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Slackline Surf: a World Record attempt

slackline surf wrold record

What is the biggest slackline surf amplitude that you can achieve? We tried it out and went pretty big. But for sure, it is possible to go even bigger! So far, no real World Record existed and we, therefore, did not have any reference.

The Slackline Setup for a wild slackline surf

First thing we wanted to figure out is the perfect slackline setup. Choosing the webbing is pretty simple. You need something low-stretch because this allows to push more precisely and to not loose energy on stretching the line. At the same time the line should have a low weight, because this is easier to control. The best line for that was the Y2K webbing.

Next step was to figure out how much sag the line should have. If the sag is small it is not possible to go for a big slackline surf. With 2m sag, the biggest possible surf would be 4m if you manage to surf up to a totally horizontal position. Clearly we needed much more sag! At the same time, if the sag is too big, we cannot push the line anymore. The frequency gets really slow and therefore you have a lot of waiting time where you cannot push but simply balance. During this waiting time, the speed of the surf and its wind resistance slows you down. Furthermore, the angle that you push down is simply too small to generate any momentum. So we thought that 8-12m sag should be pretty perfect to go for the biggest surf ever done on a slackline! The length should simply be long enough in a way that the line doesn’t get too steep. We went for about 40m length.

Now we needed to find a location. Also this is rather obvious: We need good mats and a spot without wind. A huge gym was the place we were looking for and we were really lucky to have good connections to be allowed to enter such a gym for a few hours.

The Rules

As there was not yet any World Record in slackline surf amplitude we started to define some rules – possibly they will get changed in future if other slackliners do not agree with our rules. We decided on the following:

  • The surf had to be held for at least 3 entire surf cycles. The smallest amplitude of those 3 cycles counted.
  • It was allowed to gain momentum by running on the ground. But this amplitude needed to get increased by actively surfing/pushing while standing on the slackline.

Time to attack the biggest slackline surf

Well, time to get started and go for the biggest surf ever! The best technique to take momentum showed to be to run and jump onto the line in a chest position. 1 or 2 surfs later we went for a sit mount. And then we started pushing really hard until our legs started burning! Falling was quite crazy as we had quite some speed. We estimate the speed in the middle of the surf to be about 12km/h.

Tim Odermatt and Samuel Volery pushed each other hard and gained more and more confidence and momentum. In their best tries they each went for a surf of 9.5m. No matter how hard they pushed, 10m were not in reach. Obviously, Tim and Sam feel challenged to achieve the 10m surf in future! And we think, that if the line had just slightly more sag it could be possible. Or, of course, also with some more training. All to say, that this challenge will be continued. We now have a first World Record on which we can build up. We also want to challenge other slackliners out there to try to hit the 10m surf!

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