Highline Freestyle is a slackline discipline in which it is the goal to do all kinds of dynamic tricks and combos on a highline. Walking and crossing the line are irrelevant, contrary to traditional slacklining. Some of the new school athletes don’t even walk in, but simply slide to the middle with their HangOver, to start their bounce session there.
Unlike tricklining you don’t jump, but bounce. That means you are basically always touching the line with some part of your body. The bounces are slower and less stressful on your body. Overall, highline freestyle is a healthy activity for your body as it activates your muscles but barly has hard impacts like most other freestyle sports. In the following video you can watch some spectacular highline freestyle moves by the Slacktivity athletes:
Which is the right length and tension for Highline Freestyle?
Mostly a line length of 50-80m is being rigged to do highline freestyle. It is important to use a nylon slackline and to tension it to about 2kN standing tension. This tension can be reached by 1 person pulling with a 9:1 HangOver-Pulley or 2-3 people pulling with a 3:1 HangOver-Pulley. As the slackline looses its tension pretty fast after rigging, it is important to repeat the tensioning process 2-3 times after the first runs before reaching the final tension.
If the tension is too low, the line will start surfing. Strong highline freestylers are then able to do crazy surf tricks. However, on low tension, the line offers not much bounce and does not give you the necessary kick to stick big tricks. On the other hand, if the line is too tight, it will feel aggressive and will kick you off easily. Most tricks, like e.g. the Yoda-Roll, become harder to stick if the tension is too high. But for some tricks, like e.g. the shapeshifter, hgh tension will make your life easier. In the end it is of course also a matter of taste.
For the length it can be stated, that the longer the line, the slower the bounce.
What setup is great it?
First of all we recommend to always us a line with an intermittent connection (physical connection between mainline and backup) to increase safety. In this video you can see why this is important:
For the choice of mainline we recommend the pinkTube for lengths of 45m-70m. For lengths of 65m-80m, the LSDTube feels amazing. If the line is even longer and you’re seeking for the best performance, you can combine 50m pinkTube with the necessary length of Y2K. With this combination you can still stick sick combos on highline lengths of up to 200m.
As a backup you should pick a line that has a similar or lower weight as the mainline. For maximal performance on rolls (yoda-rolls, almighty-flips, shoulder-rolls, etc), you could even use Y2K as a backup. If you do so, make sure that there is an intermittent connection as otherwise a potential backup-fall would be way too harsh on your body!!!
Chose the length of the backup in a way that you do not bounce into it even on your hardest bounces. At the same time do not make it unnecessarily long. On one hand for the sake of safety, on the other hand because a long backup in annoying and will increase the difficulty if it gets twisted many times around the mainline.
For the leash, the ISA certified Slacktivity leash is a great choice. We recommend to additionally pad them to protect yourself if you get hit by them. Rory has made a nice tutorial for that:
Tips for beginners
To get started, you don’t even need to be able to walk on a highline. At first, we recommend to learn falling so you can get rid off your fears. Make sure to learn to use the rebound of the highline to not waste energy. Watch the following tutorial to learn those skills:
Once you got that you can start trying some simple tricks like the chestroll or the Korean roll. Learn more about these tricks and make sure to try them on your next highline session:
The history of highline freestyle
The roots of this highline discipline can be found around 2015 when highliners all around the planet started realizing that it was alright to fall into the leash countless times without consequence. In 2017 Tijmen van Dieren and Samuel Volery met in the woods in Zurich every free day and helped creating the basics of this sport by inventing and filming simple tricks like sofarolls, hammockrolls and finally the first Yoda roll. Parallel to them, around Munich, Lukas Irmler and Friedi Kühne were also raging and also kept coming up with new ideas. A year later the first highline freestyle competition went down in China. In those 2 weeks that sport got a huge kick – about 20 new tricks like the Back-Yoda-Roll, Buddha-Roll, Flow Flip and many more got invented.
Frequently asked questions
Highline Freesyle is a slackline discipline in which it is the goal to do all kinds of dynamic tricks and combos on a highline.
Yes, you do need specific gear and you should pick only gear certified by ISA – International Slackline Association. Check out our webbings, weblocks and leashs certified by ISA.
SLACKTIVITY Slacklines co-founder, managing partner and team athlete, Samuel Volery olds multiple highline world records (1900m – September 2019) and has a spectacular and versatile style when performing highline-shows.