UKC

Boulder UK Plywood Masters 2024 Comp Report

© Sam Pratt

Last weekend, Boulder UK hosted their signature competition, the Plywood Masters. The event took place over two days, with qualifiers on the Saturday followed by a World Cup-format Semi-Finals and Finals showpiece on the Sunday. 

IFSC route-setter Yann Genoux headed-up a strong setting team, accompanied by Max Ayrton, Dave Barrans, James Garden, Jamie Swales, and Neil Mawson. 


Saturday 2nd March

Qualifiers took place across two sessions on Saturday 2nd March, with 170 athletes competing on 30 boulders.   

There was a strong presence from the Senior and Junior GB team, including reigning Plywood Masters champs Erin McNeice and Aiden Dunne, as well as international athletes Dylan Soin and our first Olympian, Yufei Pan.  

Plenty of Boulder UK regulars took part in the event, including a mixture of Vets (aged 45+) and Super Vets (aged 60+) as well as many strong outdoor climbers. 

Plywood Masters Qualifiers, 2024  © Sam Pratt
Plywood Masters Qualifiers, 2024
© Sam Pratt
Plywood Masters Qualifiers, 2024  © Sam Pratt
Plywood Masters Qualifiers, 2024
© Sam Pratt

Hundreds of raffle tickets were sold for Climbers Against Cancer, 3rd Rock were on-hand selling clothes at heavily discounted prices, and La Sportiva were onsite showcasing their upcoming shoes. 

The climbers were fuelled by free Tenzing and extreme psyche created by host George Lonsdale. 

Matt Groom was on-site filming for Epic TV, following 17-year old Australian, Dylan Soin, in the qualification round. If you've never taken part in Plywood Masters, we encourage you to watch this when it's out and to register next year!   

No doubt spurred on by the filming, despite the strong field, Dylan qualified in first for semis and was the only competitor to flash every problem. Emma Edwards also had a very impressive round qualifying in first for the women. 

Dylan Soin on his way to flashing all the qualifying boulders  © Sam Pratt
Dylan Soin on his way to flashing all the qualifying boulders
© Sam Pratt

Boulder UK regular and local strong man Josh Wyke put in a great performance to qualify in 19th place, regular external Boulder UK setter Alice Thompson qualified in 13th, and Boulder UK athlete and outdoor wad Rebecca Stephens qualified in 16th. 

Women's Semi-Finalists 

1. Emma Edwards 

2. Holly Toothill 

3. Erin McNeice 

4. Louise Flockhart 

5. Eugenie Lee 

6. Fae MacDougall 

7. Zoe Peetermans 

8. Lilly Kinnersley 

9. Connie Bridgens 

10. Jen Wood 

11. Izzy Bridgens 

12. Edie Carr 

13. Alice Thompson 

14. Jo Neame 

15. Hanna Kerr 

16. Rebecca Stephens 

17. Katherine MacDougall 

18. Ruth Hardy 

19. Abigail Wilkinson 

Men's semi-finalists

​​​​1. Dylan Soin 

2. Sam Butterworth 

2. Dayan Akhtar 

4. Yufei Pan 

5. Sam Hammond 

6. Rhys Conlon 

7. Jamie Jenkins 

8. Tom Healy 

9. Finn Jackson 

10. Aiden Dunne 

11. Rory Cummings 

12. Joe Honeyfield 

13. Philip Murphy 

14. Luca Martins 

15. Saul Calvert 

16. Cole Gosney 

17. Christy Forwood 

18. Luke Murphy 

19. Josh Wyke 

20. Felix Watson-Evans 

20. Oliver Knox-Renshaw 

20. Max Dalton 


Sunday 3rd March 

The semi-finals and finals took place on the Sunday, on Boulder UK's famous competition wall built by The Climbing Wall Company. 

The athletes, Boulder UK team, and others went above and beyond to put on two spectacular shows, both at Boulder UK and then also online, via a livestream expertly produced by Technative.   

Livestream commentary was provided by IFSC commentator Matt Groom and former GB climber Leah Crane; who expertly guided viewers at home through the semi-finals and finals using their combined knowledge and experience, as well as through Iain Brown's 3D renders, which brought the blocs to life.

Matt Groom and Leah Crane on commentary  © Sam Pratt
Matt Groom and Leah Crane on commentary
© Sam Pratt
Matt Groom and Leah Crane on commentary duty

The event was streamed on YouTube across three channels - Boulder UK, TNL Live, and Epic TV, with over 5,500 viewers tuning in to watch the semi-finals live. 

At the centre, regular Plywood Masters host, George Lonsdale, got the athletes and the crowd fired-up!  

Lighting and sound at the venue was provided by Arran Paul, with strong beats on the decks from resident DJ James Mullen.  

If you want to re-visit the magic of the weekend or weren't able to watch the semi-final and/or final in person or online, don't miss out and tune into them now, via the Boulder UK YouTube channel (links at the bottom of the page). 

Semi-finals 

Semi-finals kicked off at 11:00 with 22 men and 19 women competing on 4 boulders, which the route-setters had ensured would fully test their strength, skills, flexibility and mental grit, up until the very last move!  

Young guns Fae MacDougall and Rhys Conlon put on a superb performance in their first Plywood Masters, qualifying for finals.

Yufei Pan on his way to qualifying for finals  © Sam Pratt
Yufei Pan on his way to qualifying for finals
© Sam Pratt
Jen Woods en route to qualifying in third place  © Sam Pratt
Jen Woods en route to qualifying in third place
© Sam Pratt

Unfortunately, last year's women's champion, Erin McNeice had to pull out of the event due to a pre-existing injury, so she didn't get chance to defend her title. 

Aiden Dunne, the previous year's Plywood Masters champion qualified in first place, along with Louise Flockhart.  

Qualifying for the final were:

Women 

1. Louise Flockhart 

2. Fae MacDougall 

3. Jen Wood 

4. Holly Toothill 

5. Emma Edwards 

6. Jo Neame 

Men 

1. Aiden Dunne 

2. Yufei Pan 

3. Dayan Akhtar 

4. Sam Butterworth 

5. Dylan Soin 

6. Rhys Conlon 

There was short breather between semi-finals and finals where competitors and spectators could recharge their batteries and refuel with pizza from the Flying Pig Pizza company, before the finalists went into isolation.   

Whilst the finalists warmed-up and the setters put the finals blocs up, customers were entertained with grip-testing on the unlevel edge with Process Physio, Shoe Chalk demonstrations, and free sports massages from Summit Therapies as well as CAC and 3rd Rock stalls and the CAC raffle.   

Finals 

There was a full-house on-site for the finals, with a very lively crowd who came out in full-force to support the athletes, as well as over 10,000 viewers watching the event online! 

Spurred on by their 'new toys' - the holds - the setting team had created some more incredibly creative boulders to test the athletes, the most perplexing being the infamous 'safari' boulder! 

The Safari Boulder  © Sam Pratt
The Safari Boulder
© Sam Pratt

George Lonsdale worked his magic, getting the crowd fired-up again, and getting the climbers to climb at least one grade harder! 

Dayan Akhtar cuts loose on the top of M3  © Sam Pratt
Dayan Akhtar cuts loose on the top of M3
© Sam Pratt

Holly Toothill and Aiden Dunne both took the win on the final power bloc for the men and women, which involved both climbers working their way strenuously out of the steep section of the wall, facing the crowd.

Holly Toothill on her way to securing 1st place on W4  © Sam Pratt
Holly Toothill on her way to securing 1st place on W4
© Sam Pratt

Prize Money

  • 1st - £1000 
  • 2nd - £500 
  • 3rd - £250 
  • 4th – £125 
  • 5th - £75 
  • 6th - £50 
Women's Final Results  © Boulder UK
Women's Final Results
© Boulder UK
Men's Final Results  © Boulder UK
Men's Final Results
© Boulder UK
    Women's podium  © Sam Pratt
    Women's podium
    © Sam Pratt
    Men's podium  © Sam Pratt
    Men's podium
    © Sam Pratt

    Vet female results

    1st Karen Dillerstone

    2nd Claire Evans

    Vet male results

    1st Neil McCallum

    2nd Juan Murray

    3rd Simon Greening 

    Super vets

    1st Howard Mawson

    2nd Andrew Barnes


    Every year the event gets better and better, and evolves with the standard of competition climbing. This year's event is definitely going to take some beating, but we like a challenge! Massive thanks to the Boulder UK Team and everyone else who made this happen!"

    Neil Mawson and Tanya Meredith, Owners of Boulder UK


    Rewatch the semi-final here:


    Rewatch the final here:


    This year's event was supported by La Sportiva (via Lyon Equipment), Serious Climbing Holds Distribution (Rock City, 360, and Cheeta), UKC, and Epic TV. 

    Additional sponsors supporting the event and raffle included 3rd Rock, Tenzing, Griptonite, Beta, Lattice, Process Physio, Summit Sports Massage, Shoe Chalk, De Woodstock, Moon, Griptonite, Rock & Run and The Climbing Wall Company. 


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    A HUGE Thank You! from Climbers Against Cancer to the organisers and all the generous supporters at the Plywood Masters. What a fantastic event and a showcase for the climbing community. Check out the news page at https://www.climbersagainstcancer.org/ to see how we're using the money raised to fund research and support those living with and beyond this disease that affects so many.

    Thank you! The CAC Trustees

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