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27th of April 2012

Easter weekend saw the annual round hayling island race take place, light winds but glorious sunshine kicked the season off in style for this, and the BSA racing that followed. [more]

What to do when the wind takes a vacation..... Get Your Climb On

Climbing2.jpg

Wetsuit...check. 

Harness....check.  

Sun cream.....check. 

20mph winds....nowhere to be seen. 

 

When the wind has failed us yet again we need to turn to something that will keep us from checking the weather report every ten minutes to see if the wind has returned. Climbing is not only fun and exhilarating but can also help you build strength and balance that can help you out on the water. 

 

Here are just some of the reasons why climbing is awesome: 

 

Accessibility 

 

Anyone can climb! It doesn’t matter if you are already a grade 7a climber or struggle getting up the stairs. There really is something for everyone and every  ability.

 

You don’t need a roof rack

 

The equipment required for climbing is far less expensive and less bulky than transporting around your windsurf board, countless sails and wetsuit. In fact, you don’t need any equipment at all if you are climbing at an indoor centre as most centres will have equipment available for you to hire at minimal cost. 

 

Fitness

 

We all feel the pressure around Christmas when we have not been brave enough to venture out on to icy waters. We all feel the Christmas pies coming back for revenge and the turkey protruding over the new belt Santa brought us. Climbing tones the entire body and builds muscle strength as well as improving balance. It can be done at any time of the year, especially as there are many indoor climbing centres popping up all over the UK. 

 

Hot men

 

I am all for Women’s Rights, Girl Power, Independent Women, but let’s face it we all like a sneaky peak at the opposite sex. Climbers have a tendency to remain topless all year round. You are guaranteed to find a hot, toned, topless male at nearly any climbing centre or spot. (Ok so I can’t really guarantee this but it’s a nice thought) 

 


Hopefully I have your attention by now and have you interested in rocking up to the climbing wall. Here is a quick guide to getting started: 

 

Firstly you are going to need a friend. Climbing involves a climber and a belayer, unless you fancy a bit of free climbing (not recommended). Having your girl friends around to laugh at you, encourage you and remain totally confused with you about how to do the next move guarantees a great time. If you are a total loner and have no friends then bouldering is another option and they will have areas in climbing centres or sometimes whole centres dedicated to bouldering. Bouldering is climbing without a rope but you remain fairly close to the ground. As you don’t have a rope, you don’t need a belayer – hey presto. 

 

Secondly you are going to need the right kit. Clothes that are pretty comfortable and fitted around the waste are advisable as you can end up putting your body into some interesting moves and you don’t want to flash your butt to the poor children below. All the essential equipment can be hired at climbing centres. These include climbing shoes, harness and helmet (optional). Chalk bags are not hired out but are very useful to have, especially in the summer when your hands get a bit sweaty. Purchasing your own kit is advisable if you get the climbing bug. Although it is not expensive to rent it is nicer to wear shoes that have not been worn by many people before and you can find a pair that fits you perfectly. 

Most climbing centres have shops where you can buy kit from. Some online and high street stores  that sell climbing gear include: 


 Louise JackettLouise Jackettwww.rocksun.com

 www.outside.co.uk

 www.cotswoldoutdoor.com

 www.joe-brown.com

 www.snowandrock.com

 www.blacks.co.uk

 

Thirdly you need a place to go. There are many indoor climbing centres in the UK who run course and offer membership and hire. You only require basic belaying skills in order to be able to climb without supervision. Climbing courses are relatively cheap and will teach you all the skills you might need. Alternatively you can join a local climbing club or find a friend who already knows how to climb to teach you. Here are a few links to climbing centres in the UK: 


www.ukclimbing.com

www.indoorclimbing.com

 

If you would like to take your climbing skills outside you will need a lot more kit, or have access to kit. Most outdoor climbing in the UK is traditional climbing which requires a lot more gear than the sport climbing you will find in Europe. 


www.thebmc.co.uk

www.rockfax.com

 

There are also some climbing and mountaineering courses and groups aimed at women:


www.chicks-unleashed.co.uk

www.mountaingirl.eu

 

 

Hopefully this has inspired a few of you to give climbing a go, and it may even, like me, gain a spot in your heart next to windsurfing. 

 

Written by Louise Jackett


Shortly after putting together this article I received a great product recommendation from FLOW member Jackie Lambert, a climbing product loved by climbers and windsurfers alike - Climb On. Check it out http://www.flowindsurfing.com/node/446