Palm Beach County to join cut­ting edge ‘new date-night thing’

The Palm Beach Post - - LOCAL - Frank Cer­abino

I know what you’re think­ing. “Frank, when is Palm Beach County go­ing to get its first in­door ax-throw­ing cen­ter?”

Soon, you Nordic cul­ture fans. Soon.

Joey Magee and his wife, Oshry, think it’s time to bring the “good or­ganic fun” of throw­ing an ax to those lo­cals who are look­ing for some­thing new to do.

“I feel so­ci­ety is scared away from all the tech­nol­ogy,” Joey said.

And there’s noth­ing high­tech about fling­ing a four­pound, sin­gle-bladed ax 12 feet to­ward a wooden tar­get.

“It’s like a new date-night thing to do,” he said.

Magee and his wife are plan­ning to open Game of Axes in two months in a shop­ping plaza near Mil­i­tary Trail and Fla­vor Pict Road, at the Boyn­ton Beach-Del­ray Beach border.

“Ur­ban ax-throw­ing,” as it is called, has be­come a trendy in­door recre­ational ac­tiv­ity in the North­east, which is just now spread­ing to South Florida. Broward County is about to have two ax-throw­ing fa­cil­i­ties: The Axe Throw­ing So­ci­ety in Pom­pano Beach and Chops + Hops in Fort Laud­erdale. And Mi­ami is get­ting one of its own too, Ex­treme Axe Throw­ing.

Magee said the un­fa­mil­iar con­cept has made it dif­fi­cult to get ap­provals from land­lords and gov­ern­ment of­fices. And un­like frozen yo­gurt, this is a new con­cept that takes some ex­plain­ing.

“It’s been chal­leng­ing,” Magee said.

But he com­pared it to bowl­ing, a place where peo­ple join leagues or come for a cou­ple of hours of toss­ing around heavy ob­jects for fun.

New­com­ers are trained by “ax mas­ters” be­fore they start fling­ing their weapons at one of the 18 tar­gets at the end of nine lanes.

“It’s not like peo­ple walk in and we hand ev­ery­body axes,” Magee said. “There are two axes on ev­ery lane. One per­son throws. Then the per­son from the other team throws. Then they walk up to­gether to get their axes.”

Throw­ing an ax is a mat­ter of tech­nique and some­thing both sexes can do equally well, he said.

“It’s not like throw­ing a base­ball,” he said. “As long as you bring your el­bow back and keep it par­al­lel to the floor, and re­lease it at the right time, the weight of that ax will pro­vide the ro­ta­tion.”

Each throw is awarded points by its prox­im­ity of the thrown ax to the cen­ter of the tar­get.

The World Axe Throw­ing League held its U.S. Open this sum­mer in Chicago. The group is try­ing to pro­mote and stan­dard­ize the ac­tiv­ity across the United States and be­yond.

“Our vi­sion is to prove that in­door ax-throw­ing isn’t just a unique ex­pe­ri­ence; it can be a com­pet­i­tive sport,” the league’s mis­sion state­ment reads in part.

Magee said he an­tic­i­pates start­ing ax-throw­ing leagues, who like bowlers, will have reg­u­lar nights of com­pet­i­tive ax-throw­ing.

He also plans to sell beer and rely on food trucks for those who get hun­gry. And he’s hop­ing to make an ap­peal be­yond young men.

“What is there out there be­sides bowl­ing?” Magee asked. “You have the CrossFit mar­ket and lots of re­cov­ery cen­ters where they want to have clean, sober fun. There are young fam­i­lies, mo­mand-dad night. Even the re­tired folks, they may want to try it out.”

I can see it now. The Kings Point Ax-Throw­ing Team. Shuf­fle­board — with an edge.

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