Cool hand Luke fol­lows in dad’s foot­steps

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Tari Jef­fers

It is a phys­i­cally and men­tally stren­u­ous sport but it is the sense of com­mu­nity that keeps Man­jimup’s Luke Gi­blett in­volved in the world of log-chop­ping.

Each swing of an axe and ev­ery move­ment of the saw has to be pre­cise but vi­brant and pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity makes it worth­while.

Luke, 24, has al­ready got the 2018-19 log-chop­ping sea­son off to a strong start, after com­pet­ing in the Western Aus­tralian Ax­e­men’s League sea­son opener at the Perth Royal Show last week.

He took first place in the 325mm Sin­gle­hand Saw­ing Hand­i­cap Fi­nal, sec­ond place in the 275mm First Di­vi­sion Stand­ing Block Fi­nal and 300mm Open Un­der­hand Hand­i­cap Fi­nal and third in the 250mm Un­der­hand and Stand­ing Block Com­bi­na­tion Fi­nal and third in the 325mm Sin­gle­hand Saw­ing Cham­pi­onship Fi­nal.

These wins are only the lat­est in a long line of achieve­ments, which have reg­u­larly oc­curred since he took up log-chop­ping com­pet­i­tively about six years ago.

“It all started when my Dad and my Un­cle used to do it and I re­mem­ber go­ing along to the chops when I was young to watch them,” Luke said.

“I al­ways wanted to do it, so one day I asked my old man to train me and it snow­balled from there.”

Luke said he had met a lot of good peo­ple all over the coun­try and New Zealand through be­ing in­volved with log-chop­ping.

“You meet a good bunch of peo­ple in the log-chop­ping com­mu­nity,” he said.

“I’ve been to places I’d never thought I’d go.”

The var­i­ous types of log chop di­vi­sion are the sin­gle­hand saw­ing, dou­ble-handed saw, the stand­ing block and the un­der­hand block.

“It’s dif­fer­ent ways they used to do them in the bush and then they turned them into a com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

“I like my un­der­hand – mostly be­cause I’m bet­ter at it – and the sin­gle­hand saw be­cause there’s chal­lenge to it.”

Train­ing for com­pe­ti­tion goes

far be­yond chop­ping wood for win­ter and Luke has a train­ing set up in his back­yard.

“It comes down to a lot of stamina and hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion,” he said.

“It’s a lot more in­volved than just smash­ing a log.”

Log-chop­ping is still a pre­cise and po­ten­tially-dan­ger­ous sport.

For ex­am­ple, when com­pet­ing in an un­der­hand com­pe­ti­tion, Luke stands on a sec­tion of log, looks down and swings an axe to­wards his feet.

“I still get the odd but­ter­fly, es­pe­cially when you have a big com­pe­ti­tion,” Luke said.

“The best thing to do is zone out to ev­ery­thing and think about what you have to do; when you’re that zoned out, you don’t re­ally hear any­thing.”

Aside from a few chunks of wood fly­ing up in the direc­tion of his face cour­tesy of the com­peti­tor next to him, Luke’s big­gest in­jury was tak­ing an axe to foot.

“I needed nine stitches to my big toe,” he said.

Some of his big­gest achieve­ments in­clude trav­el­ling to New Zealand to com­pete in the Christchurch Show and win­ning his first ever cham­pi­onship at the Din­ninup Show in 2016.

“We’re al­ways look­ing for new peo­ple to join in, it’s a re­ally good sport,” Luke said. “The more, the mer­rier. “There’s only three of us here in Man­jimup that still com­pete.”

Luke en­cour­aged any­one in­ter­ested in getting in­volved in the world of log-chop­ping to ap­proach some­one at a log-chop­ping com­pe­ti­tion or demon­stra­tion at shows such as the Brunswick Show, Man­jimup Cherry Har­mony Fes­ti­val and the War­ren Agri­cul­tural Show.

“It’s well worth do­ing, it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great chal­lenge.”

It comes down to a lot of stamina and hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion... It’s a lot more in­volved than just smash­ing a log - Luke Gi­blett

Pic­ture: Tari Jef­fers

Luke Gi­blett has had a suc­cess­ful start to the com­pet­i­tive log-chop­ping sea­son with two wins and sev­eral other awards at the Perth Royal Show.

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