Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review > Blank Slate & Atxarte's POWERBOARD

So a long time ago Blank Slate (our favorite doesn't bolt onto anything home training device) sent us a couple of hangboards for us to try. Hang boards take a long time to review; you need to have them in a program where you're training and using them in the correct way otherwise you can just write any old rubbish and misinform people (not that way we do it over here!!)

That being said this review has taken a long time, longer than usual because we were kind of taking a break after many hard years of charging. Today we're looking at the Powerboard and it's something a little more for your intermediate climber than for a beginner, the other board which we'll look at in the next review is something more for the beginner climber

Lets look at the board:

Whats interesting about the brand Atxarte is that they primarily sell their holds through Amazon or, but if you want this board you have to get it through Blank Slate. Mind you the board was made for use with the Blank Slate system as it mounts to their t-nut pattern so that's the reason why :) This does seem like a pretty shotgun approach to selling holds but they're in the market if you can find them, it also seems a little strange that these people aren't cross branding a little to sell more product. (Just to note if you search Atxarte Climbing the first link is to and it takes you to a stupid page... go search via brands, ho ho Atxarte isn't even listed on there in the drop down so just go to the main brand page and then you can see the holds (honestly that website is utter crap))

Also another thing to note is that if you search Atxarte on the Blank Slate website NOTHING comes up so you have to go a search a little if you want to own this board... yes it's a pain in the ass, and no we're not branding experts BUT if we're finding it hard to find the item then something should really be done about the sites!!

Back to the board....

This board was made to train power and it does what it was designed to do pretty well; we didn't notice any huge power gains but we did notice that we were cranking down a little harder than before and what's more important we were pulling harder and our fingers weren't trashed!!! This board is super friendly on your skin AND on your fingers which is huge.

If you go to this webpage on the Blank Slate site ( you can see the board and a little training regime. We're not showing the entire routine in our video when Noodles is talking about the board we're just showing what we've been doing with it other than the routine as they suggest it... what we do is what we call "Around the Worlds" which is a single pull up on each hold, alternating with the people that are playing and then when it gets back to the first person we do two pull ups... repeat until everyone has failed three times and you have the winner (Chris won many times on this board)

This board is great for dead hangs, nothing on it is so small that your fingers are going to complain the next day!!!

There are pinching options around the outside edge of the board and we've found that some of them are ok and some of them aren't the best, basically you need to hunt a little to get your pinch on and find what works best for you!

Here's what the Blank Slate website has to offer and the training program:

I designed this Powerboard with one thing in mind, optimizing power and endurance!  

The rounded balls were designed for warming up and long endurance hanging. They were also designed to assist in the rehabilitation of torn hand and finger tendons because there is minimal strain on the tendons. Every hold on the board has ample space to practice open, closed, and knuckled up crimp positions. The rounded holds are designed to isolate fingers, simulating one, two, and three finger pockets. 

The holds are also designed for tendon rehab, not forcing the hand into the closed crimped position. These rounded holds are incut toward the back of the board, thus making it easy to replicate the closed crimp position. The Powerboard has many pinch options. The most difficult of the pinches are located on the outside of the board. The board also features gastons found on the outer sections of each hold. 

Recommended and proven POWER training program: 
First, one must find how long one can hang on the rounded balls. Simply warm up by hanging for a few seconds and repeat 5 times. After resting, hang for as long as possible, or until failure. This will give you a good idea of your maximum hang time.  
This max time will be decreased in time the smaller the holds you hang on. Do the same on all the holds on the board to find your max hang time. Once you have established your max, you can customize your training for the type of holds with which you are interested. Note- it is always a good idea to train your weakness, thus making yourself stronger and less prone to injury. Also, it is extremely important that you cycle from power to endurance. This will help you to avoid a plateau. I have used this method of training to break through many grade barriers. 

Here is a training example: 
  • Warm up on balls- hang on balls for 10 seconds (repeat 5 times) 
  • 1st crimp row- hang on crimps for 20 seconds (repeat 5 times) 
  • 2nd crimp row- hang on crimps for 15 seconds (repeat 5 times) 
  • 3rd crimp row- hang on crimps for 10 seconds (repeat 5 times) 
  • REPEAT using pinches 
  • REPEAT using gastons
    It's a simple program but it does seem to work pretty well; we didn't have huge power gains but we were a little stronger... mind you our endurance program needs some work :(

    The board was designed by: Anthony Chertudi
    Price: $89

    This board is a surprise; it's from a little company and it's actually pretty kick ass... why?

    The texture overall is awesome, its grippy but not kill your skin brutal and then there's the simple shape of all of the holds... they're simple and they're just great to hold onto, this is actually one of the best shaped boards out there!! And well lets put this one out there, the balls are amazing to hold onto... yes we said it, this board has great balls lol

    It mounts up easily onto the Blank Slate, when we first saw the board the washers and bolt holes looked a little sloppily placed, but they are straight and they're in the right place to get the board up easily. Be warned though you will need to put the bottom two screws in as the board does have a tendency to lift from the Blank Slates surface when you're pulling on the bottom holds; which is a slight shame as it would have been nice if this board was just bolt and play

    Adding a slight hollow back was a nice touch, its a little rough but in the end it shaves you on some shipping weight

    The board has six screw holes and two bolt holes; so you can mount this board normally if you don't actually use a Blank Slate, it would be nice if the holes were pre drilled rather than you having to do so yourself. Thankfully the board does come with all of the hardware needed to get it mounted to wherever you want to put it



    Atxarte... hmm wonder what that means:

    It's the name given to a beautiful narrow pass between the Aitz-Txiki and Alluitz Peak and actually means "between crags"

    How apt is that?

    Right; lets get down to the nitty gritty of this whole shebang; do I like the board?

    In some cases yes and in others no, like I said in the video is that the pinches are a little hard to use and I don't really like them, also having to dump a couple of screws into your board isn't the greatest but I guess that happens :)

    What I like about the board is its simplicity; all of the holds are well shaped and are ergonomic. This board does build power if you use it the right way that's for sure. It's simple, it's clean and those ball slopers are just awesome!!

    It's not a beginners board by any means but if you've been through a few cycles it's a good one to have in your quiver!

    Noodles beat me to the meaning of the name... again!!

    I love this board because i've been able to kick ass on it every time I run past the office; I train most days and being at CHR HQ and getting in a quick workout is awesome for me. I've used this probably more than most of the people (mind you I'm not always at the office) and I've never had a problem with it at all!!

    The balls are to die for and most of the holds are well formed and you can hang around all day and not worry too much.. I like it and am planning on stealing it for my apartment as soon as I can

    • Super hand friendly board
    • Best ball slopers on a board so far
    • Mounts to a Blank Slate or can be screwed on
    • It's Henry Ford: only comes in one color... red
    • No pre drilled screw holes


    Unknown said...

    Thanks for a great review! I have five of these mounted on my 45 boulder wall. I use them as campus boards and of course dead hangs. The ball campus is one of the hardest moves I've ever done!
    All the red boards where poured in my garage by my brother in-law. Atxarte is a grass roots company that I later sold to If anyone wants this board just give a call. Also, I still shape for Atxarte so the brand lives on.

    -Anthony Chertudi

    Unknown said...

    Forgot to mention the entire outside edge works quite well as a pinch.

    jeremy dowsett said...

    Hey Anthony;

    I did mention the pinches in the video, i'll amend the review part today and will add that in

    We said that they're not the easiest thing on the planet for sure

    Good work making the brand it's a shame you sold it