Wielding a chainsaw or axe can be tricky at the best of times but have you ever wondered what it would be like to do it against the clock and against other chainsaw-wielding competitors, for that matter?
Elgin Pugh doesn’t have to wonder. For him, chainsaw cutting and axe chopping is just part and parcel of being the British Stihl Timbersports champion.
In a sport that’s both fascinating to watch and a lot of fun to boot, he’s the top of the pile after claiming his fourth British Stihl Timbersports crown.
So what does it take to be a champion, what sort of training is required and does it ever go horribly wrong? loaded asked Elgan all these questions and a few more for good measure.
loaded: How did you first get into Stihl Timbersports?
Elgan: When I was a young lad I used to always go to the Royal Welsh show with my mum and dad. They had a woodchopping competition going on there and ever since then I have always wanted to have a go at it. I first got into wood chopping quite a bit later in 2010 at my local axe club. Over the years I started to get much better at it and it was in 2012 that I competed in my first StihlTimbersports championship.
loaded: Can you talk us through an average day of training?
Elgan: Each competitor will have their own way of going about training, most athletes including myself have regular jobs so we have to fit the training in at the weekends or the evenings after work. When I get home from my construction work I’ll probably go and do a bit of wood chopping with the axe. Normally I’ll chop a couple of Blocks and maybe do a little bit of the sawing. I’ll do that to warm up and then I’ll go to the gym for about an hour or two and if I still feel like it I will continue with some more axe work if I have time.
Elgan: My favourite thing is the opportunity we have to compete in different countries all over the world and getting to know all the athletes on the competition circuit. It is such a close community, and everyone gets on really well. The actual thrill of competing and getting onto that big stage is amazing too.
loaded: Who is your biggest rival in the sport and why?
Elgan: To be honest with you, I can’t think of anybody apart from myself because I am always trying to improve and beat my own personal records. Of course, there are numerous rivals in the UK, Europe and across the world that I am always competing with but there isn’t a specific person.
loaded: What sort of things can go wrong in a sport like this?
Elgan: The worst one I have had was when I was doing the Springboard. I wasn’t concentrating, and as I jumped down the axe cut me just above the knee, but it was only needed a few stitches. That’s part of the reason why we wear chain mail socks that come up to the knee. Most people you see competing in Timbersports will have years of experience and they have the right training to be safe with the axe, so everybody will be very confident, and accidents are few and far between!
loaded: Is Timbersports tougher than rugby, football, and wrestling? Where does it rank in terms of tough sports?
Elgan: Timbersports is incredibly demanding on the body, but because it is so unique it’s really hard to compare it with other sports. Rugby players definitely take a lot more impact to their bodies than us and they play for longer, we have to use our bodies really hard for short periods of time during the different disciplines. But I reckon we should be ranked pretty high up on the toughness list!
loaded: Finally, how does it feel to be a Stihl Timbersports British Champion?
Elgan: It feels amazing to have won the British Championship for the fourth year in a row, but now I really have my work cut out to get myself into the best possible shape for the World Championship in October.
For more information or to buy tickets for the World Championship, Echo Arena 19th & 20th October please visit www.echoarena.com
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.