What does the future of bouldering look like?
Obviously, this is impossible to know, but let's speculate a bit...
Most seem to agree it's very difficult to see short power problems getting a whole lot harder. There simply seems to be a limit to what physically possible to hang on to, even for mutants - skin will be skin after all, and friction can only help you that much.
Maybe a single move can't be much harder than say ~8B? Paul Robinson says one of the moves on his Lucid Dreaming is in the ~8B range, and I can't think of one that is said to be harder. This being UKC, I'm pretty sure some of you firmly believe some of the moves on Gaskins' problems are quite a bit harder, though. Possibly that's the case.
Of course, I'm not implying there is no room for development, only that it's limited and will probably be slow.
But then again, never say never, look at what Usain Bolt did to 100 m!
So, this leaves us the slightly longer and the long boulder problems. Several hard sections, one after the other without any rests is bound to be hard. We already have several problems like that. Gioia, Terranova, The Story of Two Worlds, Hydrangea, Angama, all in the ~8C/8C+-range spring to mind. And by all means, let's not forget about Jan Hojer's yellow boulder at Frechen!
Just for fun, because this really doesn't mean anything, I've come up with three examples of projects that could represent "the next level". I'm sure there are many more out there.
Nalle Hukkataival's Sisu project near Helsinki, Finland
Nalle has made some good links, but I don't think he has even made all of the ~15 single moves yet. He has said he believes the thing is possible but barely, and that it's "a lot damn harder than anything else I've ever seen!" Coming from a man who has seen more than most, this really means something.
Dave Graham's Mega project at Fionnay, Switzerland
An ~8C line to which it's possible to add an ~8C sit start. So far, some good links have been made on the standing start. The sit is for the future.
Dai Koyamada's Super project at Mount Hiei, Japan:
A huge, beautiful roof which Dai now has climbed in three sections. He says he needs much more body power to be able to link the whole thing and that the three sections he has done are all, as independent problems, at the limit of what he can do.
Speculating a bit, this would probably mean he is talking about three ~8B+'s or so back to back.
The good news is that Dai feels this is his best ever project and that he is more motivated than he has ever been.
So, the conclusion? Well, I'm sorry to say I guess it is far from spectacular or surprising: More of the same thing. It's therefor also not very surprising that quite a few of the best bouldering specialists are now climbing some short routes as well and vice versa.
Wouldn't it be interesting to see what, for example, a guy like Alexander Megos, having both power and stamina, could do on Dai Koyamada's Super project