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Josephine Hedger – Interview

With 3 winning titles at the International Tree Climbing Championships (ITTC), 2 times winner of the European Tree Climbing Championship (ETCC) and owner of the World record for Women’s Footlock Climbing 40feet in 15.88 seconds (12.192m), Josephine, Jo for friends, continues with an eye on new challenges and heading her company, Arbor Venture.

 

We have had the opportunity to make a interview in which she conveys her passion for Tree Climbing, some tips and enthusiasm for improvement.

 

By: Miki.

 

DSC_0459 copiaJo at ETCC Monza 2015. Pedro Gredos – baumpoda.com

 

Q: What do you like most about your job?

The variety and challenges every tree brings.

 

Q: How is the day to day at work?

My work is mainly climbing as well as working in the office to keep the business running.

 

Q: And, What was the job that you enjoyed the most?

We carry out pruning work on a 17th century estate, where the trees are amazing. It is an honour to be working on these trees.

 

Q: What did you study before become a tree climber?

Graphic design and photography. Then Horticulture.

 

Q: What’s your favorite climbing system for working? and for competition?

I use Stationary Rope Work Positioning for most trees using the Rope Wrench for work and competitions. Other than that system I use a standard double rope system with a VT hitch. My favourite combination is Tachyon rope, with Ocean Polyester 8mm hitch cord tied with a VT.

 

Q: If you had to pick just one component of your tree climbing equipment, which would be essential for you?

Throwline.

 

Q: What do you think about the level of the tree climbers at the last ETCC of Praga? It was harder to win this year?

I always enjoy the ETCC. It is a fantastic event. I feel that the competition is the hardest in the world with such a high level of climbers throughout the field.

ETCC Praga 2016. Pedro Gredos - baumpoda.com

Jo at ETCC Praga 2016. Pedro Gredos – baumpoda.com

 

Q: Which is your favorite event? (Aerial rescue, Speed climb,…)

Aerial Rescue.

 

Q: There are differences between an European Championship and an International one?

I think the camaraderie is greater at ETCC. There seems to be a great atmosphere and quite relaxed considering it is a competition. Sometimes at ITCC there is more tense atmosphere purely because it is a World Championship.

 

Q: How was your first Tree Climbing Competition?

A disaster as far as results go but amazing to be inspired to continue. I timed out in foot lock, DQ’d from throwline, Dropped my pruning saw in work climb, exhausted myself in speed climb and completed the aerial rescue in time!

 

Q: What was your motivation to keep on training for the next Competition?

Watching top climbers swing and run through the canopy. I wanted to earn how to do that, I was inspired.

DSC_0449 copia

Jo at ETCC Monza 2015. Pedro Gredos – baumpoda.com

 

Q: Any advice to tree climbers that want to start to compete at regional/national Championship?

Turn up and have a go. You’ll be nervous but trust me you’ll have a wonderful time and you’ll learn so much you will want to do it again.

 

Q: And, I can’t stand without asking you, any advice for improving footlock?

Practice makes perfect. Really work on trusting your feet so you can get a full lock and maximise your stretch. Also video yourself and others and compare your technique.

 

Q: How do you do to combine work and Competition?

You can train for a competition while at work as you are training your brain….making quick decisions, working under pressure. But practicing individual events such as footlock does take commitment outside of work.

I spend my free time after work and at weekends practising before a competition but you feel the benefits when your competing.

 

Q: If you had to choose main key points of your classes, which would be?

Risk assessment and emergency planning. Particularly during tree climbing. Planning for an accident can help prevent it. And being ready could save someones life.

Planning for an accident can help prevent it.

 

Q: What goals you have left to fulfill?

Another International Championship?! I would like to try and achieve a new World record at foot locking but I find it hard now to find the time to practice.

 

Q: What do you enjoy to do in your free time?

Play the drums, and spend time with my dogs.

 

DSC_0973 copia

ETCC 2016. Pedro Gredos baumpoda.com

Q: Could you give us an overview of the UK Open Tree Climbing Competition?

Amazing support from both sponsors and volunteers. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy. I was very happy to see 27 climbers enter, both novice and senior climbers.

I was impressed with the potential in the novice climbers, showing how much skill and enthusiasm they had. We also had 6 females climbing which is almost a record for the UK. We were able to put an all female group together on the event rotation which they loved.

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