King of the jungle on high

The State’s male tree climbing champion Riki Peterson climbing the |Moreton Bay Fig tree in Hyde Park.
The State’s male tree climbing champion Riki Peterson climbing the |Moreton Bay Fig tree in Hyde Park.

The tree surgeon’s skills were put to the test at the annual WA Tree Climbing Championships earlier this month.

Mr Peterson was champion of the highly anticipated event, which attracts climbers from across the world.

‘It wasn’t something I always wanted to do, but my friend left school, did an apprenticeship and invited me to join his business (Heritage Tree Surgeons) and my climbing passion kind of grew from there,’ he said. ‘This is the fourth year I’ve competed and this is the first time I’ve won, so it’s a big personal achievement and an achievement for our business.’

Held at Hyde Park, climbers were pushed to their physical and mental limits with five gruelling events based on ascension speed, technical climbing skills, planning and safety.

Mr Peterson said his previous experience scaling the 25m fig and plain trees proved valuable.

‘I competed last year in the masters (final) round and was disqualified because I snapped a branch, so it was good to have that experience behind me because I didn’t feel so nervous going in this time,’ he said.