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2014 - Rotorua

The New Zealand Arboricultural Assoc.
National Tree Climbing Championship 2014

Proudly sponsored by Husqvarna New Zealand
H880-0119-430-510
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Rotorua 2014


On 17-18 October New Zealand’s best tree climbers gathered at Volcanic Playground at Rotorua’s Lakefront for the annual Husqvarna/NZ Arb National Tree Climbing Competition Championship.
 
Friday evening saw the running of two of the preliminary events, the Donaghys Footlock and the Asplundh Belayed Speed Climb.
 
Jamie Hartley continued his rich vein of form by taking out the Speed Climb event that was set up in a smallish Metasequoia tree.  With a spread of just 17 seconds between first place and last place in this event, all climbers gained points in this closely run sprint event.
 
Asplundh Belayed Speed Climb
1st Jamie Hartley 20.00 (17.71 secs)
2nd Jiri Voda 19.30 (19.20 secs)
3rd Matt Glen 18.88 (19.95 secs)
4th Dale Thomas 18.63 (20.46 secs)
5th Luke Roberts 18.18 (21.34 secs)
 
The Donaghys Footlock event was won by visitor Jiri Voda from the Czech Republic, with an impressive time of 16.53.  Dale Thomas was second fastest on the rope and just 15/100ths of a second behind Jiri.
 
Donaghys Footlock
1st Jiri Voda 20.00 (16.53 secs)
2nd Dale Thomas 19.85 (16.68 secs)
3rd Craig Wilson 17.44 (19.10 secs)
4th Matt Glen 17.43 (19.10 secs)
5th Elliot Fitzjohn 17.11 (19.42 secs)
 
The sun had set by the time the last climb was done and the event reconvened on Saturday soon after sun rise. The day was calm but overcast and with the threat of rain on the forecast, all were eager to get through the preliminary events.
 
A large, wide-spreading and twin-stemmed London plane (Platanus X acerifolia) was the scene of the Metrogreen Throwline event.  This proved to be a challenging set up with the highest scorer obtaining a commendable 22 (from a maximum of 30) points, while more than half the field failed to reach double figures.
 
Metrogreen Throwline
1st David Stejskal 22
2nd Jiri Voda 19
3rd Elliot Fitzjohn 19
4th Nick Ellis 18
5th = Anthony Wood 17
5th = George Bell 17
 
The Aerial Rescue Event sponsored by Silky Saws was also set up in a London plane, but with an EWP supplied by WEL Networks adding a technical element to the rescue scenario.  The scenario had the climbers rescuing Woody, who had knocked himself from the EWP bucket and compromised the EWP. This required that climbers ascended the tree and raise Woody in order to disengage him from his lanyard. A number of techniques were used and the competencies of climbers to effect a technical rescue were well displayed. Matt Glen picked up 39.67 points from the maximum 50, pipping Drew Bristow by one point.
 
Silky Saws Aerial Rescue
1st Matt Glen 39.67
2nd Drew Bristow 38.67
3rd Dale Thomas 36.33
4th Paul Digby-Smith 36.33
5th Andy Neverman 35.00
 
The AB Equipment Work Climb gave climbers 5 minutes to work through 4 stations and reach the ground from the top of another London plane tree. The fastest time, by Matt Glen was under 3 minutes, just 4 seconds faster that Craig Wilson the second fastest climber through the tree. Most climbers scored points for completing the climb within the allotted time, showing the high-calibre of climbers at national level.
 
AB Equipment Work Climb
1st Matt Glen 69.00
2nd Craig Wilson 64.44
3rd Drew Bristow 62.97
4th Jiri Voda 62.24
5th Elliot Fitzjohn 60.94
 
A light rain started as the final climbers wrapped up the Aerial Rescue and Work Climb events.  With the preliminary events over, the focus shifted to the Masters Challenge event, set up in an imposing London plane tree on the other side of the park.
 
First overall after the preliminary events was Matt Glen, who as a non-resident was ineligible to represent New Zealand. Matt will however be at ITCC as the European TCC representative.  Jiri Voda made 4th overall and was also not eligible, leaving the top four spots to Drew Bristow, Craig Wilson, Andy Neverman and David Stejskal.
 
By the time that Craig Wilson, the first climber to take on the Master’s Challenge, entered the ring, the tree was wet from the now steady rain.  Craig executed a well-paced, secure and technically accurate climb, however a stubborn cambium saver conspired against him and had the crowd in suspense. Craig kept his cool and managed to retrieve all of his equipment from the tree within his 30 minutes.
 
Next climber was Drew Bristow, who opted to climb second. Would the decision to climb second, in the now saturated tree turn out to be a mistake? Drew showed off his talents and mastery with tree climbing gear but did not have the advantage of the roping points and rope control that Craig demonstrated. Drew was unable to retrieve all of his gear from the tree after completing the four stations in the tree, just running out of time.
 
Andy Neverman climbed well to reach three stations, however he ran short of time due to a relatively long period on the ground trying to secure a roping entry point with his throwlines. Having to change his plan half way to his first-attempted station also penalized Andy. 
 
David Stejskal was the last to emerge from the waiting tent and he got off to a good start with a maximum height throw on his second attempt to secure a good roping point for ascent into the tree.  This was though not secure enough to reach the limb walk station without the safety of a lanyard early on in his movement towards the station.  David reached his second station and landed a limb toss on his second attempt to rapturous applause from the crowd. That was however the final act, as time ran out on David’s brave challenge.
 
Final scores:
 
Husqvarna Masters Challenge
1st Craig Wilson 219.33
2nd Drew Bristow 159.00
3rd Andy Neverman 109.67
4th David Stejskal 76.67
 
In the Women’s event, Nicala Ward-Allen was crowned national champion once again with a comprehensive display of tree climbing skills. However, Nicky declared herself unable to compete at the international competition, so second-placed Steph White was promoted to be our national representative.
 
Thanks to our fantastic volunteers – judges, technicians, scorers and set up crew, all of whom combined to make this surely the best national competition ever. 
 
Massive thanks to Husqvarna and all of our sponsors for your sponsorship and on-going support of competitive tree climbing and the New Zealand arboriculture industry in general.

By Craig Webb

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