SPLINTERS flew and axes flung in an action-packed, fast-paced woodchop competition at Wollombi.
Talk about a chip off the old block, experienced axeman Noel Marsh, who hasn't missed a year, was joined by his sons Blake and Cameron at the event.
"I've been doing it for nearly 30 years, I started off bull riding and then I got married and thought I'd get into something a bit less dangerous," Noel said.
"Now the whole family's into it, my daughters, daughter-in-law's doing it, hopefully the grandkids follow and do it as well."
In timber by trade, Mr Marsh teaches others how to chop at his wood yard, having been around the timber industry all his life.
"We've always had axes in our hands," he said.
"The kids got into it because dad's done it, they just wanted to be like dad."
For as long as Blake Marsh can remember he's had an axe in his hand and since about three years old it hasn't left him.
"You do a lot of travelling with the sport and meet a lot of people," he said.
"I try and train about two or three times a week but other than that I cut fence posts for a job and use a chainsaw all day so that's pretty much the training I do.
"It mostly comes down to hand-eye coordination and how you can present the axe to the wood, you can be the biggest guy in the ring and not hit a log to save yourself."
It's not all about strength, accuracy with an axe plays a major part in a woodchopper's success with competitors ranging in age from 10 to 70.
Some people bring three axe boxes to an event with nine in each box, each used for a different type of wood.
About 150 blocks of wood were brought in for the competition.
And, it's not just men who've got an axe to grind, the Southern Highlands' Maddie Kirley was ready to put her competitors on the chopping block.
She's been in the sport for the last 20 years, having learned from her grandfather, father, uncles and cousins.
"I came at my dad pretty hard about having a go and he thought if he gave me a go I wouldn't like it, but I ended up loving it and stuck at it," she said.
"It was an emerging sport for women when I first started but it's getting more and more inclusive.
"Everyone here is like family, you have a talk with someone you haven't seen in six months but it's like you saw them yesterday - it's one big family, everyone's here to help each other and you have a good time, get to cut some logs and might get a bit of prize money at the end of it as well."
The event saw close to 30 competitors and drew crowds from all over to Wollombi Tavern on Saturday.
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