The Big Flash 2014 wasn’t just big in name. Over the 3 days, hundreds of people flooded through the doors of Highball Climbing Centre, Norwich, and took part in one (or two or three….) of the myriad of activities and competitions taking place over the weekend, helping to raise money for Climbers Against Cancer and The GB Climbing Team.
The weekend started with Highball’s #NUKIDS on the Bloc Competition, featuring an extended circuit of 30 blocs graded from font 3 to 6b. Well over 150 adult and junior climbers worked them feverishly during the 4hr session, with many friends and family members packing the limited remaining space, most tucking into wood fired pizza. Friday finished off with a late night showing of Wideboyz II, ensuring that everyone left psyched for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday saw the arrival of the big guns, with Qualifier A kicking off at 9:30am on the DMM Comp Wall. It was great to see so many competitors coming from far and wide including Milton Keynes, Bristol, Wales, Manchester, Sheffield and London, to name a few. Qualifier B was busier still, after which the focus shifted to the car park where the Dyno Comp qualifiers took place in the afternoon sun.
Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend, with people arriving early to bag themselves a chair in the spectators pit, well before the semi-finals got under way. Due to low female entries (due in part to an unfortunate clash of dates with the WCS) all females who entered The Flash Championship made it through to the semi finals. It was great to see local climbers (some in fancy dress), cut their comp teeth on the 4 semi final Blocs alongside members of the British Junior and Senior Bouldering Teams. The men’s semi final was a tighter affair with Highball’s best battling it out with some of Britain's best.
After the Semi-Finals, the crowd flooded outside for the Dyno Comp final, won by Tommy Matthews, who despite being surrounded by relative giants, out-lept them all to take top prize. Everyone then queued with superb Britishness for the amazing Hog Roast.
Due to the huge number of people present, the climbing areas had to be vacated 1 hr before the final to allow the centre to be prepared for the evening's Grand Final. With isolation closed, the final blocs were placed on the wall by the setting team and the highball crew, with the help of volunteers, re-organised the centre ready to re-open the doors. We managed to seat almost 300 people, with the remainder standing at the back witnessing one of the the biggest nights of climbing south of Sheffield.
The final itself - what an amazing atmosphere the local climbing community created, ready for some of Britain's best climbers to take to the stage on the DMM comp wall. The final blocs looked crazy with the crowd in awe of just how the climbers were going to climb them, with one of the women's problems not even starting on the wall!
The final had it all, there were ups and downs for the climbers and crowd, from chances taken, to falling on final moves and even a little showboating. The crowd were fully behind everybody in the final, as they had been with everybody over the whole weekend. The final was a fantastic end to the whole weekend, the climbers put on a great show and left the local climbing community psyched.
We are unable to do the festival justice in words so check out the highlights in the video below.
Over the course of the weekend we raised £3241 via donations and raffles. £2431 will go to CAC and £810 will go to the GB Climbing team for the 2015 season. Thank you to everyone who donated!
In addition to the above total, we also sold another £980 of CAC T-Shirts; all of which has also gone to CAC.
“We underestimated how popular the event would be; the team and myself were blown away by the response of the local and wider climbing community.” - Mike Surtees, Director
THE FLASH CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 RESULTS
1. Katy Whittaker
2. Alexia Basch
3. Diane Merrick
4. Lucy Englert
5. Ellie May
6. Lizzie Nicholls
1. Nathan Phillips
2. Dave Barrans
3. Jon Partridge
4. Matt Cousins
5. Orrin Coley
6. Matt Varela- Christie
The Big Flash 2015
The date is not yet set, but it will either be the last weekend in September or the first weekend of October 2015. Pencil them in.