One-handed inspiration chops up competition

Competitive woodchopping is a tough sport, relying on strength, accuracy and style.  Various styles were on show at this year’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch, but none quite like Nick Fredriksen. 

The 31-year-old Australian is believed to be the world’s only one-armed competitive axeman.  “It’s taken me a long time to get to the level I’m at now; when I was growing up I could never win an event,” he said.  Fredriksen travelled to New Zealand to compete in A&P Shows in Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch. 

When he was 8 years old, he lost his arm in a hay-bailer accident on the family farm.  “It was on a family property at home, and I got caught by the PTO (power take off) shaft on a hay bailer.  It caught the end of my shirt and pulled me in.” 

He remained conscious throughout the ordeal, unaware he had lost his arm until he heard his father on the phone to the ambulance officer.  “When your body goes through that much trauma, you go into shock and don’t feel a thing.” 

Less than two years later, Fredriksen was competing in the boys’ woodchopping competition as a one-armed 10-year-old, fulfilling an inevitable destiny.  “My father was a woodchopper, so he always dragged us around the shows.” 

From the Southland Times, 14 November, 2016 (abridged).