Luca from preston talks climbing and paddlesports

Ultimate Outdoors3 min readClimbing

We caught up with sales assistant Luca to discuss his favourite sports

I've always loved the outdoors, it’s a cliché to say it but as far back as I can remember, it has always been something I've loved. It’s probably because I've always lived in a city and people always want what they don't have!

I really started experiencing the outdoors when I joined the Army Cadets back in 2005 and that's where most of my experiences started. Every year we would go away for two weeks and for two days of those two weeks, we'd take part in Adventure Training. Two days of kayaking, canoeing and climbing to name just a few.
 
The first outdoor sport I was interested in was kayaking. I always loved doing it every year, but I was only able to do it for the two days we did adventure training. It wasn't until I did a five day course in April 2014 that it really took off! Thankfully a friend of mine, Mark Collinson noticed my enthusiasm for it and began to encourage me to run with it.

Mark is an outdoor instructor and owner of his own business, Lancashire Outdoor Adventures, so you can imagine my luck to have all of his experience to lean on! I went from doing one 5 day course, to qualifying as a level 1 Paddlesport Coach in two years. It helped that I was surrounded by a group of friends who were all equally as keen as me!
 
Alongside qualifying as a paddlesport coach, I was also able to do my Climbing Wall Award, which qualifies me as a climbing instructor on indoor walls. Having just recently passed my Single Pitch Award training course, the next step is to get myself ready for assessment so I can take people climbing outdoors, as well as indoors.

Apart from paddling and climbing at every opportunity I get, I'm also off to the Alps in France and Switzerland! I'll be out there for 8 days, with two of my friends mountaineering and climbing some 4000m peaks! Then I'm off to the Cairngorms in Scotland doing much of the same!
 
My love for climbing has always surprised me. I've always been terrified of heights, so to imagine myself climbing 2-3 times a week, and qualifying as an instructor seems nothing short of a miracle!  

The reason I got into it was because of my friend, Mark, again. Unlike my love for kayaking, recognising my love for climbing through shaking knees and high pitched squeals was a little bit harder for him. Nevertheless, he persisted and carried on taking me climbing and with every session my enthusiasm grew and grew. Although, my knees still wobble.
 
My advice for someone starting out, especially if you don't know someone qualified, would be to go to a climbing centre and take advantage of their qualified staff. It's as simple as that! There's no commitment to buy equipment or pay a membership fee, you've just got to turn up with an open mind and let the climbing instructor worry about the rest. If you then go on to love it, and by if I actually mean when, you can go and get your first harness, chalk bag and belay device. The very first pieces of equipment that you'll need to take your climbing to the next level!
 
I'm Luca Malatacca, a sales assistant at Ultimate Outdoors, Preston and happy to answer any questions you may have. Please either leave your question below or pop into Preston store for invaluable advice from a member of the team.

Written by Luca Malatacca, Sales Assistant, Preston Store.