I used to rock climb a little back in my teenage years. Looking back, I can see that it was just a phase: something that intrigued me. Soon after getting into it I lost the desire to go deeper, because my main passion, surfing took up most of my free time. If I had the choice to surf or climb, it was surfing, no doubt.
Fast-forward over a decade and I live in Barcelona in the summer, a coastal city that famously has no waves. In the summer, storms are rare, and over the years I became depressed because I wasn’t able to surf, so I had to pick up another hobby. I needed something to keep me sane, and it was either get really into jiu-jitsu or rock climbing. That was essentially my re-entry into the rock climbing scene, and there’s not really a better place than Spain or Catalonia to do it. I started going to indoor gyms for ‘bouldering’ [indoor wall climbing without a rope or harness], and eventually created some really great friendships completely disconnected from the music industry. This led to a new obsession for me, and now climbing is something I love like surfing, and something that keeps my body in shape.
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When I’m in Barcelona I climb at a local bouldering gym called Sharma, which is a cool facility. That’s where I met some good friends, and started gaining climbing power. It’s crazy how many muscles you use when climbing that you didn’t know you had! I thought I had strength due to my surfing background, but when it came to climbing I was so weak at first. After I got stronger I began going on some outdoor trips, and learning to climb with ropes. That’s my favourite form of the discipline, as you can fully test your endurance, power, technique, and mental fortitude.
When it comes to sport climbing there aren’t many places better than Catalonia. Back in Southern California where I spend the winter, we have loads of places to climb, both bouldering and with ropes. We have Yosemite which is home to some of the craziest big wall climbs in the world. I have yet to do a big wall climb, but maybe someday I will. We also have Bishop and Joshua Tree, which are home to some of the coolest boulders around.
Climbing appeals to me because it’s so reminiscent of surfing. When I surf, the moment you take off on a wave your mind clicks off and your body just goes. There’s an ecstatic yet calming feeling of being in a moment, knowing you’re in a moment, but being completely unaware of it at the same time. It’s hard to explain, really. Climbing gives me the same feeling, the same escape: almost like an active meditation. Surfing big, heavy waves is so similar to pushing through big moves while climbing big climbs. Once you’re in the zone, you don’t think about falling, you just think about performing.
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I’m not really an adrenaline junkie, I’m more of an endorphin hunter. I love doing stuff that clears my mind, gets my blood flowing and challenges me both physically and mentally. Adventure is one thing; high risk is another. Being able to have crazy adventures while minimising the risk is part of what we do. At the end of the day it’s about having fun while pushing your limits, and climbing gives me that.
How this all ties into my love of music and touring is simple: being in nature is so important, so refreshing, and so essential. Sitting in aeroplanes, cars, and hotels blasting the AC takes a toll on you. Being able to hit the ‘disconnect’ button and get into the wild is crucial for my mental and physical health.
SHADED’s new single ‘My Stimuli’ is out now on Twin Turbo, get it via Bandcamp
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