Wood chop world title and record holder Bobby Dowling competes at Crookwell

International wood chop champion Bobby Dowling represented New Zealand at the 141st Crookwell Show.

Dowling, from Invercargill, started swinging an axe when he was eight years old, both his father and brother were competing at the time.

International competitor: Five-time world champion New Zealand's Bobby Dowling and John Broughton competed at the Crookwell Show.

International competitor: Five-time world champion New Zealand's Bobby Dowling and John Broughton competed at the Crookwell Show.

At 13-14 years he progressively started beating other competitors. 

Dowling travelled to Australia to compete in the wood chop competition at both Nowra and Crookwell shows with team mates from the South Island Axeman’s Team.

"We had a developing team with a few axemen only having been in the sport for a few years. They progressed well throughout the weekend and will be key assets to the South Island team on future trips," Dowling said.

Dowling, who is a five-time world champion, and world record holder has competed in England, United States and Canada, representing the South Island again in 2018 when he competed in the world championships.

Wood chop events are relays with competitors battling it out in the underhand, standing block, butchers block and double handed sawing. 

Dowling said that a 300 millimetre (mm) soft wood block could be cut in about 10 seconds. 

Axes which can cost up to $800 each are razor sharp. 

"You can shave with them but I wouldn't recommend it."

His main event which was not contested in Crookwell is the single saw.

"I was happy with my individual performances in the teams races.

"The level of competitors at the Nowra and Crookwell shows was very high, with some of the best contestants in the world on display."

He was the defending champion in the 2018 Crookwell Show Cup two-man 400mm underhand butchers block competition, and had success on Sunday, February 11 defending his title with team mate Andrew Cox.

Dowling in action at the Crookwell Show.

Dowling in action at the Crookwell Show.

Dowling also placed fourth in the finals of the 250 mm Standing Block Handicap; while New South Wales was victorious in the Trans-Tasman rivalry special event. 

In Nowra, he and fellow kiwi Nathan Heads won the double-handed sawing along with several other placings at both events. 

Dowling, who has competed at both Sydney Royal and Royal Adelaide shows, is again aiming to defend his world title at the Sydney Royal, which will be held April 12-23.

“Sydney is the Wimbledon of wood chopping,” he said.

Wood chop competition winners:

  • 300mm Underhand Handicap: Michael O’Connor, Evatt ACT
  • 275mm Standing Block Handicap: John Broughton, NZ
  • 250mm Standing Block Handicap: Michael O’Connor, Evatt ACT
  • 250mm Novice Underhand: Luke O’Connor, ACT
  • 300mm x Double Handed Sawing: Andrew Cox & John Broughton, NZ
  • George Quigg Championship Race 300mm Standing Block: David Reumer, Aylmerton
  • Crookwell Show Cup 400mm Butchers Block Underhand (2 man): Bobbie Dowling & Andrew Cox, NZ
  • 250 mm Underhand u/17: Luke O’Connor, ACT