Highlining is a slackline discipline that is practiced at great heights, between mountains, buildings, bridges or whatever. It is a great challenge and a slackline discipline in which the mental game and mindset are far more important than the technical and physical ability. To really know what is highlining you probably have to try to stand on one or, maybe, if you get to see quite decent slackliners crumble when facing this new context and challenge, you’ll get a pretty close idea of what it means for the one on the line.
This form of slackline provides an incredible adrenaline rush when tried for the first time and has a great impact on the spectators as well. With the exception of highline freesolo, where the athlete is purposely unsafe, the highliner is permanently secured by a harness, attached to the main slackline line and, at the same time, to a lifeline, called the backup.
Despite the fact that accidents are potentially fatal and that highlining deaths have happened, statistics show that highlining has become a really safe sport if practiced according to safety standards. Nowadays highline systems are redundant and unlike slacklining close to the ground, the highliner simply falls into the air if mis-stepping with almost no risk of injury. What looks scary and dangerous from the outside has become a really safe sport with almost no limits.
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What is Highlining: the definition and it’s types
When we speak of highline, we speak about walking slacklines that are rigged on such a height that it would be lethal to fall off.
In this kind of slacklining the athlete is attached by the harness to the slackline, which ensures that he is supported in the event of a fall.
There is a sub-category of highlines, called midlines . Those are highlines that are safer to walk with a harness but that are still rather close to the ground – often about 10-15m heigh. Midlines are less intimidating than highlines but in reality more dangerous, as the athlete – in the unlikely case of a mainline failure – could potentially touch the ground.
What is Highlining FreeStyle?
In this recent way of experiencing highline, athletes perform spectacular tricks on the slackline. They bounce on the line and then enchain a series of moves, taking advantage of the momentum. The combinations can be endless and include shoulder stands, handstands, dynamic mounts and rolls among other crazy stunts.
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What defines Highline Free solo is that highliner is simply walking unsecured. In this regard the risk of death is always present and the slightest mistake can be fatal. It is not a practice that, impressive as it may be, should be encouraged or celebrated. Slacktivity refrains from this practice and supports no athletes who are into highline free soloing.
The Security Basics
Highline rigging is a complex task that should always be performed or accompanied by experienced riggers.
All the information in this document is only a recommendation from SLACKTIVITY. This is not an official guideline. Every highline anchor point looks different.
Making an anchor point cannot be learnt from this document only
but from courses and with experience.
SLACKTIVITY is not responsible for misuse or accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this branch of slackline can be a safe activity as long as it is practiced according to the best practices and safety standards. Find out more about it at Slacktivity’s blog.
Yes. The International Slackline Association – ISA developed a system to test and certifies gear to be used in highline setups. Check our highlining certified gear here.
Rigging a highline should in any case involve experieced riggers. If are not experieced and you are 100% sure of what you are doing, don’t rigg a highline by yourself. Find highliners near you, join them and start learning.
I started slacklining 2012 and was mostly into trickline for around 5 years. Right now, my slackline days are split between rodeo and longline. In 2013, my enthusiasm for slackline led me to open Monkeybiz, the first Portuguese slackline shop, through which i started to work with Slacktivity, Samuel and Tobias, as a customer. In 2019 I decided it was time for new challenges and closed Monkeybiz, but created the All About Slackline Blog as the slackline professional life drift way. Recently after a challenge made by Slacktivity, I could not resist coming back to slackline and took over the Slacktivity.com international operation. Feel free to reach me if you need any help on the website, or even for a slackline session, in case you are passing by Porto, my hometown.