Spotymag is coming back with a new interview, Jérome Lacour! A man with many competences which created with Solange Cottin (Link to her interview) the brand “Guara”, which is producing neoprene suits.

If you want to discover more about Jérôme and about canyoning, this interview is made for you. This outdoor sport is halfway between nautical and terrestrial, and aim to climb mountain walls, go down watercourse and enjoy natural slides, perfect to mix sports and flora and fauna discovering.

Jérôme Lacou Interview, canyoning guide

With this article, discover Jérôme, the canyoning passionate.

Can you introduce yourself quickly?

My name is Jérôme Lacou and I’m a man with two hats. Indeed, I am the sports side caving instructor, canyoning instructor and mountain guide. Besides that, I am also the co-founder of the Guara company and I manage a company called Entre Terre et Eau, so when I don’t sell wetsuits, I go and use them in the canyons.

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

How and when did you started canyoning?

I started outdoor sports very early and I would say that the canyoning arrived about 20 years ago in my life, when I arrived in the Pyrenees.

I am basically passionate about speleology but wishing to find a bit of daylight again I started canyoning and it has now become another of my passions. 

What does this passion bring to you?

It brings me a daily breath of fresh air, I love going for a walk in the mountains, in places that are quite inaccessible, that you can’t see from the road but you can explore when you get inside. I love discovery, I’m passionated about the unknown and the beauty of landscapes carved by water and the weather is exceptional.

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

How to stay in shape all the year? Is there any particular physical preparation to do before a canyoning session?

When someone is passionated about outdoor sports, it becomes natural to go walking, running, or whatever, but there is no specific canyoning activity to keep you in shape. However, it is necessary to have a physical activity, no matter if you practice canyoning or not.

The physical preparation is done on the ground, directly during the sessions. What is very important is the technical preparation concerning the ropes and safety notions.

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

Do you practice any other sports?

I am also a professional mountain hiker, snowshoe trekker and polar guide at certain times of the year. And personally, I do a multitude of other sports.

So you’re a mountain guide? How can somebody become one?

To become a guide, caving instructor or canyoning instructor you must pass the state diploma organised by the state and the French CREPS.
The CREPS are the Resources Centre of Expertise and Sports Performances, they’re local public training institutions in the fields of sport.

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

What are the spots you can do in the Pyrenees?

In the Pyrenees you can practice from the Bask Country to the Pyrénées-Orientales, so your choice is huge. The canyons are all different, more or less long, more or less technical, so the choice is very hard.

There are various canyons and very beautiful spots. The Eastern Pyrenees are one of them, especially the Llech canyon which is incredible with a series of natural slides. There are also sublime spots in the Vallées d’Ossau.

To conclude, there is something for everyone, there are many canyons to discover and the playground that represents Pyrenees is huge.

If you had a foreign destination to advise  us for canyoning, which one would it be?

Instinctively I would say the spots and canyons of Reunion Island which in my opinion are among the most beautiful spots in the world for canyoning. 

What are the recommendations you would give to discover the activity?

To discover the activity, the best way is to go through guides who organize stays and training courses to discover this sport in complete safety thanks to the supervision of qualified instructors that can also help people to become independent in the practice and give them the skills and knowledges of the world of canyoning. Indeed this sport can be dangerous, there are manipulations of rope so it’s necessary to be trained. 

There is also the French Federation of Speleology, the French Federation of Mountain and Climbing or the Alpine clubs which organize the canyoning activities in the federal environment.

To try canyoning at Prades: book your session on Spotyride!

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

How long does a session last?

A canyon outing can last from 2h30 for small canyons, 6h00 or 7h00 of activity for big canyons, or even more because in France we are lucky to have one of the biggest canyon in Europe, the Bendola, which starts in Italy and ends in France, in the Alpes Maritimes. It can be done in one day for the rapids or over 2 days with a stay in camp in the middle.

What is the most beautiful canyoning spot you’ve ever had the chance to practice on?

It’s difficult to answer this question because depending on the nature of the rock, the landscapes change completely. I would say that my big favorites are the Sierra de Guara in Spain, the spots of Reunion Island for their great verticalities and finally I really enjoyed  the Swiss Ticino for its spectacular granite.

To find the spots in Reunion Island : canyoning spots on Reunion Island.

But I haven’t explored everything, I still have a lot to discover!

prades canyoning

Credit photo: Guara

You are the co-creator of Guara, can you tell us more about your concept and how the idea came to you?

I’m an outdoor professional but I couldn’t find the ideal combination for me. After my meeting with Solange, we used her knowledge of textiles and my canyoning knowledge to create the company with the aim of finding materials that are stronger, resiliant and more flexible to optimize  the practice. We want to share our passion for the creation and research of new materials and tricks that could technologically advance the material thanks to the professionals, ambassadors and federations that accompany us.

Finally, how do you reconcile sports practice and business management?

We have several periods, I follow the canyoning French seasonality, from April to October. So in spring and summer I go out a lot with customers on the canyoning and mountain field. Then in September/October the season fades so I come back to the office and we create new models to start the next season.

It is with these words that Jerome’s interview ends. Spotyride thanks him once again for agreeing to answer our questions.

If you want to try canyoning and try this outdoor practice, you will find on Spotyride the spots from all over the world : Spots canyoning  and meet Jérôme on Entre Terre et Eau.