Aizkolaritza

Aizkolaritza (in Basque “aizkolari” is a wood-chopper) is the name for competition of wood-choppers held by the Basque people. Such competitions have been organized since the 19th century. Aizkolaritza is one of “herri kirol” or folk sports.

Aizkolaritza
Aizkolaritza

The most famous aizkolaritza competitions are the Urrezko Aizkora or “Golden Axe” and the championships of the Basque country known as the Euskal Herriko Txapelketa. People compete as individuals or in teams. Both men and women participate at the Aizkolaritza competitions.

Wood is traditionally brought from the province of Navarre (in Basque Nafarroa). Pieces of trunks used in competitions are usually of beech. They should not contain visible knots. They are divided according to circumference. The organizers use the traditional Basque measure called ontza. One ontza equals 0.0254 metres.

While competing the competitor (“aizkolari”) stands on a piece of wood he is chopping. He or she uses an axe with rounded blade. The axe weighs between 2.4 and 2.8 kilograms. The aizkolari has two assistants – botilero and prestatzaile. The botilero takes care of towel and axes. The prestatzaile check if the wood has been properly cut in two parts. He also gives instructions to make the chopping as fast and efficient as possible.