Balance, concentration and endurance: Slacklining combines all of these into one of the most demanding sports of our time.
Between the mental capacity and physical abilities needed to balance on the slackline, it has become the perfect training method – for couch potatoes and athletes alike. We’ll show you what you and your buddies need to enjoy slacklining, how to train properly as well as showcasing the crazy variations invented by professional slackliners.
Even though there are similarities to tightrope walking, slacklining as we know it was only invented in the 1980ies by a few creative climbers in Yosemite National Park. Initially, they only balanced on fixed ropes until Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington thought of tying their climbing equipment to two trees so that they could balance between them. Since balancing is still a very important part of climbing, it is only natural that slacklining evolved from these kinds of sports.
But don’t worry: You don’t need to have climbing experience to start slacklining – all you need is some equipment and a bit of practice.
WHAT YOU NEED
There’s only one thing you need to get started: The slackline itself. It is actually quite cheap – usually, it is recommended to order one with a width of 25mm. However, beginners can also start out using slacklines with widths of 30 or 35mm. In the beginning, you should stretch your slackline over a distance of 8-10m – the longer the distance, the harder it is to balance out the slackline’s vibrations. However, if you mount the slackline between two trees that are less than 5 metres apart, the typical feeling will be gone since the slackline will become rigid - with little to no swinging.
You don’t need special shoes to slackline either: You decide whether you want to take part barefoot, with socks or with shoes on. However, without shoes, you’ll get the hang of it more quickly since you’ll be able to feel the slackline better, which is especially important when you’re starting out.
THE RIGHT TECHNIQUE
For the first steps, it is important that you and your buddies support each other and help each other balance. That way, you can mount the slackline more easily. An essential tip is to never straighten out your legs. Instead, try to bend your knees a bit. Now, place one foot in front of the other. Never look directly below you, but instead, try to fixate your view on the tree at the end of the slackline. If you feel confident enough to do so, you can also try it alone.
You’ve bought the equipment and mastered your first steps on the slackline? Then you should practice, practice and practice some more. Someday, you might be able to master one of these crazy slacklines: