Australia's Men, Women and Rookie Champions Crowned at the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Championships!


LAURENCE O'Toole from Doncaster, Victoria was crowned Australia's men's champion on Sunday at the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Championships on the Gold Coast.

Laurence needed the last heat of the day to pull away from fellow Victorian Brayden Meyer in The Original Extreme Sport, as the pair were tied on 32 points heading into the hotsaw discipline, but seven points was enough for O'Toole to finish on top of the table and take the national title for the first time after several years of falling just short.

Laurence's win sees him win the top prize of $20,000 and qualify for the Australian Chopperoos team, who will be looking to claim their fifth Team World Championship at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championships in Liverpool, England next month [19-20 October]. Laurence will compete individually and in the team competition against 23 countries.

"It's an incredible feeling to win after so many years of going so close," O'Toole said.

"I have put so much effort into trying to win this event and for it to finally happen is unbelievable, you think about this moment a lot and after the start today, I wasn't that confident but I was able to bounce back and do enough to come out on top.

"It's a big thing to go to the World Championships and represent Australia and I want to go there and do my country proud and hopefully win another championship."

Joining him on the Chopperoos team will be Brad de Losa in single buck (NSW), Brayden Meyer in underhand chop (VIC), Glen Gillam in standing block (VIC) and Jamie Head in stocksaw (QLD).

STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Rookie Champion Josh Bates also sealed his spot in the Chopperoos team, after beating out 7 of Australia's best rookie athletes to claim the under-25 title.

The 20-year-old, who finished on 25 points, edged out fellow Tasmanian Daniel Beams (24 points) by just one point to claim the title but the biggest storyline was Queenslander and competition favourite Jack Argent being disqualified for an early start in the stocksaw discipline which all but ended his championship and podium hopes.

Bakes was impressive across all four disciplines, including a personal best time of 18.83 seconds in the standing block, which booked his ticket to England next month to be part of the Australian team at the World Championships.

He also finished with a time of 16.18 seconds in the stocksaw, 18.36 seconds in the single buck and 23.01 seconds in the underhand chop. It was the single buck where the competition was decided with Beams sawing towards a quick time in the heat against the eventual champion, but was held up on the last couple of strokes allowing Bakes to record the quickest time and ultimately win the championship.

"It's obviously a great feeling to win, I haven't been far off in the past and I put in a fair bit of work over the past year, especially into the stocksaw and standing block and it's great to see that pay off," Bakes said.

"You get pretty nervous waiting for results in the last heat to see how it all finished up but I was lucky enough to finish on top."

Tamworth's Debbie Clissold was named the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Women's Champion, achieving the ultimate redemption after bouncing back after not qualifying for last year's competition.

The 41-year-old was the most consistent woman on the day, scoring nine points in the stocksaw, eight points in the single buck discipline and six points in the underhand chop to finish on 23 points, just ahead of Queenslander Renee Retschlag (21 points) and six ahead of Maddison Kirkley (17 points), who completed the podium.

Clissold said she could not have been happier after a reality check last year forced her to refocus and lift her work ethic.

"It's a really good feeling after all the work I've put in and training I've done to prepare for this. I didn't do the work before last year's event and it showed so I really wanted to prepare as best I could and see what happens," she said.

"I wanted to just be consistent across all three disciplines and I was lucky enough to be able to do that and that allowed me to be in the race and finish on top.

"It was probably after the single buck when I realised I was a real shot and then I was able to grab some handy points by recording a time in the underhand chop when there were a few disqualifications and that ended up being enough."

More than 14,000 spectators turned out over the two day event, proudly supported by the City of Gold Coast,  to watch 34 athletes, including men, women and rookies (under 25), fight tooth and nail with razor-sharp axes and high-powered chainsaws in the bid to be crowned Australia's Champion.

"The event was a huge success here on the Gold Coast, we had a great atmosphere with great athletes and exceptional competition across the weekend," Gooch said.

"In every competition, including the women's and rookie's championships, we saw some impressive performances which showed the sport is really on the rise.

"We had more than 10,000 spectators across the weekend, and the livestreams reached over 79,000 people online, which is a great result and we couldn't have held it in a better location than here on the Gold Coast."

Official partners of the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Championships include Eleven Workwear, Kennards Hire, 7Mate, Sea FM and QMS. The event is supporting Movember, with a number of fundraising activities on-site.

For more information, visit


Laurence O'Toole (VIC) – 39 points
Brayden Meyer (VIC) – 36 points
Brad De Losa (NSW) – 33 points
Glen Gillam (VIC) – 33 points
Kody Steers (TAS) – 22 points
Matt Gurr (TAS) – 19 points
Mitchell Argent (QLD) – 16 points
Jamie Head (QLD) – 15 points


Debbie Clissold (NSW) – 23 points
Renee Retschlag (QLD) – 21 points
Maddison Kirkley (VIC) – 17 points
Amanda Beams (TAS) – 16 points
Jillian Stratton (QLD) – 15 points
Katrina Head (QLD) - 14 points
Jodie Beutel (QLD) – 13 points
Kris Brown (VIC) – 12 points
Suzie Coffey (VIC) – 8 points
Adele Deverell (VIC) – 8 points


Josh Bakes (TAS) – 25 points
Daniel Beams (TAS) – 24 points
David Reumer (NSW) – 23 points
Jack Argent (QLD) – 18 points
Gerald Youles (QLD) – 16 points
Zack Beams (TAS) – 14 points
Kyle Meyer (VIC) – 12 points
James Geiger (QLD) – 9 points

Name Format Date / Location
Australian Champions Trophy 4 Discipline Endurance Knockout 20/4/18 – Sydney EQ, NSW
Men’s Australian Championship 6 Disciplines 15-16/09/18 – Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast
Women’s Australian Championship 3 Disciplines 16/09/18 – Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast
Rookie’s Australian Championship 4 Disciplines 16/09/18 – Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast


Name Format Date / Location
World Champions Trophy 4 Discipline Endurance Knockout 27/5/18 - Marseille, France
Rookie World Championship 4 Disciplines 27/5/18 - Marseille, France
Team World Championship 4 Discipline Relay 20/10/18 – Liverpool, UK
Men’s World Championship 6 Disciplines 21/10/18 – Liverpool, UK


Hot Saw

For this discipline, the ultimate power saws are called into action. Hot saws are custom chainsaws powered by ‘full race spec' motorbike or jet ski engines. Athletes have a space of only 15 centimetres to cut 3 complete discs from a 46 cm log. Jumping the gun or cutting over the line will result in disqualification. Strength and timing are needed to handle these awesome machines. Saws range in value from $10,000 - $20,000

Single Buck

The single buck is a massive 2 metre long one-man saw. With this, the athletes cut off a complete disc from a 46cm log. The perfect mix of rhythm and strength are key to success. All competition Single buck saws are hand filled, and cost in the region of $2000-$4000 depending on the filler. Saws will last approximately 10 competitive runs before they will need to be re-sharpened.

Stock Saw

In the stock saw, athletes use the new MS 661 C-M Magnum Chainsaw available at any STIHL store. Athletes must cut 2 discs, called cookies, from a 40cm diameter log, within a 10cm mark. Top competitors can cut one downward and one upward cut with the powerful STIHL MS 661 C-M Magnum chainsaw in less than 7 seconds.

Standing Block Chop

For the standing block, the felling of a tree with an axe is simulated. A vertical log with a diameter of 30 centimetres has to be cut through from both sides. This discipline calls for both power and precision. Top athletes will aim for 8-10 hits in the front and then 8 or less in the back in a time of 12-20 seconds

Underhand Chop

In the past, the underhand chop technique was used to cut a felled tree down to size. Standing on a horizontal log, the athletes cut with an axe through a 32 centimetres of wood. The log has to be worked from both sides. Nerves of steel are needed as the axe impacts just centimetres from the athletes' feet. Top athletes will aim for 10-12 hits in the front and then 10 or less in the back in a time of 12-20 seconds

Springboard Chop

The springboard imitates an old lumberjack technique to overcome hard root wood. The athletes cut two pockets in a vertical log 2.7m high. With the help of the springboard they climb to the top and cut through a 27cm diameter log from both sides. Strength, speed and agility are needed for a win. Top athletes will aim to cut their pockets in 4-6 hits and then cut the log off with 10-12 hits in the front and then 4 or less in the back in a total time of 40-60 seconds.

Athletes will bring anywhere between 4-8 axes to any competition, each varying in weight, head size and with different blade angles. Each axe costs between $500 - $1000.


Poplar will be used in the 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Series across all disciplines except the Single Buck, which will use hoop pine, as this is less abrasive on the saws.

This is similar wood to that used in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® US and European Series. It is softer than the hard wood that is traditionally chopped in Australia, but doesn’t make it easier as the axes tend to stick a little more meaning competitors have to pull the axes out of the cut as well as hitting it in.
All the competition wood has been sourced from dedicated re-growth forests, following strict guidelines to ensure it is consistent at each round.

After each round, the wood is offered as a donation to local charities who can bundle it up and sell for firewood.