Flashpoint Swansea recently hosted another exhilarating edition of BOFF! on January 20th, 2024, bringing together climbers from across the region for a day of fierce competition and fun. BOFF!, which stands for Big Open Flashpoint Festival, is held across different Flashpoint sites each year and is known for its incredible routes, electric atmosphere, and a general air of relaxed excitement. This year’s event did not disappoint.



The competition took place against the backdrop of a rainy Swansea at Flashpoint’s impressive new walls, with climbers of all skill levels vying for top honours in the Open event, following the Youth and Junior comp held in the morning. From beginners testing their mettle on introductory routes to seasoned veterans pushing the limits of their abilities, there were blocs for all at the BOFF!



The event started with excitement as competitors warmed up and sized up the routes ahead. Impact Route Setting had been in all week crafting the routes, planning the finals and having a laugh on their buddy-bloc challenge. They crafted a range of boulders to challenge both technique, strength, and endurance, with a sport climb length route set up the centre of “The Beast” (a whopping 45-degree board that spans two floors!). As an extra special treat, the setters brought in a collection of beautiful holds specifically for the comp wall and finals, from AVA volumes to some fresh Unit holds and Supr Eclipses – the climbers were spoilt!



As the day progressed, tensions mounted as climbers advanced and ticked bloc after bloc, each one inching closer to the coveted podium spots and a chance to battle it out in the finals. The competition was tight, with competitors pushing themselves to their limits in pursuit of victory, all while fueled and hydrated by the copious amounts of Liquid Death and Tenzing supplied for the day.



In addition to the climbing action, attendees had the opportunity to explore the mini-market, a collection of small local businesses showing off their wares, plus the staple climbing vendors, including Girigiri, Relicko, Beekind, and Cragswag. There were also physio consultations on hand thanks to Rise Physiotherapy and free 10-minute coaching slots bookable through Labyrinth Coaching. For those with footwear unsuitable for a specific climb, Tenaya was on hand with a vast selection of boots to try out and test. From climbing gear to handmade crafts, the marketplace offered various goodies and food for climbers and spectators alike to peruse between rounds. It was a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to showcase their products and connect with the climbing community while bringing in the climbing-specific vendors present at all of Flashpoint’s BOFFs.



Come 17:45, the comp wall closed and competitors had 15 minutes left on the remaining blocs to grab the last few zone points! Fast forward an hour as Ben, Cailean, Jake, and the team stripped the quali boulders and put the immense finals blocs into place, and it was time for the showdown! Ben West had taken his accustomed place on the DJ decks during the adult comp and now got the crowd hyped in anticipation for the face-off of finalists. The lights dimmed, and the crowd gathered with beers, pizzas, and subs in hand to watch the best battle it out.



Ultimately, the winners emerged clearly in each category. Though competition was fierce, Sophie Lee’s flashes of W1 and W2 secured her the top spot on the female podium, even after not managing to top W3 (no one could get past the big zone hold on this). And then there was Leo Skinner. Injured leg and running on steam after a night’s “sleep” in a cold car on the way back from a bouldering trip the night before, Leo took a couple of goes to dispatch M1, a tricky slab corner problem – but then walked up the dynamic and powerful M2 and M3 blocs with flashes on both, securing his 1st place position. Runners-up for the guys were Tommy Matthews and Alex Oats. With second and third place for the gals respectively going to Melissa Clements and Liv Pearson. A huge well done to all the finalists, and everyone who took part in the event, some sick climbs were sent that day



Flashpoint Swansea extends a heartfelt thank you to Euan from Beta for his continued support, providing prizes from Wild Country, Tenaya, and Flashed Climbing. As well as Ben from Up and Under, a huge shoutout goes to Impact’s Ben Norman, Cailean Harker, Jake Mason, Ant Ross, and Emily Campbell for their exceptional route-setting!



The next BOFF! is on the 2nd of March 2024 at Flashpoint Bristol and will be the last of the season – we’ll see you there!