For some, the word ‘competition’ is enough to make the stomach start to turn and the heart beat ever so slightly faster. Personally, feeling nervous is an understatement when it comes to performing at your peak in front of a crowd. But as a hopeful competitor at a national level in an up and coming sport, such is life. Nerves, injuries and training setbacks are all part and parcel of making your way to the Australian Bouldering National Titles.
2015 saw athletes from all over the country making the pilgrimage to Ballarat to compete for the title, with some competitors coming from as far afield as Perth. While the Open A field appeared smaller than last year’s turnout, the quality was second to none. A small team of setters and volunteers worked tirelessly to build and set climbs on the two World Cup-style pillars at the center of the action (with all setting occurring in the space of two days!).
An endless stream of volunteers involving marshals, judges and competitors themselves each had a hand in ensuring the event ran smoothly while Radest Productions filmed the proceedings. As a climber, competing is always nerve-wracking, but there is something to be said for the friendliness and sense of community in climbers, no matter where you’re from. National competitions such as this tend to be a meeting place for Australia’s most passionate and talented climbers, but no matter your ability level or involvement with the sport, the camaraderie is the most outstanding aspect.
Sure, you might be stuck in isolation with 50 other hopefuls waiting to try your luck on the wall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up and have a laugh. These events also provide a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and network for future meet-ups. This year the largest ever South Australian contingent of boulderers travelled to Ballarat for Nationals and while many of us hope to perform better next time round, events such as these provide us with the tools to do so - to train harder, catch up with old friends and meet new ones and to have fun.
Ballarat has indicated it hopes to host the 2016 National Bouldering Titles once again, while many other Australian cities are also applying for the opportunity. If next year’s turnout is anything like this year’s, then the event is bound to be a huge success.
Train hard guys, and hopefully we can make the 2016 SA state team even bigger. Bring on next year!
By Angela Markow