Five Ten congratulates Jimmy Webb for his August 5th win of the Psicobloc Competition - giving him a total of 4 first places in the event. The Brand of the Brave loves it when athletes have fun. And we applaud their success. To celebrate, we asked Jimmy a few questions about the competition. For those of you who don't know about deep water soloing, the game is climbing high over water without a rope. If you fall, you get wet. And, as anyone knows who’s bridge or cliff jumped, entering the water can be a deal breaker. Strong arms and high-friction Stealth rubber make a huge difference, as do Five Ten's high-performance climbing shoes.
When did you first compete in the comp? How long had you been climbing? How did you do?
I competed in the very first Psicobloc in 2013. I had been climbing probably about 8 years at that point. I actually had quite low expectations going into it as I always do…. Yet somehow I managed to walk away with first place.
You are from Tennessee. How did you get a taste for bouldering over water?
Growing up in Tennessee you most definitely spend the majority of your life in the water. Summers typically last about six months out of the year and with temperatures in the 90s and the humidity on average over 80% you do your best to keep cool. When I began climbing we were so psyched and would boulder all summer long. I would never do that now! Fortunately enough, we have loads of rivers in the south and most of them are littered with sandstone boulders and cliffs. We would spend every day in those rivers either swimming, climbing, or cliff jumping. That "redneck" mentality comes in and sure enough my friends and I were daring each other to do something dumb and crazy.
How many times have you entered the competition? How many times have you won?
I’ve entered all six and I've won four times. But 2015 was a win by default. A massive thunderstorm that rolled in and we had to call it after the second round. I believe I had the fastest time up the wall at that moment so they gave me 1st place.
What have you learned from your years of competing? What tips do you have for new competitors?
Well, Psicobloc is definitely different from any other competition I've ever done. My mentality going into it is different and typically I'm nervous as all hell. It's scary!! I've done the comp six years in a row now and yet every time I'm terrified. I think what I've learned most in Psico is to turn my brain off. Its similar for me to highball bouldering. When you put yourself in dangerous situations the last thing you want to do is overthink where you are. You just have to turn your thoughts off and rock climb. Focus on the movement in front of you and not about the potential consequence. No matter what type of climbing you're doing if you achieve this state of mind you will always climb your best.
Have you had any crazy falls in the comp? How does it feel to be so high off the water?
Oh yeah, I've had a couple good spills! I think the first year takes the cake though. The route that year was hard, and the dyno was massive. It was basically a 5-foot one-arm coordination dyno about 35 feet up the wall. I had one go in the seeding round where I caught the dyno just well enough to swing out completely horizontal before slipping off. In a moment of fight or flight I began rotating into a front flip and somehow managed to correct my fall and dive straight into the pool. I have no clue how it happened but I'm just happy I didn't belly flop! Some competitors that year though weren't so lucky….
Sorry to ask the obvious, but what happens with your shoes when you hit the water?
Typically in Psicobloc, you’re going to get wet. So it’s most definitely crucial to make sure and bring multiple pairs of shoes. It’s also best to wear older shoes that you’re comfortable in because you’re basically wearing them all evening. For me, my go-to shoe for Psico is the Five Ten Hiangle with Stealth C4 soles.
How do you train for something like this?
I actually don't. Ha ha. The comp always lands at the end of the summer and most years I’ve been returning to the states from a long trip to Rocklands, South Africa. I suppose the bouldering there is quite conducive to deepwater soloing!
How did you start climbing?
I met a girl in high school who was a climber. She took me climbing once at a local gym in Knoxville, TN and I was instantly hooked.
What are you doing these days? (projects, where you are living, family life, etc.?)
Right now my girlfriend Hannah and I are just on the road. We recently built out a sprinter van and wanted to take this summer to travel the western states/ Canada. My home base these days is in Sacramento, CA. We've been busy discovering tons of new climbing in the Sierras, training at Carlo's new gym, and traveling. We have plans to head back to Europe at the beginning of 2019 so focus is currently on getting in shape for that. I have a project in Fontainebleau that I've been trying quite a lot over the last few years and I would love to finish that. Fingers crossed!
You're pretty tall for a competitive climber/boulderer. What type of climbs fit your style?
Yea I'm about 6' foot and a smidge with a plus 1 ape index, so typically my style leans more towards the gymnastic climbing. I love compression climbing or jumping around between pinches but I've always wanted to focus on being a well-rounded climber. Your strengths will only take you so far so it is important to spend time fine tuning the rest.
What do you get out of climbing? What do you hope to give back?
My focus in climbing these days is purely on development; whether its finding new areas or focusing on pushing my personal limits. I’ve always looked up to people like Fred Nicole, Chris Sharma, or Dave Graham who dedicated their climbing lives to paving the way forward. Without people like them we wouldn't have a proper gauge on what’s possible…. or what’s even out there in terms of climbing. In the end I just want to give back to climbing what it has given to me. Climbing changed my life and I don't know what I would be doing without it.
About Five Ten
Five Ten (aka the Brand of the Brave) is a global leader in technical footwear for climbing and mountain biking. In 1985, Five Ten developed the world's first approach shoe, the Five Tennie. Since then, the Five Ten brand has become synonymous with advanced designs and materials. Five Ten athletes dominate World Cup podiums from downhill mountain biking to rock climbing. Five Ten and the brand's proprietary Stealth rubber soles provide professional and recreational athletes high-quality, durable footwear that ups performance and safety. Five Ten is part of the adidas Group.
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