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Interview with Asier Urzelai: nature and sport as a way of life

Immerse yourself in the world of outdoor sports with Asier Urzelai, nature lover and expert in outdoor activities.

Originally from Estella-Lizarra in Navarra, Asier has made his passion for the outdoors an integral part of his life. He is currently a whitewater guide in his home town and is a canoeing, surfing and snowboarding enthusiast. He also shares his passion and knowledge with other adventurers.

Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the outdoor world

Asier reflects on how at a very young age he discovered by chance what would become one of his great passions in the future, outdoor sports.

Asier: My story began in the second year of ESO. Together with a friend from class, we saw some people climbing a crag in the village. We were struck by the use of ropes, so we asked them about this activity and they told us that it was climbing.

Of course, it was clear to us at that moment that we had to try it ourselves.

In Lizarra we have a mountain club, we went to ask and they left us some material (rope, harnesses and an 8 for belaying). We are talking about 2002 or so. We were lucky that in our village there were people who started to equip themselves, so we had spit anchors already in place. I know I didn’t say we had spit anchors, because we didn’t have any. We actually had to climb up the back of the rock to be able to hang the rope from the belay and start climbing.

After a few years, when I had to decide what to study, as you can imagine, I signed up for a degree in physical-sports activities in the natural environment. And from there I went on to get a degree in what is now a sports technician. In this degree I started with kayaking, which is currently my sport and the one in which I am most qualified.

What is your favourite adventure sport and why?

Despite starting out on this adventure climbing, Asier admits that his favourite sports currently involve being on the water.

Asier: Currently,¬†kayaking¬†and¬†canyoning¬†are my greatest passions. Water gives me things that other means do not. As a joke, I’ll say that it’s all for lazy people, as they are all about descending and not ascending.

Could you share your best memory or experience?

For Asier, the task of choosing just one memory or experience is complicated by the great passion he feels for sport and the dedication he puts body and soul into it every day.

Asier: My life has been forged around these sports, I have lived from them, with them and for them. It is impossible to choose just one moment.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the outdoor sector (or your sport) today?

Asier reflects on the difficulties of working in this sector, such as labour intrusion or the prohibitions to practice sport despite taking into account the impact on the environment.

Asier: On the one hand, labour intrusion, in addition to the difference in qualifications between the autonomous communities.

And, on the other hand, especially in the area of climbing, the huge ban on climbing in many crags in Navarra.

What advice would you give to someone who has never tried this adventure sport?

Asier shares his most important advice for those who want to take the plunge into the outdoor world, stressing the importance of knowing your own level and the level of the sport in question.

Asier: It should be mandatory to do something adventurous once a year!

Seriously speaking, fear is normal, but you also have to be aware that there are levels for everyone in these sports. You can always kayak in the swamp or on the lake instead of white water, but the point is to enjoy yourself regardless of your level.

What RocRoi platform activity would you like to do that you haven’t tried yet?

Asier comments on the activity he would like to try with RocRoi in the future, which we hope will not be too far away.

Asier: The snowmobile route is a thorn that one day I will get rid of.

Through his passion and his work, Asier makes it clear that you can find adventure even in the least expected place, you just have to be there at the right time.