Motivated to open new doors for their students, The Valpo Surf Project has created a unique and exciting schedule of events for this winter while the group rests from surfing. As youth mentors, the team is constantly providing different perspectives and fresh outlets for their students, often introducing them to parts of Valparaíso they had never known. In their second winter excursion, The Valpo Surf Project interns took students from Laguna Verde, Cerro Mariposa, and Cerro Toro to a local climbing gym, Tornamesa. Although located along a popular and well-traveled route by the coast, many of The Valpo Surf Project students had never heard of it. One of the VSP interns, Natalie, is a frequent visitor and climber. She thought it no better a place than to show our students.

Gaining popularity here in the fifth region, rock-climbing and bouldering are sports that utilize every aspect of the body. Not only does a climber need to rely on an agile body to swing like a monkey or arm muscles to pull to the next rock, but also a climber must be able to read the wall. They must be able to recognize strategy and see a route in which they will climb. Truly, climbing is for everyone.

When it comes to children, there’s no one better! Our students proved to be naturals. With boundless energy and an excited attitude, our students were racing up the rock walls and jumping high off. That said, climbing is a sport where safety comes first. The instructors at Tornamesa were sure to lead group stretches before and after each climb. They also went over safety with the ropes & harnesses.

The Valpo Surf Project went with their student group from Laguna Verde first. This was their first activity with the VSP and it was a great way to hit the ground running. We arrived in the morning and not before long, we had kids lined up to try climbing. One student, Ronaldo, really took to the sport and showed a lot of promise. While we weren’t climbing, some of the kids challenged one another in rounds of ping-pong. And others practiced skate-boarding outside on the pier. Overall, the day was rewarding, full of laughter and excitement. It was wonderful to see the students trying something new, outside of the comfort zone, just like with surfing. It is moments like this that The Valpo Surf Project lives for. The following weekend, we had a similarly successful day with our groups from the hills of Valparaíso and we hope to visit the gym again.

A big thanks to our friends at Tornamesa coordinating this activity with us. Rock on!

Tornamesa Centro de Escalada is an awesome gym and fun way to spend a few hours. Click here for their Facebook page.

Fernanda, of Cerro Mariposa, and Valentina, of Cerro Toro, excited to get together and have fun at Tornamesa.

A quick stretch before the group gets started!

A sweet shot of the whole group at Tornamesa.

Natalie, a VSP intern, showing Katrina the ropes.

Feña, 10, getting ready to climb.

Ronaldo, 13, high up on the wall!

A friendly match of ping-pong in between climbing.

Lucas, an instructor from Tornamesa, working with Katrina of Laguna Verde.

Simón and Jessica ready to shred on the pier after lunch.

A big thanks to Hector, the owner of Tornamesa, for opening up the space to us.

This was our first outing with the Laguna Verde group and what fun it was!