in a very small community. I felt I wanted to do it here in Thirsk because of its location, which is easy to get to from Europe. It’s central, it’s straight off the motorway at Junction 50. There are trains from various airports. So, it’s much easier to get to than previous locations.”

World Double-Bit Axe Throwing Championships

Competitors at the World Championships in Canada

Ian, the man behind the magic, knows a thing or two about axe throwing. He runs his own axe-throwing range in Baldersby, just outside Thirsk, so he’s no stranger to the thrill of competition. And hosting the World Championship? It’s a challenge he’s more than ready to tackle.

“I run the UK Championship each year, so I know how to run a competition – this one’s just quite a bit bigger!” Ian laughs. “But I feel really positive about hosting it.”

Competitors get in some practice

It’s not just about the competition for Ian – it’s about spreading the love for axe throwing far and wide.

“Axe Throwing is not very big in this country as a sport in general. So that’s what I’m trying to do with the World Championships—I’m trying to open it up to make it visible, get more people into it, and hopefully grow the sport in this country.”

“It’s an easy sport to get involved with and not as dangerous as people think…”

Ian’s journey into axe-throwing began at a Withernsea biker festival back in 2019. “A guy was running a session for people to have a go at throwing tomahawks and knives.” A few months after his first throw, Ian was in Sweden for the world championships. “It was quite scary but brilliant! It got me into the sport even more.”

In the same year, he started his own throwing club, Axemore. “We run events for groups and provide lessons. A lot of axe-throwing bars in the big cities don’t provide the same experience. They just leave you to it. It’s a bit more involved here at Axemore. I like to teach people; it’s a buzz for me.”


“It’s an easy sport to get involved with and not as dangerous as people think. Children from eight and up can throw little tomahawks called angels. Our junior section, 10–17-year-olds, throw the big double-bit axes. Strength isn’t as much of a factor as many people think. We have a few juniors competing in the championships.”

With the championships just around the corner, Ian is in full swing organising the event. It promises to be an action-packed weekend, complete with camping facilities and plenty of activities.

“There’ll be a chance for everyone to dive into the excitement with our ‘have-a-go’ session featuring double-bit axes, tomahawks, and knives. And don’t worry, even the little ones under eight can join in the fun with plastic axes aimed at plastic targets, along with a bounce area.”

But that’s not all! Prepare to indulge your senses at the artisan market, where you can feast on delectable treats from food stalls, indulge at the bars, peruse arts and crafts stalls, and immerse yourself in Norse-themed delights.

“We’ve got a whole array of activities lined up, so there’s something for everyone beyond just watching the action!”

As one of the best throwers in the UK, Ian is looking forward to competing in the championships, but he’ll have stiff competition. “I was beaten last year by a guy I taught. He became the UK champion, which was brilliant for me because I taught him!”

Competitors get in some practice

Ian’s daughter, Stephanie, is also a force to be reckoned with in the axe-throwing world. It’s a family affair that adds an extra layer of excitement to the championships.

For those who want to try axe throwing, Ian has some sage advice: find a club. With clubs popping up all over the country, there’s never been a better time to dive into this thrilling sport.

So, mark your calendars for August 23rd to 25th, 2024 for the World Double-Bit Axe-Throwing Championship 2024, and head to axemore.co.uk for tickets. Who knows, you might discover your new favourite pastime—and maybe even become the next axe-throwing champion!

NorthernLife June/July/Aug 24