Climbing Wall Meets Swimming Poolby Mick Ryan Feb/2007
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click to enlarge Ever fancied going deep water soloing but are scared of monsters from the deep, cold water and strong currents? Well soon you may be able to nip down to your local sport centre, don your swimming cozzy and climb to your heart's content ( normal swimming pool rules apply: no heavy petting, no bombing, no horseplay etc)
Pyramide USA have developed a climbing wall panel system that you can attach to the edge of a swimming pool (Pyramide in France were one of the first companies to develop the bolt on hold and panel system in the 1980's that so revolutionised climbing).
The AquaClimb panel system (website with videos) features high quality fiberglass panels with a textured non-slip surface with inset and protruding holds. The panels can be interchanged and rotated to offer variety and different levels of difficulty (see photo). Apparantly it is big in the USA and what is big over there usually finds its way to the UK. Dave Gorsline, an "aquatic specialist" for the City of Carlsbad in California had one installed at a public pool and said, " “Attendance and revenues have increased 23% in the first three months since we installed the AquaClimb last summer. For Carlsbad, the AquaClimb has transformed a previously underutilized area of water into a revenue generator.”
But enough of the business speak, it sounds fun. Maybe it is time your local climbing wall installed a pool. Mention it next time you are down the wall or if you have your own private swimming pool you can have your own deep water soloing venue in your own home.
What about an indoor deep water soloing competition? It's already in the works in the UK. We spoke to Mike Weeks, the impresario behind the UK's annual deep water soloing festival (it's on again this year at Pembroke) and producer of the deep water soloing DVD, Depth Charge (website).
"We're working with the Millenium stadium in Cardiff. We're planning a weekend extreme sports festival in 08. After five years of false starts I think we may have finally found a way of putting on the first ever indoor DWS fest. Its going to be a very expensive event to organize but should ultimately be awesome!"
In other deep water soloing news, Mike Robertson, one of the world's most active and well-travelled deep water soloists is putting the finishing touches to his guidebook, Deep Water (to be published by Rockfax in May 2007 read more about Deep Water here). This guidebook and reference source, illustrated by Mike's excellent photography, covers deep water soloing in the UK, all round mainland Europe (Portugal, Costa Blanca, Mallorca, Sardinia) and more exotic locations in Asia and even down under in Australia.