slack1“What in the world could possibly be so interesting or challenging about walking back and forth on a webbing line for an hour or two!?”

The thought going thru my mind when my amazing friend Kenyon Salo, (Founder of TheBucketListLife.com) would mention that he just went to the gym and spent an hour slack lining. He did this often and after a while, curiosity got to me. I just had to see what the appeal was all about for myself.

Having never tried it before, I went and bought my own beginner slack line at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) and set it up in the park across the street from my place. I spent a good half hour at first trying to merely stand up on one foot without shaking uncontrollably. After managing my first two steps on the line in my initial one hour session, I was hooked.

Now, only 2 months later, I find that while I am slacking I am 100% focused, concentrating with a clear and empty mind. And when I’m not slack lining, I’m thinking about slack lining, what I want to work on next and where I can set up a new and challenging line.

Slack lining is the art of balancing on webbing tensioned tight between two solid anchor points. Beginner slack line is on a 2” nylon or polyester webbing fairly close to the ground, maybe 2 feet high. A Trick Line is with slightly more elastic dynamic webbing that allows you to use the line like a long narrow trampoline to do tricks or stunts on. A High Line is on 1” webbing anywhere between 15 feet to 300 feet high, sometimes over a canyon or between buildings. A harness and safety line is used when High Lining and if not, it’s is call Free Soloing. If you use a BASE rid instead of harness safety then it’s called a BASE Line. If the webbing is stretched out over a body of water then it’s called a Water Line. The sport is relatively new and constantly creatively changing and developing.slack2

Beginner Slack Lining to me takes the very basic skills of walking, standing up, bouncing, stretching, turning around and makes them extremely challenging. Utilizing the tiny stabilizers all over the body it is a great workout and builds stability and core strength. The only way to get better at the simple moves on a slack line is to practice, develop those under used stabilizing muscles and have patience with yourself. Because of this, I find slack lining not only challenging, but also relaxing and meditative since you have to be 100% focused, with a clear still mind to find your balance.

My current goal is to get up on the High Line next year at the Squamish Highline Festival on the Chief. There are three ways to prepare myself to walk a high line from now until then. First of all you must be comfortable and have balance walking on a 1” slackline. Second, you have to know how to get up on top of the line because it’s not safe to just walk out. Also, if you fall you have to know how to get back up. Third, you have to wrap your head around the height which can be anywhere from 15 feet to 300 feet high (or more), and be comfortable using the harness and safety line.

I have been training on a 2” beginner slack line for the past 2 months. Basically, just finding my balance, walking, lunging and turning around. I’m feeling pretty good about these elementary skills. As long as I’m progressing in the slightest way each day that I get out there I feel accomplished and more confident in my abilities. Just the other day I learned how to get up on the line using a Chonga Mount. It was the most natural get up for me and I did it a dozen times. This was a significant progression for me since it gets me one step closer to the High Line next year. Now I have to develop my confidence and control on a 1” line.
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I’m so grateful to have found a welcoming, inspiring and talented slack line community to help support and encourage me working towards my new goals.

Thank you Xavier at Absolute Slack Lines and Spencer at SlackLifeBC!!!

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