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Interview: Boel Hammarstrand

 

A few days of the ETCC (European Tree Climbing Championship) I present the interview that I had the honor to perform Boel Hammarstrand in the past Spanish Tree Climbing Champ.

Boel is an arborist who conveys her passion in what she does, fighter and with clear objectives. Boel works in the inclusion of women in the world of arboriculture.

Pedro Gredos, from baumpoda.com (Spain) invited her to visit us and participate in the Spanish Champ. In addition, baumpoda.com organized a Rescue workshop in the previous days to the Championship with Boel next to Vanesa Tilán, our spanish female in the next European Championship.

Go Vanesa !!!

I had the opportunity to act as presenter / translator of the workshop, I found it very interesting to see the modus operandi, the tricks and the precise and efficient way in the execution of the rescues. It is always positive to see how people from other countries think and execute the work.

Leer en castellano.


Boel, at the ‘footlock’ event, Campeonato Nacional de Trepa, Guadalaja, 2017. Photo: baumpoda.com

Name: Boel Hammarstrand

Place of birth: Billinge, Sur de Suecia.

Year of birth: 1987.

Profession: Arborist / Trainer

 

Achievements :

  • 5 times Winner at Swedish TCC.
  • 2 times 2nd place at ETTC.
  • 2 times Winner of ‘ Spirit of the competition’ at the ITCC
  • 1 time Winner of ‘Spirit of the Competition’ at the ETTC.

Q: How did you start in the tree industry? How did you know that tree work exist?

When I went to college, I came over to the UK to get work experience and it happen to be with an arborist company, and I just fell in love with climbing trees.

After I came back to Sweden and had finished college, I got in touch with the same company and asked if I could work as an apprentice. This was a good experience, and then yeah, just falling even more in love with trees.

 

Q: What do you like the most of working with trees?

Everything, anything, climbing trees, climbing around, being in the tree. I prefer pruning work to removals. I love the climbing competitions and I love encouraging other females climbers to participate in competitions, for the experience, the climbing and to carry on working.

We need more female climbers / arborists working in the industry.

 

Q: When was your first climbing championship?

My first championship was in 2008.

At the Spanish comp. events. We can see our lovely friend Laureano. Photo: baumpoda.com

 

Q: What can you say about the Spanish championship?

I thought the Spanish championship was very good and the level of the events was of a high standard. The trees were fun to climb, It was a fun and challenging setup. It was absolutely awesome that there was a Female Masters.

 

Q: I’ve read you did a weekend for females. Can you explain more about this?

I started doing a yearly female climbing weekend. I did one last year and I’m going to do one this year. It will be the first weekend in September 1st – 3rd.

Pics from  #femaleclimbingweekend. Photo: Boel.

It’s a get together for women in the industry, people that climb, people that want to climb or that’s thinking about climbing. I mean, people that have any connection with or anything to do with trees. Its a free event. Its a chance for females in the industry to get together, to get to know each other, to do a bit of climbing together or to just find a bit more support amongst other things. To be able to talk about things that we as females might find as issues in a very male dominated industry.

 

Q: How do you feel about the experience of your visit to Spain?

Boel at baum, baumpoda.com. Photo: Boel.

Absolutely brilliant. When Pedro ask me to visit Spain I was really happy. I love climbing competitions, I love climbing trees, I love the chance to get  to encourage females in the industry.

And to show that there are good female arborists working, that just because we’re women we don’t make worse climbers than the guys, we can still do exactly the same thing as the guys do, it’s our job to do the same for a living as a guy. That we are women doesn’t make us any less of a climber or make us different. I want to show that there are women in the industry that are passionate for what we do, its really important to me because unfortunately we’re often forgotten. People don’t think this is an industry where a women will be able to have a career because we’re not seen or heard as much, because there are a lot more guys, we’re are in the shadows a bit more, and this makes no sense.

Meeting at the end of the Rescue workshop. Photo: baumpoda.com

 

Q: You started competing in 2008. Have you noticed a change in women, in this case, participation increasing?

It kind of fluctuates up & down year to year.

There’s a lot more female competitors in Europe in comparison to the States. In some chapters there’s a lot more women than in other chapters.

This year, I think, has been a good year for female climbers. I think that were 5 female climbers in Finland, I didn’t do the Finnish comp this year because it was at the same weekend as the Swedish comp. At the Swedish comp we were 7 females and at the Danish comp there were  5 females, at the Spanish comp we were 3 females. It’s just really great to see that the numbers are increasing. And is really nice to follow the other females journey’s.

I’ve been competing for 9 years, with a 2 year break where I didn’t compete or climb as I had my carpal tunnels operated on both hands. I started climbing and competing again in 2013. There are quite a few new females that started competing in Sweden and Denmark since 2013. To get the opportunity to be able to follow their journey and their development as climbers is just absolutely amazing.

To see the difference in their climbing from year to year and the improvements in their techniques and confidence is just amazing. It’s absolutely brilliant. I absolutely love it!!!

Footlock event. Campeonato Nacional de Trepa, 2017. Photo: baumpoda.com

This is the only sport, were you compete against each other, but is really supportive. If you go to another competitors and ask: – “Can I borrow your rope? Can I borrow this? Can I borrow that?”
Unless they are using it or need it soon you can generally borrow whatever you want from whoever you want. It’s like no other kind of competition.

Where else can you go to one of your competitor and ask if you can borrow something that might mean that you will have a better chance in the event or something that might help you get a better score and leading to you placing higher in the event then them.

Here you can ask to borrow somebody’s main climbing system: – “Yeah, feel free to take whatever you want, just let know if you need anything else”. And you can talk about your plans, talk about the different events, you can discuss: “I’m going to do it like this” or “you’re gonna do it like that”. “Have you thought about doing it like this” or “if you gonna do that, bear in mind to do this”.

And when you are in the arena competing, like in the aerial rescue, if somebody forgets something or does something that they maybe struggle with,  everybody outside just encourage them, -“ Don’t forget this”. “ Do this!”. It’s just such a brilliant environment be around.

Nobody is ever going to say that you’re not good enough to do this, because you are everybody, that loves trees, that loves climbing, that know how to climb, are good enough to do a competition, the people around will help and encourage you.

 

Q: Well European Championships is in a week. How do feel? Excited?

Yeah, really excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of female competitors at the European this year. It’s going to be awesome to see Vanesa compete again. I really hope that there’s going to be a lot of female climbers.

 

Q: Did you make good friends at Europeans Championships?

Yes, yes, yes! Yes, with the arb industry and the climbers are like your family.  You can travel to places and you never feel left out you’ve always got somebody there that you can talk to. You always got your best friends with you and everybody speaks the same language. Even if is not geographically the same language, everybody talks tree and everybody are passionate about what we do. It’s just like traveling with family.

“everybody talks tree “

Q: Are you sponsored by Stein?

Yes, I am.

Vanesa Tilán and Boel at one of the Rescue examples of the workshop.  Photo: baumpoda.com

 

Q: You wear lovely climbing stuff. How did this relationship start?

So, it started 2013, Stein came up to me and said:

“ We really like your attitude, you’re really passionate about what you do. We would like to sponsor you. Would you want to use our equipment?”

– “I would love to use your equipment, I’m using some of your ropes and things already, I would be more than happy to show the Stein brand and… I love climbing trees!”

The relation that I have with Stein is really good.

I can use whatever I want to be the best climber that I can be.  When I’m working or when I’m travelling I am sometimes using other equipment, to try other things, I try other ropes, just to know how they compare in relation to the Stein brand.

Is always nice to keep up to date with new developments, so by using other manufacturers ropes and equipment as well, you get a wider understanding of equipment and you don’t just get to know the brands that you are sponsored by. I find this very important when running workshops or training courses.

Minutes before the rescue workshop that Boel and Vanesa offer us at Guadalajara. Photo: baumpoda.com

If somebody ask me “what do you think of this rope, or what you think about this throw line” I think I can give an honest and unbiased opinion instead of just saying: “ Because its Stein its good.”  I can say well, I like this about Tachyon, or I don’t like this about Tachyon, or I can explain more in depth my viewpoint on equipment which I hope gives me a higher credibility.

 

Q: And What is the most that you like from Stein? Any Special part of your equipment that you specially love?

I love the Cambo Chest Harness, which is a harness for SRT that I’ve develop in relation with Cam and Stein.

I absolutely love my harness, my Stein Vega Plus harness, it is the most comfortable harness that I ‘ve ever used. I tried the Treemotion, I was using it for 2 weeks. And I couldn’t get on with it. There’s a lot of harnesses available on the market and for me the Vega Plus it’s the most comfortable harness. It fits me, It fits to my climbing style. The style of the back is really good, comfortable and supportive, the leg loops are a good supportive fit, and is really light.

Yeah, it fits me, fits my style. If Stein say we don’t want to sponsor you no longer I would still carry on using this harness, because its a super-comfortable harness.

These are probably the things that I love the most but I like everything. I love the karabiners, I love the Skywalker pulleys. I love the ropes.


I found very interesting the ’17 Husqvarna Calendar: “Women in trees” were Boel is involved.

Is a great idea to show females at the industry at work, as a tree care profesionals. Is the way we need to follow for equality.
Can donwload it: here.


Greetings to baumpoda.com

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