International DWS August 16, 2011
Borre handed me another beer. The main dude behind the Norwegian Rockmaster. The second event, in 2010, had been a good one. "Steve, how can we make the competition even better?" I thought for a minute. "You want something that stands out from the crowds? The way to go is DWS!"
A year later and I'm back. There have been a lot of emails and phone calls as we put together a plan; rules, wall design, timings. But I can take no credit for this, the endless enthusiasm and incredible generosity of Borre is the only reason that this event was about to happen. But having dreamt up the idea I felt some kind of responsibility!
A world first! The first international DWS competition, listed on the IFSC calendar, and there was a strong bunch out to test the water! I was privileged to be here. I have a soft spot for DWS, not that I should have, I'm skinny and light, don't land well and don't even like swimming that much. In the sea I'm like a fish out of water! And as for comps, not my bag, I gave up a long time ago, and for this event had followed my old preparation strategy of not doing any training, or even climbing indoors for about 6 months. Tried and tested, proven to not work! But kind of irrelevant, as this would be more than an event, I was along for the ride.
Myself, Ben Heason, Gav Symonds and Aid Baxter warmed up ready for a plunge. All pretty used to DWS, this 10-12m wall wasn’t phasing us. The rule was simple: everyone had to go in, even if they topped, there was no way round the back! This is one of the rules I’d insisted, along with there being no awkward dynos near the top. The last thing anyone wanted was a punctured lung from a back splat at this showpiece event! So I was disappointed to be facing an almighty leap to the finishing jug in the 2nd qualifier. Leaping all-out I wished I was taller, as that would blatantly have made life easier. A hand connected with the jug as legs swung out below and fingers uncurled. I was off and out of control; and high up! With no chance of sorting my entry I opted for a dive, headfirst. It hurt! Like a fairly hefty punch in the chest. But I won best lob so it was more than worth it, and it was enough to see me in the final!
Dropped off by boat in front of the crowds I inched off the starting holds. Dazzled by the spot lights the dark water below disappeared leaving only me and the route. The double dyno at halfway was my expected failure point, but I spotted a trickery method, maybe the route setter was cursing! Everyone else took the leap and made it. Then it was normal comp style, long locks bad holds! Greasing off a sloper I flapped into the darkness. Surely this is the ultimate style for a comp, as snappy as bouldering but with the length of a route, and awesome to watch with a real touch of spice.
Magnus Midtbo took first place in the mens, his sister in the female event. There were some real wads here and Team GB DWS did good with me 5th, Aid 6th, Gav 10th and Ben 11th. Roll on next year!