NuKids Masters 2017 – Comp Report

April 13, 2017 3:15 pm

NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre NorwichOur Nukids Competition Series is a social competition aimed at climbers (of any age) who climb up to 6b/V4. It’s popular with our regular social climbers as well as being ideal for ‘nu-bies’, young and old, to get involved in our most popular competition. It gives everyone a chance with some really accessible route setting and it’s always great to see beginners getting involved in their first ever comp, whilst our regulars attempt the perfect score of 300, but Topgun in the process!

The ‘Top Gun’ score is in place to stop the absolute beasts getting into the final over those who the competition is actually aimed at. After setting and testing all the qualifier problems, the route setters draw a fictionary line which divides the Top Guns (those who are deemed to be able to climb higher than 6b*) from the target audience of the competition.

* They have the Summer/Winter Bouldering Leagues to focus on!

This was our third annual NuKids Masters, the showcase event for the NuKids series, giving Nukids competitors the chance to qualify for a Grand Final which would take place on the Huge DMM Comp Wall.


The qualifiers took place on Friday across two qualifying sessions to allow for a high number of entrants. The afternoon session attracted just over 60 climbers and had a summery family vibe. Then came the evening session, which was fully booked and pumping!

The ‘Top Gun’ Score for this years Qualifiers was 267. One man who narrowly missed out on being dubbed a Top Gun was our very own Mike Surtees with a score of 264. All the crew were certainly looking forward to watching his performance in the final!

Once all the scores were collated and the TopGun score applied, we were left with the top 20 male and female competitors, who were invited through to the final.

Tilly Reed

The night was amazing and ran really well. Level of difficulty was very well spread out and makes it easier for people to top.



Our regular junior climber, Tilly Reed said, ‘the night was amazing and ran really well…the level of difficulty was very well spread out’. Jonathan Goodchild and Selina Leeks said the Nukids qualifiers evening was ‘a brilliant event, really well run, with a great atmosphere. Staff and everyone is friendly, encouraging and supportive!’

Oscar Preston

Level of difficulty was challenging for kids my age and pushed you to do better. Everyone got involved including staff and helped. I loved the night.



NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre NorwichAfter a good long rest we welcomed back the Nukids Masters 2017 finalists to Highball for 3pm when isolation would open, with the mandatory chilled water and Flapjack ready for them to devour to keep the energy levels up for the 4 blocs they would all now have to try to complete.

Prior to this the staff had been flat out moving the centre around to accommodate the many spectators, along with sorting out timers and isolation. At one point sat out in the sun crossing off the check list of jobs and adding another 20 to it, we did wonder if anyone was going to turn up given the 22 degree glorious April sunshine we were having. But as ever our amazing climbing community turned up in force to take part and to cheer on their fellow climbers.


Jonathan Goodchild and Selina Leeks

Really is a brilliant event, really well run, great atmosphere and everyone is friendly. All the staff are always approachable, friendly and supportive. Fantastic event!


NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre NorwichAt 4pm isolation closed, the running order was confirmed with only a couple on minor issues. Guy prepped the judges and brushers who had kindly volunteered themselves for the roles while Thomas gave a briefing to the competitors covering correct starts, bonuses, how to finish the problem, and timings, which would be the 4 min plus rule. Finally it was time, the crowd had grown, the problems had been unveiled and we had badgered Ben Weeks into comparing the final.

The scene was set, the spot lights were on, the crowd cheered along the competitors as they made their way through the daunting problems set for them by Rob Napier and Jack Gould.

Setting a competition final presents a set of problems not many people have to concern themselves with: The blocs have to be hard enough to be a challenge, interesting to watch people attempt, topable, and in the case of a NuKids masters set, accessible to quite a wide range of abilities. Despite all the best planning in the world, it is not until the competitors start climbing that the blocs are seen to be too easy, too hard or overcooked (cue flashback to the bouldering league final!)


Joe Martin

Great fun. My first comp in bouldering and climbing. Routes suit all abilities and really pushes you to do your best. Really fun and enjoyable. Staff get involved and come round to encourage you.


Luckily, the first batch of competitors made good progress on the problems from the get go, The finalists came out in ascending order of their qualifying scores, with a couple of exceptions. Being one of the top scorers, this gave Mike lots of time to psyche himself up in isolation. James Kimber and Lydia Benjamin were the first ones out and they started strong with great determination and a positive attitude.

NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre Norwich

One of the great things about Nukids is the range of competitors it attracts, and this years final was no different. The womens group was pretty much 50/50 juniors and adults which makes great viewing for the audience, observing the different ways a problem can be approached depending on the climber. The men demonstrated strength and determination, but it was clear early on in the afternoon that some problems were proving trickier than others.

After much anticipation, and with his reputation on the line, Mike emerged to give the blocs his best shot. We all knew he had to do well, but not too well(!) and he put on a good show, resulting in a respectable 7th position. Ben Pestell stood out among the finalists and was a deserving winner, with Alex Robertson and Sam Yeomans coming 2nd and 3rd respectively. Lucy Garlick stole first place for the women, followed by Hannah Whaley and Lily Bird.


Amanda Reed

Atmosphere is amazing! Relevant to school holidays as it can really be a family event. Very well planned to kids as there is an earlier session available. 

Prizes were generously donated by Beta Climbing Designs and Tenaya, including a bouldering pad, down jackets, bouldering shoes and much more. The overall vibe was very positive, the competitiveness was friendly and the audience gave amazing support and encouragement. It was a fantastic day and fun was had by all! See you next year!


NuKids Masters 2017

NuKids Masters 2017



1. Ben Pestell

2. Alex Robertson

3. Sam Yeomans

4. Craig Smith

5. Antony Pearce

6. David Phillips


1. Lucy Garlick

2. Hannah Whaley

3. Lily Bird

4. Alissa Mardle

5. Natalie Garlick

6. Selina Leeks

NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre Norwich

NuKids Masters 2017 - Highball Climbing Centre Norwich

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