The sport of Woodchopping
Did you know that woodchopping has a longer history in New Zealand than rugby?
According to legend, the sport began with a £25 bet between two men in a Tasmanian bar in 1870. The two men competed to see who could fell a tree the quickest.
Since its beginning, the sport has expanded to include diverse events and disciplines. Such as Underhand Chopping, Standing Block Chopping, Tree Felling, Single and Double Sawing.
Woodchopping is an adrenaline-fueled sport that demands a mix of athleticism, timing, fitness, power, and strength. With the extra element of danger, it becomes even more captivating to watch.
In this event, competitors must cut through a secured block of wood from both sides using an axe. Success depends on the placement of the axe and a powerful swing. Top performers can finish a 10-inch block in less than 20 seconds.
A competitor stands horizontally on a block severing it with blows that land between their feet.
Traditionally tree felling involved climbing using wedged boards to get above the roots. Modern competitions limit the use of boards to 2-3 to climb up to 2.5 metres. This requires skill, precision and endurance and is often mastered last.
In this event one or two people use a crosscut saw to slice off a ‘disk’ from a log. The key to this event lies in the competitors’ rhythm, technique and speed.
Handicapping – Making the competition fairer.
In races, a handicapping system assigns each competitor a “mark” to give less experienced competitors a fair chance.
This denotes the number of seconds they must wait before starting the race. Experienced competitors start later than the less experienced, sometimes up to 40 seconds or more behind.