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Slacklining: What is it?

what is slacklining
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What is slacklining?” This is a question that seems simple and quick to answer. But it’s not the case. It is a sport that consists of balancing on a dynamic line, tensioned between two anchor points. The slackliner can walk on it and perform dynamic or static tricks.

This is a very general perspective, suitable for low-level slackline practice. However, there is much more to this sport. It can be practiced in different disciplines and with different goals.

Besides that, slacklining can be practiced as balance training for other sports. It has found its way into physiotherapy and is more and more often used in different kinds of mental therapy. Many people also use it for the sake of fun and to challenge themselves e.g. when having a grill party. However, more and more people practice slacklining as their main sport.

To answer what slacklining is, we need to take the different disciplines into account

Let’s have a look into the different disciplines:

Classic Slacklining

A classic slackline, as often seen in the park, consists of balancing and walking on tensioned low lines, at ground level. With distances of up to 30 meters. More than that would be considered as longline.

what is slacklining

Trickline: spins, flips and lot more…

The trickline is one of the most extreme disciplines. The lines are rigged between 1 and 2 meters high, with distances and between 15 and 30 meters. The athletes use it as a trampoline. They jump, starting from various positions and, make rotations, flips and grabs, which they seek to combine into combos. In addition to the jumps, the athletes also do static tricks like balancing on their hands.

Slacklining trickline
Samuel Volery tricklining with Slacktivity’s Super Jumpline

Highline: balancing at heights

The highline, is the form of slacklining that is practiced in great heights, between mountains, buildings, trees and other elevated anchor points. Here the slackliner is secured to the slackline with a leash and a harness.

This discipline, very demanding from the mental point of view, provides an incredible adrenaline sensation to those who try it for the first time. It also has a great impact on those who witness this activity.

Nowadays there are different highline disciplines. Some just highline to challenge their own fears of height and to be out in the beautiful nature. Others seek to walk big distances, even walking the same highline non-stop back and forth for hours which adds a meditative aspect to this sport. Another discipline is called highline freestyle. In this discipline the athlete is performing crazy figures like shoulder stands, feet-to-feet rolls and other dynamic tricks, using the momentum and weightlessness of a big bounce.

Another discipline – this one is absolutely not supported by Slacktivity – is free soloing. Here the athlete wears no safety harness. A mistake would be lethal. We want to state that only about 1% of the people highlining nowadays are practicing this discipline. When watching Youtube videos the free solo videos are over-prominent which gives a wrong picture of this sport.


Longline: slacklining longer and longer distances

Longline is practiced at ground level, like classic slackline, but the distances exceed 30 meters. Here the goal is essentially to walk, although it can also be trick bouncing.

Generally, to set up very long longlines, one of three things is required to ensure that the line does not touch the floor with the athlete’s weight:

  • An extremely tight line;
  • Very high anchor points;
  • A slight depression terrain between the anchor points.

This difficulty in rigging very long lines has slowed down the evolution of this slacklining discipline. The world record for the longest longline is close to 700 meters, far from the highline world record of over 2’000m.

Rodeoline: Slacklining tension free lines

What defines rodeoline is that the slackline has no tension but simply hangs loose. The goal is mostly to walk or surf the line. However, a rodeoline also allows you to all kinds of tricks like e.g. a cartwheel.

Slacklining with zero tension lines is possible on highlines, at ground level or over water. On highlines it takes good knowhow to do it, as entering or leaving the line can be much more difficult without tension and also the leash falls are harder compared to a tensioned line.

Waterline: balancing over water

Let’s go the other way around and ask what is slacklining over water, making it as obvious as it gets. That’s it, waterline. More than a discipline, it is a context where all kinds of disciplines are possible. You can set up a classic slackline, a trickline or also a rodeoline over water. However, slacklining over water is clearly more difficult compared to slacklining in the park because the optical sense cannot use the information of the ground anymore.

Tandem slacklining

Tandem slacklining means that 2 people are on the slackline at the same time. Those two people can hold hands or also be a few meters apart from one another. Again, all kinds of disciplines are possible.

Yoga Slacklining

Slackline yoga consists, as the name suggests, of practicing yoga on a slackline.

Get to know more about what this slackline discipline consists in, at Andrea’s page. She is a super talented Yoga slackliner and a member of our slackline team.

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