Thwunk. Thwunk. Thwunk! Every afternoon, particularly on weekends, there’s a room that echoes with the sound of metal hitting wood with force, again and again.
No, the people here aren’t playing darts or even practising archery – they’re hurling axes. For fun.
Located at The Grandstand at Turf Club Road, Axe Factor is Singapore’s first indoor axe throwing range, where you can channel your inner sharp-shooting lumberjack while you de-stress.
The brainchild of business partners Samuel Tey and Derrick Loo, it’s been open for the past seven months and comprises 12 lanes. Prices range from S$15 per person for 30 minutes to S$160 for six to 10 people for an hour’s worth of hurling axes to your heart’s content. There’s also a separate room for private events, like parties and corporate bonding sessions.
JASON MOMOA’S AXE
The idea to start an indoor axe throwing range was all thanks to a video posted by a certain Aquaman-slash-Khal Drogo, which Tey encountered back in 2017.
“I saw (a video of) Jason Momoa throwing axes and drinking beer on Instagram and thought it was really cool,” recalled Tey, 27. “He does a lot of things that I liked to do, like rock climbing, and I thought this was something I had got to do.”
Intrigued, he and his family flew to Gold Coast in Australia, the nearest throwing range back then, to try it out.
“It was really fun. My younger brother and even my mother enjoyed it. But it wasn’t easy – it took 40 to 45 minutes to make my axe to stick to the target. But once it did, it felt satisfying,” he said.
“I feel there are really so few things to do in Singapore. Usually during the weekends, teenagers go clubbing, drink with friends and not much to spice up the activities. Singaporeans are really stressed out so I thought, this is maybe a good thing,” he said, adding that many of Axe Factor’s customers to date are young men and women between 20 and 35 years old.
BLADES AND BOOZE
Currently, Axe Factor is in the midst of getting a liquor licence, but people are allowed to bring their own booze.
Is it even safe to have axes and alcohol in one room?
Tey assures they’ve got the bases covered – there are coaches on hand to facilitate groups and individual customers, and they are ready to step in if needed.
“But so far we haven’t seen that. And I don’t think people will come here thinking ‘Oh, I want to get drunk’. They’ll probably go elsewhere,” he said.
Even without the alcohol aspect, there’s still the question of whether handling axes in itself is safe.
Tey pointed out that axes are categorically considered as tools for chopping wood, and not considered weapons. Axe Factor has three types: Hatchets, which is what beginners use; and the long felling axes or smaller tomahawks, which are reserved for advanced throwers.
“Our blades are not sharp to the touch so you don’t have to worry about slicing yourself. The only injuries we’ve had so far are splinters from the axe. It’s a lot safer than many other sports out there,” he said.
AXE THROWING AS SPORT
And while some have pointed out that the activity could be a form of stress relief similar to, say, a rage room, Tey is hoping to build up axe throwing’s reputation as a proper sport.
There are national competitions held in the US and Canada; there is an actual international World Axe Throwing League; and people can watch it live on sports networks like ESPN and TSN.
In Asia, axe throwing is still in its infancy, he said. “When we first opened, the nearest throwing range was in Australia, but now places like Bali and Bangkok have it,” said Tey, who revealed they’re looking to set up the first proper competition in Singapore by June or July. There are even plans of working with Spartan Race.
“You’re throwing something with impact, unlike, say, darts. The feeling is 10 times more – you feel really bada**,” said Tey.
For more details on Axe Factor, visit its website at https://axefactor.com.sg/