ˈslaklīniNG/ noun 1 . the activity or sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing that is fixed low to high above the ground.
Today I tried my hand at a new-to-me sport. I’m actually surprised it took me this long to walk a line!
Luckily I had a couple gurus around to show me how its done and share some helpful tips. We met at Nexen Beach in Squamish where all sorts of lines are set up from beginner – advanced.
I am always up for trying new sports and get excited for a challenge. Slacklining is, by far, one of the more patience insisting sports I have tried in awhile. At first I could make about a step before I came tumbling off.
My friend, Alana, is very impressive to watch to say the least. Any sport I have seen her try she is just naturally good at! Not to say it doesn’t take practice but she excels at and loves type 2 fun!
She has been slacklining for a while now and is progressing quickly into high-lining, trying new start positions and even attempting to walk blindly. It is inspiring to watch someone progress and be able to share what they have learned to benefit others. I totally understand her reason for loving the sport!
After a few attempts and trying different techniques, I managed to slowly start making baby steps. I had watched people do this before but always assumed I would get bored after a short while. But once I started going I couldn’t stop! I would make a couple more steps, fall, get up, repeat. The late afternoon passed by as if it had never been.
As a climber, I have always been working to improve my flexibility and balance. I frequently attend yoga classes and try to stretch as much as possible at home after a long day.
Starting to slackline is awesome for me as there are many benefits that will work to improve my lifestyle. Also having good balance means a healthy, balanced mind, reducing risk of incorrect joint weight bearing, less joint problems, reduce the risk of injury and help provide strength in other activities.
History of Balance: “Balance is essential in our lives. Nature is the master of cycle and balance. The idea to balance on something is an important part of many cultures. In Ancient Greek and Roman times this art and practice was well known. The initial dance-like movements on a slim rope developed to a rudimentary form of tightrope walking, with different levels of difficulty.
There are reports from the Middle Ages describing huge celebrations and spectacles where the main attraction was a tightrope walker. In the 19th Century, Blondin and Farini were world renown tightrope artists. They staged daring feats, such as crossing a highline over Niagara falls. Korea; The Jultagi tightrope walker is jumping above the crowd. Indian summer coloured trees in the backround. In many Asian countries tightrope walking is part of traditional culture. In Korea, the Jultagi, is a specific tightrope acrobatic art and forms part of the cultural heritage.” – http://www.slackline4u.com/balance.htm
Some tips I learnt that worked for me:
- Make sure you stare straight ahead at a solid object – don’t look at your feet!
- Slow down – learn to control your breath and movement
- Keep your knees slightly bent in an athletic position
- Try getting up in the middle of the line to get the feel for how the slope changes
- If you start losing it – wave your arms on either side to help stabilize yourself.
- Lift a leg off to help with balance if you are leaning one way
- Try, try again!
- Try shoes on and shoes off! Sometimes all you need is a change!
I am excited to see where I get to this summer (hopefully crossing an entire line!) – One of my favourite things was falling off and laughing about it. It was very amusing to watch all the awkward slaps off the webbing and reflect on the bruises to come afterwards! I tend to have some mid-week days off where I do a lot of solo outings. Slacklining will be added to the list as I can get a lot of practice in when going alone!
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