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Slacklinology 101 (an intro to slacklines)

Photo via Youtube under Creative Commons License

Photo via Youtube under Creative Commons License

Nolan Boe, Journalist

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Slacklining (slāk-line-ing) v. 1. The activity or sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing that is fixed high above the ground but not stretched so as to be taut.

As far as obscurity goes, slacklines are up there. Essentially tight rope walking for rock climbing hippies, slacklining has gained a fairly large following over the last 30 years.

Originally created in the early 80’s by Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington, two climbers camping in Yosemite. They would tie up old climbing gear and webbing between trees and slacklining was born. It has now evolved into a sport commonly found on the west coast, still predominantly used by the same hippie demographic, just more in depth and creative. Most commonly done with just walking and/or yoga, some slackers prefer high adrenaline slacking with jumps, bounces, and even flips.

Rather than using old climbing gear, now slacklines are produced by brands like Gibbons with basic ratchet systems used to tighten 2 inch webbing between trees (or other anchor points) many feet apart.

Slacklining is often seen as a silent sport. This means there is no aggression, no violence, and no noise. It is a mental sport just as much as it is physical. It is seen as a quite meditative activity, as the basic principles of success require certain philosophies like living in the moment, leaving things out of your control out of your mind, and progressing from past mistakes. There is no time for thinking about past steps or futures steps, only the current step and your breathing.

Slacklining is growing in popularity and has been for many years. For now, however, it will remain the obscure sport of choice for environmental-loving, rocking climbing, west-coasters.

 

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