Oceanside CA— A Grand Opening celebration is set for the new Vital Climbing Gym , 525 South Coast Highway, in Oceanside, Saturday June 18, 2016, 11:00am.
The Oceanside gym is the third location, in Southern California, and the fourth gym opened by co-founders David Sacher and Nam Phan. The other gyms are located in Carlsbad, Murrieta and Bellingham,WA. David and Nam were roommates at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and have been business partners from the beginning. “Our first one is much more modest. That’s how we were able to build this one. Start small and grow.” said David.
Gym members have 24 hour access, seven days a week. “I use to climb in a really small bouldering gym while I was in college.” explained David, “It had 24 hour access but they never had any employees there. You could just go in if you sent them money every month. We are doing it in a way where members still have 24hr. access but we operate like a normal gym during the day.”
David got the idea for the gym while out on a not so typical bike ride. “I was riding my bike from Alaska to southern Argentina. The ride took seven months and eight days and near the end of that tour, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I got back to the States.” continued David, “I thought it would be great to go back to my hometown and have this small place where people could come in and go climb after they surfed and barbecue, socialize and just hang out. That was the origin of the gym in Carlsbad.”
The Carlsbad gym was well received by the locals. “People really like the community aspect of it and we’ve really built a great community of people. That has allowed us to grow and after six years of being in business, this is where we’re at.” said David. Where they’re at now is on the cusp of opening a stunning climbing gym in the heart of Oceanside. “It’s really nice to have been able to circle back around and give the best of what we can offer to the people that have supported us in Carlsbad all these years.”
The old K5 building, directly across Minnesota St. from the Bagby Beer Company, has been transformed inside and out. From the striking metal sculpture adorning the front of the building to the cedar plank paneling on the outside and continuing to the interior of the building, the gym is a great addition to the revitalization of downtown O’side.
“Nam likes to build things” said David “David likes to design things.” added Nam. Between the two, Vital Gym is a very aesthetically pleasing place. Roll up doors instead of windows to open up the place and let the ocean breeze flow through. Attractive lighting highlights the paneling and the custom self-built furniture and fixtures along with a kitchen, showers and a traditional weight machine area. Upstairs you will find a loft which includes a library, a meeting room for parties and a place for relaxation or just watch people bouldering plus a cardio area. “It’s an environment where members can feel like they have a second home. Obviously we don’t want people to live here but with the 24 hour access, you can be part of a community in a really comfortable environment.”
Bouldering is rock climbing without ropes. The climbing area has a very padded floor. It took two semi-truck trailers loaded with foam padding to create it. The climbing structures are covered with hundreds of color coded volumes. Volumes are the hand and footholds on the face of the climbing walls and structures. The volumes are setup to create “problems”. Problems are the route you follow to climb up the structure. The color codes represent the difficulty of the problem and problems are changed on a regular basis. “Setting up a wall is a bit like being choreographer. “said Ryan Wapnowski who traveled from Washington to help out with the new gym. There are problems for every level of experience, from beginners to expert including over hangs and a climb over boulder.
“When you climb, even if you’re a beginner, you are going to be pushing yourself to another level. Your heart rate gets high really quickly and your whole body will just be exhausted.” explained David, “When you are a beginner you may be able to climb for an hour and you’ll just be spent. You’ll wake up the next day hurting all over and that continues up to the very advanced level. Your endurance will increase but you’re always pushing yourself. You would be surprised at how much leg and core work is involved. It’s just not grip strength especially on overhangs. You are really holding yourself to the wall with your legs and your core muscles. It’s incredible exercise and if you look at some of the top-level climbers, their level of fitness is unlike anything I’ve seen in any other sport.”
The Grand Opening Celebration, June 18, 11:00am will include food trucks, free climbing for everyone from 11am to 9pm, as well as shoe demo’s from industry leading climbing shoe companies Five Ten, Evolv, and Mad Rock. They are also hosting a $1 raffle, giving away climbing/outdoor gear and apparel. They will be running free exhibitions of yoga sessions and their ClimbFit workout sessions, which are training classes with workouts geared towards climbers. Those training sessions will be held three times a week at the new location.
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To learn more about Vital Climbing Gym visit their website [Link]
To watch some videos showing the making of the Vital Gym, Oceanside on YouTube, click [here]