The Natural Games International Outdoor Sports and Music Festival took place from June 27-30, 2013, in the southern French city of Millau. A major hub for outdoor sports, the city bent over backwards to host a fantastic international event that mixed music and a wide variety of sports such as mountain biking, rock climbing, slacklining, kayaking and paragliding, all in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The world's top athletes participated in the event.
Team Petzl goes all out!!
Klemen Becan during the bouldering finals
Just back from the RocTrip, climbers from Team Petzl arrived in force for the open bouldering competition. Dave Graham, Philippe Ribière, Melissa Le Nevé, Nina Caprez, Alizée Dufraisse, Mumin Karabas, Gérôme Pouvreau, Loïc Gaidioz, Jorg Verhoven, Florence Pinet, Daniel Dulac, Klemen Becan… A rewarding and fun time spent chatting with the entire team.
Dave Graham, godfather of the Natural Games…
Bouldering qualifying round
Dimitry Sharafutdinov, the current World Cup leader
Godfather of the Natural Games, Dave wanted to add a new "deep water climbing" dimension to the bouldering finals. This new concept, placing the competition boulders above the Tarn River, combined "the climbing spirit" with a spectacular show for the audience. Mumin Karabas (Turkish Kebab Power), also a team member, continues to remain loyal to the Natural Games. He has participated in this international festival since the very beginning. Gérôme Pouvreau and Loic Gaidioz were two of the three French climbers among the seven finalists.
Mélissa Le Nevé and Nina Caprez on the podium
On the women’s side, Melissa Le Nevé dazzled the audience by finishing in the top spot on the podium in front of her friend Nina Caprez. Fresh off participating in the RocTrip, and neck in neck until the last boulder problem, these two ladies kept up the suspense for the crowd of 20,000. Climbers from Team Petzl are not accustomed to pulling on plastic when bouldering, especially in Millau where Causses is right next door. Nevertheless, they really enjoyed the competition's unique boulder problems and the festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Nina added that, "the qualifying rounds were really great, with 25 reasonably difficulty boulder problems out of the 36 set. Every climber who signed up for the open was able to make their mark."
Other spectacular and aerial sports
Kayakers put on quite a show during the four-day event. Although the freestyle kayaking competition also served as the French national championships, competitors did not feel too much pressure, and helped each other out when needed, creating a very collegial atmosphere in the water. Freestyle kayaking often involves "spectacular aerial maneuvers, which draw lots of spectators to the whitewater basin," explained one kayaker. Mathieu Dumoulin, the current top competitor in Europe, literally smashed the European points record.
A kayaker in action
Anthony Rocci performing a superman
The Natural Games: a state of mind, a unique atmosphere
Competition in the other disciplines fostered just as much joy and enthusiasm. Athletes from every sport performed breathtaking demos (paragliding, mountain biking, slacklining...). Mixing sports within a single event allows the athletes to share their passion and favorite sport with others. Each discipline was on display in Millau, allowing kids and adults to discover new and exciting sports.
Beyond the competition, athletes agree that the Natural Games symbolizes the inclusive and easygoing state of mind in outdoor sports. "We don’t take ourselves too seriously!"
An audience in sync
Spectators showed genuine enthusiasm throughout the competition. The bouldering and slacklining finals were particularly indicative, with the audience cheering on the athletes to push beyond their limits.
The Natural Games organizing team would still however like to apologize to both climbers and spectators. The awards ceremony was unable to take place before the Nneka concert, and for reasons beyond their control.
Every year the Natural Games also adds a musical element to the festival, offering a variety of styles that correspond to the unique mindset of each sport. The atmosphere at the festival reached its height during the first evening with Wax Tailor, and remained there throughout the following two evenings with performances by Nasser and singer Nneka. All three concerts had the audience going wild!
To learn more
- Highline record: video
- View videos of the event on e-adrenaline: