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‘Aizkolaris’, on the edge of legend

Joxemari Olasagasti
Joxemari Olasagasti

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The sport of aizkolaris or log choppers arose from the activity of chopping logs to obtain firewood. This sport consists of cutting a certain number of logs of a specific diameter with an axe. If you have the chance, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the best and most spectacular experiences of Basque sport.

The logs are usually placed on the ground, previously prepared in a horizontal position, so that the aizkolari attacks them standing on top of them. Beech wood is usually used and the logs are usually prepared without bark.

Aizkolaris en acción
Aizkolaris in action

The Golden Axe

The aizkolaris competition is not a test of speed but of endurance. Few challenges last less than thirty minutes and some last more than an hour. The establishment of the competition rules, which date back to the early 20th century, determined that the wood must be beech, as well as the measurements of the trunk, taken in circumference, which range from 36 to 54 inches, the latter being the most common measurement.
The cutting of logs is usually played in frontons, bullrings and village squares. The Urrezko Aizkora (Golden Axe in basque), a league with a final in the Gipuzkoan town of Azpeitia, is the main competition, although competitions, exhibitions and betting on the sport are often organised during popular festivals in towns and cities, especially in summer.

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