Free Climbing in South Africa

Capturing the Spirit of Free Climbing in the Picturesque Llandudno Bay

Free Climbing in South Africa

I really enjoy meeting people with different perspectives on life, people that exude good karma and just feel connected to the world, Matt Bush is one of these people. Matt is an extreme adventure athlete. He’s a free climber and his approach to climbing if as free as you can imagine.

For this shoot I was looking to create a different look and feel with more of a cinematic quality to reflect the pace and the beauty of the landscape that Matt was climbing in. Our location of choice was the picturesque Llandudno Bay, a truly gorgeous spot popular with surfers and tourists looking to take a break from city life in Cape Town.

My goal was to share Matt’s story of what it is like to climb freely and be at one with the rock. Matt really came into his element when he ‘played’ on the rock, it was as if everything came together.

As director on an assignment like this you have to stand back and try to build a rapport with your subject and hopefully develop a mutual understanding of the requirements of the shoot. If this happens, then you can really work together and produce ‘magic.’

Even though Matt is an extremely accomplished free climber because he is climbing without ropes, there is no margin for error. When it comes to filming and photographing free climbers you really have to respect their personal space and allow them the freedom to flow. 

I have enjoyed climbing and mountaineering for over twenty years now however I have only observed this pure state of ‘flow’ a few times and I can honestly say it was a privilege to spend time with Matt and try to tell his life story. 



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Phil Coates

Phil is an accomplished filmmaker and photographer specializing in remote location productions.
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