Hugh Carroll, VP of Marketing on Axe Throwing

Hi, my name is Hugh Carroll and I’m the VP of Marketing with Asavie, based here in Dublin. I’m from Dublin originally however I’ve lived in many different locations.

When I was growing up my father travelled with work quite a bit around Ireland and around the world as well. If I had to think of one of the standout locations I’ve lived, it would be a remote village in the Sarawat mountains of Saudi Arabia called Al-Baha.

What inspired me to work in the role I’m in today in Asavie was the opportunity it presented to me. In my previous role I was part of the executive founding team of a startup software company and we were the traditional 10 year ‘overnight success‘ (success is never as easy as it looks!) so for me, working with Asavie was an opportunity to go back to my roots, an Irish company growing rapidly on a global stage, but still with the DNA and energy of a startup.

Outside of work right now I’m doing something that is totally new to me; the pastime of axe-throwing! I do it on Thursday nights in the hills of Annamoe, County Wicklow with a bunch of mad guys and girls.

This interest started back in the middle of winter last year in 2016 when one of the guys (who trained under Ray Mears and works with Bear Grylls now) said he was thinking of doing some axe-throwing!

We were dubious, but he demonstrated the fine art of double-bit axe throwing, essentially it’s like throwing a sledge-hammer with razor blade edges at a 2-inch target, 22 feet away. The aim is to hit the 2-inch bulls eye as many times as possible.

Interestingly enough, since our early forays last winter, we have now formed a club – Wicklow Axe Throwers and we are attracting interest on social media from other like-minded souls around the country who want to establish their own clubs.

Recently, four of our members were over in Germany competing at the inaugural World Championships. The guys came 14th and 17th out of all the nations represented in Germany, which needless to say is a really good result and one we want to build on.

One of our female team members scored a bull on a swinging pendulum target and the video of her has gone viral with millions of views which has dramatically raised the profile of axe-throwing not only in Ireland, but globally!

It’s got to the point where we were invited to represent Ireland at the Nordic Axe Throwing Championships in Sweden this August. The team went over and did the country proud, with some of our girls managing to get a bronze medal! I guess we are the Jamaican bob sleigh team of axe throwing!

The Nordic Axe Throwing Championships were on over 3 days and I brought my family up to the Arctic Circle when we traveled over. My family loved the outdoor experience of canoeing in lakes, spotting reindeer and moose and enjoying the world’s best cinnamon rolls.

My kids are very happy with the axe throwing – they’re fully endorsing the madness. On Father’s day they told me they were proud that I threw axes, and they’ve also been to throw axes. Who would have thought it, axe throwing is a sport for all the family!

It’s an eclectic crew in Axe Throwing Ireland. There’s only one prerequisite though for axe throwing – a strong pair of arms! A lot of folks are working in front of a screen for 8 to 12 hours a day, so for me part of the appeal of axe throwing was the chance to be outdoors.

If I was trying to identify a common link between us all, it’s probably that we enjoy the outdoors and a sense of community. Whilst it’s not quite a team sport as it is an individual pursuit there is still that feeling of team bonding. I also think there’s the appeal of the craft element.

It goes back to something inherent about making and doing and having control over creating your own thing, it isn’t something you can download. You see this with the growth in the food and craft beer industry in Ireland. This generation has really embraced the sense of doing and creating for themselves. I think that’s why so many different folks are attracted to it.

Check out Axe Throwing Ireland on Instagram to see more about the Axe Throwing Wicklow group…

Images for this article courtesy of Tom Hobbs Photography

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