What’s Slackline?

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Slacklining is a sport where people walk on a slack line made of webbing. It requires balance and skill and originated in California in the 1980s. The texture of the line changes with movement and wind, and webbing is the preferred material. Lowlining is done close to the ground, while highlining is done at a greater height with safety harnesses. All that is needed to practice is two attachment points and climbing straps.

Slacklining is a sport that consists of walking on a strip of webbing stretched loosely between two points. In contrast to tightrope walking, a related sport, slacklining involves, as the name suggests, a line that is slack, rather than tight. As a result, it requires a diverse set of skills and abilities and encourages people to develop an excellent sense of balance. Once people master the basics of slacklining, they can venture into the vast world of slacklining tricks.

The sport appears to have emerged into force in California in the 1980s, when bored climbers started playing with their climbing slings to develop a version of the tightrope walker. Besides killing time, slacklining has also helped climbers develop good reflexes and an excellent sense of balance, two things that serve them well on the court.

Slacklining is an incredibly dynamic sport, as the texture fluctuates with every movement and in response to the wind. The use of webbing is crucial, as the flattened nature of the webbing creates a surface that is easier to grip and balance; while people can slackline on things like ropes and chains, weaving is generally thought to be better. As someone crosses the slackline, the center of balance is constantly changing as the line dips, undulates and bends; it usually takes several attempts to ride a slackline from end to end, at least for beginners.

When slacklining is performed close to the ground, it is known as lowlining. Many people learn a number of tricks while lowering and can use the relative safety of the low height to push their skills and sense of balance. Highlining, on the other hand, is slacklining done at a much greater height and safety harnesses are recommended so that if someone falls, he or she is not seriously injured.

All people need to practice this balancing sport are two items to attach a line to and some high quality climbing straps, which should be available at any climbing store and most sporting goods stores. For people unfamiliar with working with climbing gear, it’s a good idea to learn a few climbing knots, to make sure the slackline stays up; if it falls from even a low height, the results can be painful for the person walking the line.

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