DC Company Hits Target With Ax Throwing

It’s just like darts - except it involves a  6-pound, sharpened and precisely thrown ax.

Kraken Axes is bringing ax throwing to D.C.

To play, participants hurl axes at a target positioned 10 to 15 feet away. After each player has thrown five axes, the points are tallied up, and a winner is declared.

Kraken Axes founder Steuart Martens already had his foot in the door of the D.C. entertainment scene, having helped create other events including Drink the District and Taste of D.C.. But when he and his friends were looking for a new way to hang out, his mind wandered to ax throwing.

“It’s a Canadian pastime,” Martens said. “Over time it’s become more of a game.”

When Martens hurls an ax, he usually hits the bull's-eye. The ax sticks in the target on the wall with a “plunk” sound.

He’s had lots of practice, but Martens said anyone can throw an ax.

“It’s a precision thing,” Martens said. “Not a strength thing.”

Martens said that once players get a few practice throws in, women are usually better players than men, because women are less likely to use brute force and more likely to focus on aim.

Martens said his 67-year-old mother can hit the target.

As for safety concerns? Martens said there’s not much to worry about as long as a trained professional is there to teach newcomers how to throw. But don’t be fooled, the ax is still sharp.

How sharp exactly?

“Sharp enough,” Martens said. “It’s a real ax.”

Kraken Axes debuted July 1 at the Red, White and Brew festival in Yards Park, and the company is planning several more pop-up events around the city before it opens its brick-and-mortar establishment at the end of the summer.

Reservations for groups can be made online. 

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