Axemen chip in at Brunswick woodchop
By RACHEL AFFLICK
WHEN he's competing in a woodchop, Queensland axeman Dwayne Hooper pretends he's chopping logs in his own backyard.
It's his way of ensuring the hype of the competition doesn't psyche him out.
Mr Hooper is one of the 120 competitors in this year's Brunswick Heads Woodchop, which started yesterday opposite the Brunswick Hotel.
Mr Hooper said with the thrill of the contest, not to mention the prizemoney at stake, it was easy to get into the spirit of the event.
"It's just a good atmosphere to start the year. You never know what will happen. Every block has something different about it," he said.
Woodchop committee president Rosslyn Hogan said it was exciting to see the woodchopping finally get under way.
"It's a good crowd for a Wednesday. We're keeping our fingers crossed for nice weather," she said.
"The atmosphere is really good. All the entrants like to catch up with each other here. During the year they chop in their own areas, so this is a chance for mates to meet mates."
During the four-day event 1400 plantation timber logs are expected to be chopped.
For the first time this year the leftover logs and chips will be recycled as mulch by Byron Shire Council.
Ms Hogan said the fact the competition attracted the cream of the nation's woodchoppers indicated its high prestige.
But it's also a great training ground for young axemen, with a round robin junior novice event being introduced this year for males under 18.
The woodchop continues until Saturday night, when the annual State of Origin Relay between New South Wales and Queensland is staged.
It forms the 'chips' part of the Festival of Fish and Chips, a celebration of the history of the fishing and timber industries in Brunswick Heads.