What is Slackline?

longlinecomp2Slacklining is a sport that was developed by Climbers in Yosemite Valley, California during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. When they were not climbing, they took flat nylon webbing and stretched it between two rocky outcroppings over a void, and then learned to walk and balance on this webbing. The sister sport of tightrope walking, slackline is different because the rope is dynamic; it moves with you whereas tightrope walking is on a wire or steel cable, and bends some to the weight but is not stretching with each movement. In this way, slackline requires different muscles and training then tightrope walking.

The sport has evolved into different types: Longlines, which take great physical endurance as they are the most unsteady of lines. Highlines require the most mental strength, with the exposure of being so high up and having so much sky surrounding you, walking on 1″ thick webbing is subconsciously frightening, even if you are attached with harness and leash to the line.

Photo by J.R. Racine
Photo by J.R. Racine

Slacklining over the ground on shorter lengths can be similar to Yoga, in the slow movements and positions. Lastly, tricklining is a tangent of slacklining, involving jumping and even flips. Overall slackline has a different meaning to each and every individual who takes part; everyone finds some philosophy in a sport of balance. It is not only an activity but a way of life. For some, slackline can lead you to some of the most beautiful places on earth, where you experience your surroundings in a way most people could never imagine.

Faith Dickey