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Kiwi arborist wins back-to-back world titles

Media release

14 August 2014

Kiwi arborist wins back-to-back world titles

Kiwi arborist Scott Forrest has retained his title as World Champion at the recent International Tree Climbing Competition in Milwaukee, United States.

Forrest, also the current Asia Pacific Champion, was joined by compatriots James Kilpatrick who came fourth, and Nicky Ward-Allen (current New Zealand women’s champion) who took out third place in the women’s competition. Ward-Allen also set the fastest time in the women’s footlock event set at the new height of 15 metres, and is the current world record holder for the lower height of 12 metres. In addition, New Zealand retained the chapter award, which recognises the top combined score of the male and female chapter representatives.

The sport of tree climbing has its origins in professional arboriculture, with most competitors being practicing arborists. The format is similar in concept to the pentathlon in track and field, with five separate disciplines giving competitors a cumulative points score.

Top scoring climbers then go on to compete in a ‘climb-off’ (known as the Master’s Event) in a particularly challenging tree to decide the final placings. The competitions provide members of the arboricultural and climbing communities the opportunity to meet, compete and share their technical know-how.

New Zealand Arboricultural Association President Chris Walsh says Kiwi climbers are renowned for their exceptional climbing.

“This is a wonderful success,” says Mr Chris Walsh. “It’s a remarkable feat to retain the men’s title, and the impressive results show that our climbers are consistently among the best in the world.”

New Zealand’s pedigree in this competition goes back a number of years, with Kiwi arborists regularly picking up world and regional titles, as well as records in individual disciplines.

“We also have a New Zealander as President of the International Society of Arboriculture, so our industry is going from strength to strength both domestically and on the international stage,” adds Mr Walsh.

Throughout the year the New Zealand Arboricultural Association, supported by Husqvarna, stages regional climbing events, with the top climbers then going on to compete in a national event. This is held each year as part of the Association’s annual conference, and the overall men’s and women’s winners, with support from Asplundh and Treescape, are then eligible to represent the New Zealand Chapter at the Worlds. The dates and locations of these events can be found

“If you have never seen one of these events before they are well worth checking out,” says Mr Walsh. “The skill level is amazing and you might catch a world champion in action.”


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