We are incredibly excited to be getting heavily involved in the UK's first deep water solo competion being heldat thePiazza Terracina in the heart of Exeter. The South West seems a fitting place as it's undoubtedly the spiritual home of deep water soloing in the UK, so it is great to see Exeter as the first city to host a competition of this kind. Event organisers, the Quay Climbing Center are not only the South West's biggest climbing wall, but are the only wall with an almost perfect outdoor arena to host an event of this kind, just outside their front door. Director Paul Russell “We are in a unique position at the Quay of being the only indoor climbing wall in the UK that is situated next to a body of water suitable for this type of outdoor climbing event – the canal basin provides the perfect water space and the large open area of the Piazza Terracina offers a great arena for spectators to view the competition up close.” With entries selling out fast this year, things are looking good for the first competition of this kind here in the UK.
So what's the principle?
If you are familiar with the general principle of bouldering, climbing without ropes on small cliffs with the aid of a safety mat. Deep Water Soloing is a natural extension where you can climb unhindered above water, the only real difference is that you climb higher and the chances are you will get wet.
At seven meters high and 13 meters wide there will be three climbers on the wall at any one time, which will be great for spectators where they should be guaranteed to see air time. Although there have been higher competition walls, this format allows three climbers to compete side by side to make it much more exciting for the spectators. Grades will rangefrom V1 to V14, which will test even the best climbers in the competition. Sat in Exeter's canal basin in the heart of the city it should provide a great spectacle.
Saturday sees the open rounds where climbers from around the UK will step on the wall and face the prospect of climbing 3 sections with a short rest in between. The competition looks like favouring the bold climber able to work out sequences on the fly. There will not be any stepping back from the wall trying to work things out, you will traverse out on to the wall and climb.
The best of the open competition will go through to the finals on Sunday, where they will join the sponsored and invited climbers. Already the field looks strong with many of the GB team set to compete.
So what will Alpkit be doing?
We will not be sitting back, but getting right into the heart of the event and hosting the registration, hospitality and isolation area for the competitors. Due the nature of the event we will be aiming to make this quite special, more akin to the chilled zone in a festival than a back room in your climbing wall. Chilled out vibes, free tea and coffee and comfy boulder mat sofas will all be there to make the time hidden from the excitement of the eventas relaxing as possible
We will also be fielding a spirited and (part) youthful strong team all worryingly led by our own Ben Meakin, whos credentials as a team manager will be under heavy scrutiny. We know he can make stuff in our factory, but can he lead the team to success?
Ben Meakin - Factory superstar, used to making our high quality UK bouldering mats and testing them regularly.
Gracie Martin - Secretly loves Alpkit bouldermats, temporarily on loan from Wild Country.
John Nightingale - Carpenter with the grip of a greek god.
Paul Philips - UKC tech Guru - will just fix the published results, if he doesn't climb well.
Billy Rydal - Young, fearless, he may just pull it out the bag.
Some Key Facts
Cost - Free for spectators
Location - Piazza Terracina, Exeter,EX2 8GT
Competition Times - 9.30am - 19.30pm (subject to event timings)
Registration opens at 8.00am
Contact - The Quay Climbing Centre
Deep Water Solo Exeter Facebook page.