Qualifier A kicked off at 3pm to the sound of the Highball Crew busying themselves with the final preparations: The DMM Competition Wall was being stripped by Jake to make ready for setting the final, Ben was up and down ladders installing the event lighting, and Adam and Charlotte were busy preparing to feed the five thousand (well, not quite). ‘Qually A’ definitely had a family feel with lots of junior climbers and supervising parents. In fact, a few of the supervising parents decided to enter at the last minute, clearly getting wrapped up in the occasion!
Qually B kicked off at 6:30pm and at first, it felt a lot quieter than the afternoon. But within an hour, the session had filled up – people had finished work – the tunes were turned up and the walls became busier, as to did the Adam on the Pizza Oven!
At the end of Qually B, Sian had the task of trying to decipher everyone’s handwriting (and others weird scoring code) to enter the results onto a spreadsheet which, picked out the top scorers. Thankfully, Ben stayed later to put the top 20 results on facebook so, people could sleep easy or, not so easy, knowing they had made the Final.
We can’t review the event without mentioning the ‘TopGuns’. As always happens with the NuKids Events, there were some obvious TopGun entrants who entered just take part (adding to the prize pot), climbing with their ‘NuKid’ friends, enjoy the vibe whilst aiming to maintain their mythical ‘TG’ status. However, as noted by Climber in a Flatland, sometimes aspiring to be a TopGun doesn’t always go to plan…
For those who don’t know what a TopGun is, it’s not an official climbing term. It’s simply the way we make sure The NuKids Competitions remains focused on a certain level of climbing ability; those who climb up to around V4/Font 6b. Anyone (both adults and children) who are climbing harder are encouraged to enter our main Summer and Winter Bouldering Series.
With £100 up for grabs for the winning team, we were surprised to only have 4 teams enter. The Frantic 3 + Ben got the highest score but, as ‘Ben’ TopGunned, their team score was set aside. That left ‘Jazzy Pants’ to be crowned champions, followed by Pirates of the Carabiner’ and ‘Out on a Limb’ taking third.
Following a slow and painful raffle (we’ll change this for next time!) the crowd of friends, family and keen climbers from the Highball community, looked forward to supporting the the finalists in this unique bouldering competition. Cue some tech talk…..
The final of the NuKids Masters follows a similar format to a Bouldering World Cup Semi Final. There are 20 male and 20 female finalists who each come out in pairs – 1 male with 1 female at a time, every 4 minutes. Each finalist has 4 problems (climbs) to complete. They have 4 minutes to climb each problem with 4 minutes rest in between. By using the Semi Final Format, it means, people aren’t climbing on their own and for spectators, there’s lots to look at.
In isolation (where competitors wait before the final) you could sense the mix of nervousness and excitement; this was the first time most of them had experienced anything like this and there were certainly many who didn’t think they’d make the final!
Our compare for the evening, Ben Weeks – drafted in at the last minute – did an excellent job rousing the crowd before the first finalists stepped out into the arena. Katie Fisher and Matthew Robinson both flashed the first problems (climbing them at the first attempt), sending the crowd wild. This, no doubt, both relaxed and added to the pressure of those coming next.
The final had everything; flashes, falls, frustration, elation and even the agony of dropping the final hold.
Two of the stand out moments for me were, watching from above as Katie and Tilly made the final delicate moves up the slab on F4 (the final female problem). It was heart in mouth stuff. Also, 11yr old, Keris Moore, who came 4th in the final, deserves a mention too – this was her second competition of the day having competed in a gymnastics comp in the morning!
There were some great stand out performances across all the categories but, we have to give the last word to our NuKids Masters 2016 Champions, Rosa Juarez and Matthew Robinson for flashing every problem. Well done to both of you!
The big plus about this years event was seeing every category filled. It was especially pleasing to see the increase in female entrants. We knew our monthly Ladies Nights had resulted in more Female Norwich Climbers but, it was great to see this mirrored on the entry list. Not only that, we had a full line up for the female final and no ‘no shows’; great to see psyche is high with the ladies!
Also, every category was represented in the Grand Final from the Under 12’s to the over 45’s aka The Vets. I suspect next year we may have to consider a Junior Final…
Well Done Highball Crew – Another fantastic event – You smashed it!
Ben Weeks – our lastminute.com compare – You did a great job!
Brushers and Judges – Your role in the final is massive! A BIG THANK YOU from us!
Spectators – thank’s for coming and supporting your fellow climbers.
Competitors – Thank you to everyone who entered, we hope you had FUN – that’s the main aim after all!
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