James Kilpatrick of Tauranga is representing New Zealand this weekend (August 2 and 3) at the International Tree Climbing Championship in Wisconsin, along with Nicky Ward-Allen, of Eltham, who is defending her world title. All the competitors are members of the International Society of Arboriculture, practise tree safety and have won their national or regional titles to qualify for the international event.
The competition is made up of five separate disciplines which give competitors a cumulative score. The top tree climbers then compete in a climb-off up a challenging tree to decide final placings.
Kiwis have a good recent record in the event with Scott Forrest (his real name!) from Kawerau and Nicky winning last year and Scott and Chrissy Spence of Waikato winning both titles in 2011. Chrissy also won the championship in 2007 and 2005 with Elena O’Neill taking the title in 2006.
Interestingly, according to this 2011 story, Chrissy became interested in the sport first and then became an aborist.
Here’s a 2012 article about James when he returned from that year’s world champs.
So, along with all our other proud sporting traditions, we can add tree climbing!
And, as a by the way, Mark Roberts of Dunedin is president-elect of the ISA. Mark is academic director for Thoughtplanters, a green industry training company providing theory and practical training in advanced technical skills, supervision, and leadership.