While you try to balance on a line between two trees, the colourful leafs surround you on the ground and in the cold, fresh air. Slacklining is a playful activity that gets you outdoors to enjoy the chilly, autumn season.
In the new Joseph Gordon-Levitt film ´The Walk´, the actor plays legendary Frenchman Philippe Petit. In 1974 Petit walked on a high-wire between the two twin towers in New York. And while you may sit at the cinema with sweaty palms and a quick heartbeat, walking on a line doesn’t have to involve skyscrapers (or even risk being eaten by alligators.)
Said to have first been performed as a past-time for climbers in Yosemite Valley in the 70s, slacklining is an activity that can be done by young or old, tiny or big, hippie or businessman. It is a great balancing exercise, easy to learn and lots of fun.
Unlike the tightrope walking done in ´The Walk´, slacklining is done on a webbing with some give. The tension of the slackline can be adjusted to different uses. More tension equals a more bouncy slackline. This is commonly used to do tricks on, often referred to as a trickline.
In later years the sport has gained a lot of popularity in countries such as Germany, Norway and Poland. And in America you can find poles for slacklining at beaches and parks.
To start out you need to get your hands on a slackline. You can either buy a kit or the components separately and build your own. Take a look at this guide for what to buy. This sort of slackline will usually take longer to set up than a kit-slackline.
The next obstacle is getting out there and finding some sturdy trees (or some poles) which are not too far from each other. It is definitely more difficult than it seems, but a park is a good place to start. In Dublin, Phoenix Park is a good option. Just be sure to check that slacklining is allowed at the park and that you are not damaging the trees.
Once you’ve set up your slackline you’re good to go, or at least ready to give it a try. The first times your foot may shake uncontrollably on the webbing, but this will decrease with practice. To learn some of the basics of slacklining take a look at the video below.
The final step on your slacklining journey is the fun part: go out and slackline. Get out of your comfy chair, find the nearest park, and start practicing. After some time you might find yourself trying to jump, do tricks or even do a flip on the slackline.