The Expression's Story
Simon shaped the first holds of his future brand, Expression Holds, in his father's garage - just like Steve Jobs!
His very first hold was a sloper that Simon moulded into the shape of a bean using plumbing seal silicon.
No doubt that such strong foundations were the key to a solid start!
The Expression Holds brand was launched with 474 holds, which Simon shaped for Valence's Lead-Climbing World Cup.
HOLDS IN THE FIRST CATALOGUE
There was an X in the names of all the different ranges - NucleaX, fleX, aXone, oXyd, teX & meX, bronX, loX, cruX, eXcess, epoX, eXpert, styX, intoX, eXtrem, viruX, friXion, seX, eXcite…
Logical thinking was already part of our DNA!
Expression Holds became a supplier for Lecco's World Championship.
The very first eXpression catalogue was launched, as well as the Akira and Hugh range, which was shaped by legendary cliff-climber, Fred Rouhling:
- AKIRA: the world's first proposed 5.15b (9b)... in 1995! Finally repeated for the first time in 2020 by Seb Bouin.
- HUGH: first ascended in 1993 by Fred in les Eaux Claires, Charente, and famous for being the first French 5.14d...
INTERNATIONAL FAIR IN FRIEDRIESCHAFEN
Simon and Fred imagined and designed the first asymmetrical board, which reproduced routes like on a natural site.
It included 36 different grips as well as a guide that Fred had created, which displayed different bouldering routes that were all graded by colour and degree of difficulty.
The first reversible training board was invented for Expression's second catalogue: the reversiX board. (please note the famous X, always present in our products' names)
All you had to do was turn it over to instantly get easier or more difficult grips.
eXpression Holds was also known at the time for its unusual hold colors. In addition to the traditional climbing hold colors, Simon offered Bi-miX colors. The principle was to have a white side and a side with a tone on tone marbling color, big impact guaranteed!
An Expression team was created with 13 athletes!
A distribution network was also started abroad.
EXPORT COUNTRIES :
BELGIUM, GERMANY, ITALY
Fred Roulhing's climbing trip to Japan with Yuji Hirayama helped him to get inspired for the shaping of the Mitaké and Lindenthal series (Fred had started with Fred Nicole in Switzerland).
The company's international orientation expanded with the brand getting distributed in Japan, the country of the Rising Sun!
Some new Pro Models ranges were launched, developed in collaboration with high-level climbers such as:
- Mike Fuselier, Mike's sets
- Thomas Caleyron, Tito's sets
- Romain Desgranges: Moctar's sets
Romain and Thomas are still part of the eXpression team!
Launch of the ComiX Club - a small, simple and cheap training board - which was created with the purpose of making climbing training accessible to anybody.
It would be one of Expression's flagship products for years.
The ComiX club is still on sale today! You will find it the Training part of our website.
New process for casting polyester (PE) holds invented by Simon! The holds were up to 20 times lighter and twice as strong.
FUTURE FUN FACT:
Opposite, Romain Desgranges climbing during the Chamonix 2017 World Cup semi-finals. In the final, he will reach the top and will raise the crowd of Chamonix... but there will be 4 tops and will finish at the foot of the podium.
He will make up for it by winning the overall World Cup ranking that same year.
WOODEN RESIN VOLUMES RANGE
Expression Holds kept growing and it was decided to move to Kerlifornia, i.e. southern Brittany!
The brand started to work with contractual shapers and the range of holds expanded again to offer over 1500 different models.
The first range of 33 wooden volumes was also created.
The holds shapes are quite aesthetic. You will find on each of them lines that represent the range trademark.
On the left is the Boobs XXL 1 set, released in 2021. This is one of the latest additions to the line... and more are on the way.
HOLDS AVAILABLE FOR THE IMPULSE RANGE LAUNCH
Expression Holds developed further with the launch of a new range that was entirely dedicated to bouldering and competition: the Boulder range.
Containing 134 sets today, it is the largest eXpression holds range. It is also the one that contains both the largest hold & the smallest hold of the whole brand.
2nd FUN FACT:
For the Boulder range launch as well as to promote some new Impulse sets, Romain and Simon make a trip to Japan!
It's also the opportunity to participate to the Tokyo Trade Show!
FIBERGLASS VOLUME RANGE
Launch of new product category for eXpression Holds: fiberglass volumes.
The Shadows are coming out in 2018, they will be followed by the Pipes in 2019.
In addition to a great grip, fiberglass volumes are long-lasting, lightweight and also durable.
EXPRESSION HOLDS OFFICIAL SUPPLIER OF THE 2021 TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES
Expression Holds was selected as one of the 4 official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games' suppliers.
These first Olympic Games represented a small step - well, actually a pretty big one! - for Expression Holds and a significant milestone for the general development of climbing.
2018 also marks the release date of the new Pro Models by Romain Desgranges range.
The Moctar sets that had been the Pro Models range's heyday in the early 2010s have given way to the Blacks Holes and the Macros.
NEW SETS IN THE PRO MODELS BY ROMAIN DESGRANGES RANGE
The Coconuts range - a new range dedicated to schools and beginners - was launched.