Boulder UK was the first plywood-only bouldering wall to open in the UK, a self-built wall co-owned by Ian Vickers and Gaz Parry and therefore has always been well known on the climbing scene as a place to get strong with its hardcore reputation, but fantastic setting by Ian. Unfortunately, Boulder UK decided to stop this event for a number of reasons and it was only due to the large demand from regular customers to revive the competition again, that the re-launch of this event went ahead on 23rd November.
Over 50 competitors took part in the small Lancashire location nuzzled away in the heart of Blackburn town. Competitors had to complete 20 boulder problems set by Ian Vickers and Jamie Cassidy in a self scoring format that were spread throughout the building, including some dirty slab action in the centre's new beginner room which was built earlier in the year to attract more young people.
The 6 top scoring climbers from the male and female category went on to battle it out in a world cup style final with a further 4 boulders to test their raw strength! The veterans category were left to relax with a beer or two, but despite strong efforts from the Lancashire Lads, it was Yorkshireman Lee McAvoy who stole the title with Neil Herbert 2nd and Andy Short 3rd.
The final was well attended with the majority of the competitors staying on to watch the final and enjoy the social atmosphere that the Plywood Masters is famous for. As the finalists viewed the problems, Vickers’ setting brought back memories for some of the finalists with his old school style of setting, he said “Bouldering comps have changed, they tend to set in a really gymnastic style which is good for the crowd, but I wanted to create some good old fashioned basic HARD blocs which for me is what the Plywood Masters is all about”.
The blocs tested the finalists, but the two stand-out climbers were the eldest and strongest, Diane Merrick and Dave Barrans who both topped 3 of the 4 problems and were crowned the Plywood Masters 2014. 2nd Place went to James Garden and Jemma Powell and 3rd Place Orrin Coley and Jen Wood. The competitors were awarded cash prizes provided by Boulder UK and other prizes were provided by the main sponsors of the event Beyond Hope, DMM, Moon, Beta Climbing, 5.10 and Holdz. Boulder UK would like to thank all the sponsors who provided excellent prizes for both the senior and junior events and without you this event wouldn’t have made a comeback. Thank you to all those who took part and we hope to see you again next year.
Full Results from the senior and junior events can be found here.